Jaron Smith threw Duke’s Jonah Nisenbaum on his back, got up and raised his fist to the packed Xfinity Pavilion.
It took almost the entire six minutes of the bout, but Smith was finally able to get the decisive takedown he sought. In the final 10 seconds of just his second ever bout as a heavyweight, the takedown secured a 7-3 win by decision.
The graduate student’s second of three victories on the day capped off a dominant season-opening display by him and Maryland wrestling, starting the year 3-0 against Bloomsburg, Duke and American.
The Terps won three consecutive duals for the first time since December 2021.
Coach Alex Clemsen’s squad started the quad-meet fast in their opening matchup against the Huskies.
No. 29 Braxton Brown earned the Terps’ first pin of the day in the first period to give Maryland a 6-0 advantage. Brown’s victory was the first time the Terps won a bout in the 125 weight class since their matchup against George Mason in February 2020.
“The work and preparation just felt like it all lined up,” Brown said.
But Bloomsburg answered right back with a pin of their own at 133. Cole Rhone pinned Jackson Cockrell late in the bout to even the score at 6-6.
But then the Terps took over, not losing a single bout the rest of the match.
Freshman Kal Miller’s victory over No. 33 Josh Mason and a major decision win by No. 32 Ethen Miller extended Maryland’s lead before John Martin Best’s emotional return to the mat.
“[Kal Miller] didn’t look like a true freshman,” Clemsen said. “I thought he looked like a redshirt freshman or redshirt sophomore.”
Best hadn’t wrestled since tearing his ACL in December 2021. In his first bout back, Best had control throughout the entire three periods to earn a 13-3 major decision win, scoring multiple takedowns en route to the victory.
Following another major decision victory, this time by Dominic Solis, the best bout of the first match came in the 184 weight class.
Kevin Makosy was down 4-0 against David Tuttle entering the third period. However, Makosy scored a takedown late in the third, and forced an extra period thanks to the riding time point. He wouldn’t even need a minute in the extra period, winning a 6-4 decision by a takedown to extend Maryland’s lead.
In the final two bouts against Bloomsburg, No. 28 Jaxon Smith and No. 27 Jaron Smith both cruised to victories by fall. The victory was Jaron Smith’s first as a heavyweight.
“Jaron still is learning and adjusting to the weight class,” Clemsen said. “He presents a lot of problems for other guys.”
Maryland took the first match of the day over the Huskies, 37-6.
The Terps rolled in their second match of the day against ACC rival Duke, shutting out the Blue Devils.
Cockrell was able to earn his first win of the season, creating a late escape to win by a 6-5 decision. Lucas Cordio also saw his first action on the mat against Duke at 157 and won by a 10-8 decision in a back-and-forth battle.
Brown, Ethen Miller, Kal Miller and Solis all won their second bouts of the day, with North getting a pin in his second win of the day as well.
“Just giving these guys more opportunities,” Clemsen said. “So that they can get up, and get better at thinking and matching adjustments on the fly.”
Makosy came from behind against Duke after surrendering an early deficit again. A second period escape and a huge takedown gave him a 5-2 win by decision and pushed Maryland’s lead to 30-0.
Jaxon Smith followed his win by fall against Bloomsburg with a comfortable 18-6 major decision victory, while Jaron Smith’s massive takedown shut out Duke. The Terps topped the Blue Devils, 37-0.
In Saturday’s final match, Maryland blew past American.
Brown earned his third victory with a 6-2 decision. However, Maryland trailed for the first time during the quad-meet after Jack Maida earned a 10-1 major decision over Cockrell, who finished the day 1-2.
Both Ethen Miller and Kal Miller would score big wins, with the former earning a tech fall and the latter winning by a major decision to restore the Terps’ lead.
North, Best and Solis all earned victories against American and combined to go 8-0 on the day.
Jaxon Smith and Jaron Smith finished off the Eagles. They earned a pair of wins and the Terps cruised to a 29-10 win over American, completing a season-opening sweep of the quad-meet.
“There are some things that we’ve been working on that I thought we did really well,” Clemsen said. “Our shape and our physicality for Nov. 5 … that was pretty solid.”