Maryland wrestling has dealt with inconsistent performances throughout the season. But while the rest of the lineup has shifted due to injury or poor performance, the one constant for the Terps has been Braxton Brown.
Brown’s teammates struggle to replicate the spark he provides kicking off matches. He’s the only Terp to win every one of his bouts during his squad’s poor run in conference play.
The 125-pounder hasn’t lost in more than a month since a defeat at the Southern Scuffle to start the new year. He’s currently on a 10-match win streak — one that includes victories over talented opponents — after Maryland’s home loss to Rutgers Saturday.
His 10th win came against Scarlet Knights’ 125-pounder Dean Peterson, ranked No. 12 by InterMat. After a scoreless opening frame, Brown flipped the bout in his favor across the last two periods.
Brown forced Peterson onto his back with a quick move in the second period and collected four near fall points. He added an escape and takedown before grabbing the key riding time point that secured an 8-0 major decision victory.
“All the preparation and work that we do in the room, it just comes to show when I actually step out on the mat and wrestle,” Brown said after the match.
[Maryland wrestling welcomes back familiar faces but loses to No. 23 Rutgers, 28-7]
Brown has tallied bonus points for Maryland at every opportunity, not just against Rutgers. He has picked up two pins and four major decisions during his dominant streak, feats coach Alex Clemsen has noticed.
“He knows exactly who he is and what he needs to do,” Clemsen said of Brown.
The rest of the Maryland lineup hasn’t replicated Brown’s success. Individual wrestlers can earn bonus points by winning their bouts by major decisions, tech fall or pins. Brown has done so three times in conference matches this year, more than the rest of the Terps combined.
This comes even though Brown has only participated in five of Maryland’s six Big Ten duals.
His strong stretch propelled him to No. 18 in InterMat’s recent poll, and an undefeated 5-0 mark in Big Ten play. The impressive record comes despite steep competition. Over his 10-bout win streak, he has defeated three wrestlers ranked at the time of their bouts.
[Maryland wrestling is embracing battles against the Big Ten’s elite with postseason in mind]
A Jan. 13 dual match pitted Brown against Oklahoma’s Joey Prata, ranked No. 11 ahead of the match. Brown narrowly defeated Prata by a 4-1 decision, helping kickstart his string of wins.
The streak continued with another ranked win against then-No. 17 Tristan Lujan of Michigan State. Brown eked out another 4-1 decision victory, one of just two individual wins for Maryland against the Spartans.
Brown has only conceded 16 individual points across his stretch of wins in dual play. He has three shutouts, two coming against Big Ten competition.
He’ll have to continue proving himself in one of collegiate wrestling’s deepest weight classes. Seven of the top 10 125-pounders are from the Big Ten, potential opponents for Brown in the Big Ten championships.
Despite the looming task, Brown is staying focused on what’s in front of him.
“One match at a time,” he said. “Just go out there, and do the things that we work out in the room, and just have faith in the team.”