When Michael North first came to College Park in 2019, Maryland wrestling was a struggling program.

The Terps finished the previous year with a 2-12 record and a 0-9 mark in conference play. Their last Big Ten win was in 2016 against Michigan State.

The Terps hadn’t put together a winning season in five years and just hired coach Alex Clemsen with the goal of making Maryland consistently competitive at the Big Ten and national level.

Now, as North prepares for his senior night dual on Friday five years later, Maryland wrestling is in a completely different position.

They’ve won two conference dual matches this season for the first time since joining the Big Ten, put together competitive matches with high-level conference opponents and currently have multiple wrestlers who could become All-Americans in late March at the NCAA championships.

“It was definitely a big transition, going into Clemsen, not knowing what to expect here. But, like it says on the wall, expect to win, and he really made that apparent.”

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Clemsen praised North’s ability to grow with the program and said it’s been special to see how much the redshirt senior has given to the team while overcoming injuries and hardships.

“[North has] been through the wringer. He’s really embodied and exemplified perseverance,” Clemsen said. “I got choked up today, when I was talking about him with our senior videos.”

North has been a consistent presence in Maryland’s lineup this season. He holds a 15-12 record, with his best win coming against No. 13 Trevor Chumbley in a fall victory that played a big part in Maryland’s win over Northwestern.

But he’s currently on a six-match losing streak, in which he’s fallen just short of securing victories in several of the bouts to high-level opponents. North has had one of the toughest individual schedules among Terps, with six of his last seven opponents being ranked, but is using the film from those bouts to prepare for the season’s final stretch.

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“It’s really marginal at this level,” North said. “I’ll see that there’s a point where I made a slight mistake that I can just change pretty easily after watching that film.”

North put together a solid showing last year, and finished with a 16-10 record and multiple ranked wins, but he went 1-3 at the Big Ten championships and didn’t end up getting a bid to compete in the NCAA championships.

This season, he finds himself in a similar spot with one dual and the Big Ten championships to go. North said success at the Big Ten championships this season will be key to reaching the NCAA championships for the first time in his career.

“Big Ten’s is a big show. I’ve got to do well there. With these last few opponents, I’ve seen areas where I can grow and I’m just gonna focus on those,” North said. “I definitely think over the last month or so, I’ve grown a lot wrestling in that short period of time working with the coaches, so I’m expecting to place at the Big Tens and make it to the NCAAs.”