Maryland wrestling was missing a few key starters in its senior night dual against Drexel. Michael North, AJ Rodrigues, Kal Miller and Ethen Miller were all out.

In the end, it didn’t matter.

The Terps picked up three pin victories and two technical falls on their way to their fifth dual victory of the season, a 27-15 victory over the Dragons. The Terps would only win those five matches, but the bonus points they picked up were enough to separate themselves from Drexel, who won five bouts by decision.

Chase Mielnik gets a much-needed win

Maryland (5-7) dropped each of its first three matches, all by decision, putting it behind 9-0 with momentum starting to swing towards Drexel (7-10). The Terps’ immediate option to stop the bleeding was Chase Mielnik in the 184-pound class, who’s struggled in duals this season with only one win in 11 bouts coming into Friday.

Taking on Ethan Wilson, both wrestlers jumped right into the match. Wilson was the first on the board, finding a takedown off a shot from Mielnik for an early 3-0 lead. Mielnik responded quickly, finding a reversal to make it 3-2, and then he went to work.

Mielnik jumped on Wilson’s neck, pulling off a beautiful cradle move to force Wilson’s shoulders to the mat for four nearfall points and a 6-3 lead. Wilson was able to get a point before the period ended due to dangerous activity from Mielnik, ending the opening period at 6-4.

[Michael North’s Maryland wrestling senior day is a mark of personal, team growth]

Mielnik started the second period from the bottom, and a quick escape gave him a 7-4 lead. Right after the wrestlers separated, Mielnik immediately shot, bringing Wilson down to the mat to bring the match to 10-4. He then overpowered Wilson, forcing his back to the mat for a pin victory, his third of the year, to get Maryland on the board and cut its deficit to three.

“I’m proud of him for having the wherewithal to do that,” coach Alex Clemsen said. “Really excited for him to have that moment because he’s had a year where he’s really battled and come up short a couple of times. For him to have that opportunity and the home crowd to roll into Big Tens, I thought it was great.”

Jaxon Smith continues to obliterate unranked competition

Wrestlers outside of the rankings just haven’t been able to stand with Jaxon Smith this season. Against unranked opponents, Smith was 8-0 heading into Friday, scoring extra points in six of the eight matches.

Smith found a quick takedown against Chase Levey with a slick inside trip for three points. But Levey was able to escape before Smith could do any damage on the ground. Smith continued to apply pressure, but Levey was able to hold him off to keep the score at 3-1 as the opening period ended.

In the second, Smith started from the top with no intention of letting Levey up. He grabbed Levey’s left arm and pinned it to his back, using it to flip Levey over and force his shoulders to the mat. Levey attempted to escape, but Smith’s top pressure was overwhelming. He held Levey on the mat long enough for the pin victory, his second of the year, to give the Terps a 12-9 lead heading into the intermission period.

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Dario Lemus dominates to secure Maryland’s victory

With Kal Miller competing at 141-pounds for the Terps, true freshman Dario Lemus typically doesn’t see a lot of action. He’s only competed in two duals this season.

But in other action he’s impressed, holding a 13-6 record and multiple tech fall and major decision victories.

Miller got the dual off Friday night, and Lemus went to work immediately in his place. He got a quick takedown against Jordan Soriano, and once Soriano escaped Lemus went after him again. He was relentless in the opening period, responding to every Soriano escape with another takedown, eventually picking up five for a 10-point lead at the end of the first.

The second period was more of the same. Soriano was able to offer up a little more resistance, but Lemus still got to him twice, finishing deep double legs to bring his opponent to the mat for a 21-7 lead heading into the final period.

All Lemus needed at that point was an escape, and after starting from the bottom he broke Soriano’s grip and stood up to win the match.

“When I touched his legs the first time I was able to finish real quick and easy, and then I got the go-ahead from the coaches,” Lemus said. “I trust in them because I know they know what I’m doing. They’ve taught me well these last couple of months and fixed everything up, so I just have to trust in them like they trust in me.”

Lemus’ second dual win of the season locked the match down for the Terps, giving them an insurmountable 15-point lead with one match to go.

“He’s the future. There’s no doubt about that,” Clemsen said. “… You can wrestle like that, have a motor like that, put executions together and sequence scoring like that, I think really the sky’s the limit.”