Redshirt junior Ryan Diehl and junior Youssif Hemida are both set to compete in the 55th annual Ken Kraft Midlands Championship on Dec. 29-30 held in Hoffman Estates, IL. The two Terps are both top contenders for their respective weight classes and are expected to finish high on the leaderboards.
Diehl, in his third season wrestling for the Terps, has gone 4-2 thus far into the season and has been pivotal in starting the momentum for his team during dual meets. Diehl’s wins have also earned him a No.18 rank in the nation for the 141-pound weight class.
For the Midlands Championship, Diehl will be one of five ranked wrestlers in his weight class. Diehl’s skill will be tested by the group of talented wrestlers, including the nation’s No. 9 andNo. 11 wrestlers Mason Smith and Kanen Storr, respectively. Smith is a sophomore from Central Michigan and has a 14-3 record this season, while Storr has gained national attention for his performance as a freshman for Iowa State.
Hemida has transcended the Terps’ struggles in dual meets this season and has maintained a an undefeated record as the team’s lone heavyweight contender. Included in Hemida’s win total are four wins over nationally ranked opponents. In Maryland’s dual meet at Stanford on Nov. 18, Hemida knocked off then No. 12 Nathan Butler by a 3-1 decision and led his team to an 18-15 victory.
Hemida has the opportunity to face off against the nation’s best in the 285-pound weight class, including No. 4 Tanner Hall from Arizona State. Hall is only one of eight nationally ranked heavyweights set to compete in Midlands
Another notable contender in Hemida’s weight class for Midlands is Iowa’s Sam Stoll. Hemida and Stoll were set to wrestle each other in Maryland’s dual meet with Iowa on Dec.10, however, Iowa forfeited the last bout before the two heavyweights could battle. The two met last season and Stoll came out on top with a 15-4 win.
This will not be Hemida’s first tournament action, as he captured the championship at the Road Runner Open after posting a 4-0 record with three wins by way of fall.
Maryland’s redshirt junior Alfred Bannister recently won first place at the Wilkes Open Dec. 22 for the 149-pound weight class. This first-place finish marked Bannister’s second open championship of the season after previously finishing first at the Mat Town Open.
Competing against the best of the best wrestlers this weekend will be Diehl and Hemida’s last matches before the Terps return to conference play. Maryland will host Ohio State in a dual meet on Jan. 5, with hopes of improving their 0-4 Big Ten record.