After losses in three consecutive weight classes at 165 pounds, 174 pounds and 184 pounds, Maryland wrestling’s once healthy lead of 13-3 shrunk to 13-12 with two bouts remaining against Binghamton.
Ethen Miller earned big bonus points with a 11-0 major decision in between Kal Miller and Michael North’s decision victories, helping grow Maryland’s lead early.
But after almost surrendering their advantage with three straight decision losses in the middle of the dual, the Terps (10-8, 1-7 Big Ten) closed the dual with victories from Jaxon Smith and Jaron Smith to take a 19-12 victory over Binghamton, eclipsing double-digit wins for the first time under coach Alex Clemsen.
Kal Miller earns first victory since January
The last time Kal Miller won a bout was on January 14, when Maryland wrestling beat Virginia at the Virginia Duals. Since that win Miller has dropped the next seven bouts, all coming in Big Ten play.
With an opportunity to right the ship heading into the postseason, Miller took his chance.
Battling with Binghamton’s Christian Gannone, Miller wasted no time going on the attack. Miller succeeded in a first period takedown to take an early 2-0 lead and never looked back.
Miller began the middle period in the down position, and was able to stave off a Gannone takedown opportunity early. Miller then scored an escape for the lone scoring in the period. Leading 3-0 after two periods, Miller put Gannone away in the third.
A successful single-leg takedown opened the period for Miller pushed his advantage to 5-0, and Miller ended with bout giving up just a single escape in a 5-1 decision victory and gave Maryland an early 6-3 lead in the team score.
[Coach Alex Clemsen welcomed King Sandoval back to Maryland wrestling with open arms]
Michael North earns second victory this season over Conner Decker
Michael North defeated Conner Decker at the Southern Scuffle by a 7-1 decision earlier this year. A couple months later, North secured his second victory over the Binghamton wrestler — this time in a tight bout.
North went right on the attack in the first period, but wasn’t able to land any successful takedown attempts. Entering the second period scoreless in the bout, still no scoring occurred.
However, North began the second period on top. Not allowing Decker to escape throughout the entire period, North racked up two minutes of riding time to take into the third period.
Starting on bottom, North escaped in the opening five seconds. The quick escape by North was the first points of the period, and prevented Decker from taking riding time away from North.
As the final seconds ticked down in the final period, Miller needed to prevent a takedown from Decker as North already had the riding time point secured.
North was able to do so, finishing the bout with 1:55 of riding time in a 2-0 decision victory. North’s second victory over Decker on the season gave Maryland its third consecutive win in the dual. The Terps’ lead grew to 13-3.
[Jaron Smith played a role in both of Maryland wrestling’s Big Ten wins — seven years apart]
Jaron Smith closes out Binghamton with ranked win
With Maryland leading 16-12 heading into the heavyweight bout, the Terps once again leaned on their senior leader to close out another dual. Jaron Smith, ranked No. 24 by InterMat, just had to avoid conceding bonus points to Binghamton’s No. 26 Cory Day to earn the Terps another dual victory.
Smith went through the opening frame not giving up anything. Both wrestlers scrapped to a scoreless first period.
At the start of the second, Smith went for the win. Starting in neutral position, Smith scored a takedown in the opening 30 seconds of the bout. Smith was able to ride out the remainder of the period, racking up 1:41 in riding time while preserving his 2-0 lead.
In the third period Smith conceded a takedown, but his big second period in terms of riding time would prove to be the difference. The single point separated Smith and Day, as Smith earned a close 3-2 decision victory to secure the dual for the Terps.