Winning wrestling matches in the Big Ten is one of the hardest things to do in the sport at the Division I level.
Maryland faced an even tougher challenge without three of its typical starters, two of which are ranked at their respective weight classes.
The shorthanded Terps fell to No. 13 Michigan 38-3 in a lopsided affair. Maryland was without Kal Miller, Dominic Solis and Seth Nevills. Their replacements struggled, losing by a combined score of 15-0.
The rest of Maryland’s lineup didn’t fare much better. The Terps went 1-9 on the night, with Michigan scoring bonus points in five of its nine wins.
“My expectation is always to win. I don’t do this for shits and giggles,” coach Alex Clemsen said. “The words on the wall say, ‘expect to win,” they’re not up there for reading material. I want to beat everyone. I’m not having fun tonight. This wasn’t enjoyable. I didn’t like this.”
No. 17 Ethen Miller defeated in ranked matchup
In the first ranked matchup of the dual, Ethen Miller took on No. 8 Austin Gomez at 149 pounds. Gomez was the first one on the board, with an inside trip out of a clinch that put Miller on his back for four near fall points in a seven-point swing. Miller answered with an escape, and then secured a takedown off a single leg shot to make the score 7-4.
In the second, Miller picked up a quick escape from the bottom to bring it to 7-5 and spent the rest of the period searching for a takedown. He got deep on a single leg, but was unable to finish it, ending the period still down two.
Gomez responded in the third. A slick takedown gave him a 10-5 lead, and he went on the defensive after Miller escaped to make it 10-6. Miller pursued him, but Gomez held him off for the 10-6 win to extend Michigan’s early lead to 11-0.
Michael North can’t keep recent momentum going in loss
At 157 pounds, Michael North took on Zack Mattin looking to get the Terps their first win of the dual. North came close to securing an early takedown on the edge of the mat, but the refs determined that no points would be given in the exchange after a quick review. Mattin then secured a takedown for a 3-0 lead near the end of the first.
Mattin started the second from the bottom position, looking for an escape point. North, however, was strong from the top, wrestling the whole period out to keep the score 3-0.
North chose to open the third from bottom position, looking for an escape point to pick up some momentum as he attempted to mount a late comeback. However, he couldn’t escape from the clutches of Mattin, who rode out the whole period while picking up two near fall points for a 5-0 decision win.
Jaxon Smith gets the Terps on the board
The Terps trailed 27-0 entering Jaxon Smith’s match. With no Nevills and Tommy Capul facing the No. 3-ranked wrestler at 125, Smith was potentially the only thing standing between a lopsided loss and shutout defeat for Maryland.
Against No. 29 Bobby Striggow, Smith refused to let that happen. An early takedown from Smith after a single leg shot gave him a 3-0 lead, Maryland’s first in any match up to that point. Striggow escaped at the end of the first to make it 3-1, and a second escape late in the second after Smith picked up more riding time made it 3-2 heading into the final period.
Smith started the third from the bottom and picked up a quick escape for a 4-2 lead, then held off Striggow for the rest of the period, stuffing all of his shots for a 5-2 decision victory with riding time to record the Terps’ only points of the night.