At just 125 pounds last season, Braxton Brown had a much larger impact on Maryland wrestling than his size.

As a redshirt freshman, Brown was the Terps’ leading point scorer in duals. He finished with a record of 16-2, and scored 65 points, with only six points against. Brown’s combination of speed, strength and endurance for the weight class made him a tough matchup for anyone at 125, allowing him to pick up lopsided majority decisions and fall victories to score big for the Terps.

Brown finished the season with an overall record of 25-8, and qualified for the NCAA Championships, where he went 1-2 with an upset victory over No. 14-seed Noah Surtin from Missouri.

Brown appeared to be in a position to take a leap forward this year as a redshirt sophomore after his breakout season. The muscle he added during the offseason seemed to confirm that. But Brown struggled in his first few matches this season as he stayed at 125, despite putting on weight. So for Maryland’s dual against No. 18 Pittsburgh, he jumped to the 133 weight class and won his first match at the new level.

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“He’s just not a 125-pounder anymore,” coach Alex Clemsen said about Brown’s weight change. “Tell me who looked bigger: the guy that moved up for the first time or the other guy. That’s not a knock on the other guy, my kid’s enormous. It’s just not healthy for him to be at that weight class.”

Brown struggled with endurance issues in the later stages of his matches at 125 this season. Facing a ranked opponent in American’s Jack Maida, Brown got started quickly with an early takedown.

But Maida escaped and dominated the rest of the match. In the second and third periods, Brown appeared to be exhausted, which let Maida pile on points for an eventual major decision victory.

Brown’s third match showed the same trend. Against Cal Poly’s Dom Mendez, Brown got on the board first with an early takedown in the first period, but Mendez escaped and was soon in control of the match. In the second, Mendez took Brown down and rode out most of the period. And in the third, Mendez took a gassed Brown down five times to pick up a 21-12 major decision.

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Brown’s cardio never appeared to be an issue last season, a sign his added muscle might have been hurting him. That question was answered at Maryland’s most recent dual against the Panthers, where Brown competed at 133 for the first time this season and beat No. 13 Vinnie Santaniello in a 6-3 decision.

Brown has fluctuated between weight classes throughout his wrestling career. In high school, Brown competed at 106 as a freshman but moved up to 113 for his sophomore and junior years. As a senior, he wrestled at 120 and went 21-0, claiming a state championship.

On whether his next match would be at 133, Brown said, “that’s something that the coach and I will talk about and figure out and see later on.”

Brown would shake up the top of Maryland’s lineup if he continues to compete at 133. King Sandoval, a graduate student who’s spent time this season in Intermat’s individual rankings, would be bumped out of the lineup while Tommy Capul, who represented the Terps against Pittsburgh, would fill in at 125. Capul’s most recent action before this year came during the 2021-22 season, where he finished with an 1-8 record

“I do believe in Braxton Brown,” Clemsen said. “I think last year we saw how special he is.”