Maryland wrestling’s Braxton Brown, the No. 18 125-pounder by InterMat’s rankings, set the Terps up early like he has all season.
He scored an early first-period takedown against No. 29 Tristan Lujan to take an early lead and continued his dominance to secure a win in the first bout of the Terps’ match at Michigan State Friday.
However, just like in most of Maryland’s Big Ten matches this season, the early momentum Brown provided was quickly erased by the ensuing bouts. The next eight wrestlers for the Terps failed to score takedowns in their bouts, as Maryland only collected two individual wins in a 37-9 loss to the Spartans.
“[Brown] did great, but he didn’t feel good tonight. We got the flu running through our team,” coach Alex Clemsen said. “He didn’t look like himself, but he found a way to stay in the match and get his hand raised.”
Following Brown’s ninth straight win, Conner Quinn fell at 133 pounds by tech fall to No. 18 Rayvon Foley. At 141 pounds, Kal Miller couldn’t generate any offense on Jordan Hamdan and scored just a single riding time point in a 2-1 decision loss as Michigan State went up 8-3.
“[Miller] gotta make some adjustments we keep talking about,” Clemsen said. “I have confidence that he’s gonna figure it out, but he’s got to figure it out sooner than later”
With Ethen Miller out of the lineup at 149 pounds, Joe Fisk made his collegiate debut for the Terps.
Unfortunately for Fisk, his debut didn’t even last the entire three periods.
Michigan State’s Payton Omania scored 10 points in the opening three minutes via a takedown and eight near fall points. Omania added six more near fall points in the second period to secure a tech fall as Maryland’s deficit grew to 13-3.
The gap between the two squads stretched as the bouts continued.
Kevin Schork was quickly pinned by No. 13 Chase Saldate at 157 pounds.
John Martin Best couldn’t generate any attacks against No. 27 Caleb Fish, scoring only an escape in a 3-1 decision loss.
Dominic Solis suffered a similar fate. He’d conceded an early takedown to Ceasar Garza but could only respond with escapes. Garza held off a late attack from Maryland’s 174-pounder to emerge with a 5-3 decision as the Terps went down 22 points.
Chase Mielnik was pinned and Maryland forfeited the 197-pound bout with No. 15 Jaxon Smith still out of the lineup. That left No. 27 Jaron Smith as Maryland’s last opportunity at a second individual victory.
Jaron Smith scored a takedown in the first, the first for Maryland since Brown’s in the opening bout. He held a 2-1 lead after one period and dominated the second. He flipped Ryan Vasbinder on his back and held him there, securing his second pin of the season and the second win of the dual for the Terps.
While he and Brown started and ended the match with brilliant attacks, the rest of the team was forced to defend and lost, leading to another disappointing Big Ten result.
“It doesn’t matter if the school has Big Ten behind it or it has ACC, we want to beat everybody,” Clemsen said. “We’re aligning our guys to be ready in March.”