Maryland wrestling was tied with Rutgers on the team score after the opening four bouts of the match.
InterMat’s No. 18 125-pounder and 149-pounder, Braxton Brown and Ethen Miller respectively, each earned wins. Miller’s points came via takedown, escape and the riding time point to secure a tight win over Tony White.
However, the Terps failed to earn wins in their final six bouts even with some experienced wrestlers returning and dropped their 63rd straight Big Ten dual Saturday at home to No. 23 Rutgers, 28-7.
“[Rutgers] made sure that in a couple of tight moments that they got back to their positions and got back to their skill set and made the match kind of go their way,” coach Alex Clemsen said.
Braxton Brown continues dominance at 125 pounds
Braxton Brown looked to be in trouble. He and InterMat’s No. 12-ranked 125-pounder, Dean Peterson, had scrapped till Brown appeared to be turned by Peterson. But Brown adjusted to earn a stalemate call and escape the first period scoreless.
Brown prevented an escape to start the second period and rode him for the first minute of the frame. The redshirt freshman flipped Peterson and scored four near fall points, finishing the period up 4-0 with more than a minute and a half of riding time.
The third period featured more success for the Terps. Brown quickly escaped from the down position and went for more.
“I think everyone has a formula for success,” Clemsen said. “You have to wrestle where you’re best, otherwise, things go sideways.”
A swift takedown earned Brown two more points, pushing his advantage to 7-0. Brown held onto a major decision for Maryland, riding out the remainder of the bout to win 8-0. The victory marked his 10th consecutive win. Brown remains undefeated in dual matches this season.
King Sandoval makes season debut at 133 pounds in loss
The Terps have struggled with the 133-pound weight class all season. Jackson Cockrell has been limited due to injury and his replacement, Conner Quinn, hasn’t won a bout.
In search of answers, coach Alex Clemsen welcomed back King Sandoval midseason as a redshirt senior.
Last season, Sandoval earned two Big Ten wins and put up a 3-1 mark at the Virginia Duals. But he struggled Saturday after returning from an extended absence. He faced a tough return to Big Ten wrestling against No. 16 Joe Heilmann.
Heilmann began with an early takedown of Sandoval and soon added four near fall points. The pair were in neutral position for just 14 seconds in the period before the Rutgers’ wrestler asserted his dominance by accumulating six points and a minute and forty-six seconds of riding time.
“Think about the amount of training these guys have had that he didn’t have,” Clemsen said. “[Sandoval] got that exhausted feeling in the middle of the match … we’ll keep throwing him out there.”
Heilmann continued to control the bout in the ensuing periods, adding a takedown in the second period from neutral position and securing the riding time point by the start of the third. He’d cruise through the final frame, beating Sandoval 12-0 in a major decision defeat.
157-pounder Michael North upset in return to mat
No. 32 Michael North hasn’t touched the mat since Jan. 14, when he earned a 10-8 sudden victory decision in Maryland’s 22-14 win over Virginia. After missing Maryland’s last four duals, the 157-pounder returned to scrap against Andrew Clark.
He came in with the Terps and Scarlet Knights tied at seven but couldn’t break the tie in favor of Maryland. He was down 4-1 after two periods and chose the down position to start the third in search of an early escape.
Instead, it was Clark who scored the vital opening points. The Rutgers 157-pounder got North on his back for two near fall points before allowing North to escape. The quick swing to begin the final period was all Clark needed to secure the upset win — he tacked on the riding time point in a 7-2 victory.
“I think about that set of back points, you can’t give up back points in a tight match,” Clemsen said. “He didn’t look as crisp as I would have liked to see him in a couple of positions.”