Maryland junior Youssif Hemida competing in the 55th annual Midlands Championship where he finished in third place. (Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics)

Terps prepare for Big Ten dual meets and F&M Open

The Maryland wrestling team (3-4, 0-4) has a full weekend ahead of them as they prepare for three different competitions in three straight days. First, Maryland starts with a dual meet against the Ohio State Buckeyes (6-0, 1-0) on Friday and continues with the F&M Open on Saturday. The Terps will then face the Nebraska Cornhuskers (2-2, 0-0) in another conference dual meet on Sunday.

The Terps will have their hands full when Ohio State comes to the Xfinity Center, as the Buckeyes have 10 wrestlers ranked in the top 11, including Olympic gold medalist Kyle Snyder.

The No. 1 heavyweight is the youngest Olympic and World Champion in the history of the United States and will be the toughest opponent that redshirt junior Youssif Hemida has the opportunity to face. Kyle’s younger brother Kevin poses another challenge at heavyweight and could be the potential alternate matchup for Hemida.

Coming off of his third place finish at the Midlands Championship on Dec. 29-30, Hemida will be looking to knock off yet another ranked opponent. At Midlands, Hemida knocked off No. 9 Billy Miller in the quarterfinal round. He previously defeated then No. 12 at the Terps’ dual meet at Stanford.

Aside from the matchup at heavyweight, the remaining Terps expected to wrestle on Friday are more than likely to face ranked opponents. Redshirt freshman Brandon Cray will begin the match for the Terps and will look to upset No. 1 for the 125-pound weight class, Nathan Tomasello.

Ryan Diehl will represent the Terps in the 141-pound weight class following his winning record at the Midlands Championship. Diehl’s possible match against No. 6 junior Joey McKenna would be one of his toughest challenges of the season.

The Terps will then resume to tournament action at the F&M Open on Jan. 6. While they have been struggling in dual meets, several Maryland wrestlers have had great success at tournaments. Redshirt junior Alfred Bannister has two first-place finishes under his belt: one at the Mat Town Open on Nov. 26 and another at the Wilkes Open on Dec. 22.

Hemida has also shown his skill during tournament play by winning the championship at the Road Runner Open and most recently finishing in the top 5 at Midlands.

The Terps will have no time to rest following the F&M Open, as they return to conference play with a dual meet against the Cornhuskers at Lincoln, Nebraska on Sunday. The Terps will have to keep their eye out for freshman Mikey Labriola for the Cornhuskers, as he just completed an impressive run at the Midlands Championship that landed him in fourth place for the 174-pound weight class.

Labriola defeated the Terps’ Josh Ugalde at Midlands by a 7-5 decision in the second round of the tournament, so Ugalde will be looking to avenge his loss should the two opponents meet again.

No. 20 Nebraska will face off against the No. 12 Illinois on Friday before hosting the Terps. The Huskers will be hoping to bounce back from their last pair of dual meets in which they lost to No. 6 NC State and University of North Carolina.

Standout performer for the Huskers, sophomore Isaiah White, is ranked No. 10 in the 165-pound weight class and leads Nebraska with 15 total takedowns in dual competitions.

Maryland’s Brendan Burnham is the probable opponent that will take on White in the dual meet. Burnham, a redshirt sophomore, recently finished with a winning record at Midlands and will try to capture another win against Ohio State’s Te’Shan Campbell on Friday.

The Terps’ will kick off their action-packed weekend with their meet against Ohio State at 7 p.m. at the Xfinity Center, followed by an all-day event at the F&M Open and a 2 p.m. (CT) start time in Lincoln.

The Ohio State match can be streamed on BTN2GO, while the Nebraska meet can be streamed live on BTN Plus or FloWrestling.