The Maryland wrestling team will compete in another Big Ten dual meet with No. 14 Illinois on Sunday, Jan. 28. The Terps (4-9, 0-7) will be looking to turn the momentum in their favor when they visit the Fighting Illini (4-3, 3-2) in their last road conference dual meet.
The Terps dropped their previous dual meet on Jan. 21 to No. 1 and defending national champion Penn State, but the match was not a total loss. Redshirt freshman Brandon Cray began the competition with the first bout of the day in the 125-pound battle and secured Maryland’s only victory over Penn State’s Devin Schnupp with a 4-2 decision. With this win, Cray tallied his fourth consecutive win in dual meets.
Cray will look to pick up his second Big Ten dual meet victory this Sunday against Illinois as he faces his likely opponent, Travis Piotrowski. Piotrowski is 11-5 on the season and ranked No. 18 in the nation for the 125-pound weight class.
Terps’ junior heavyweight Youssif Hemida suffered only his second loss in the 2017-18 season last week against now No. 6 Nick Nevills of Penn State in a close match. Hemida was moved down to No. 7 and will try to add one to the win column against the Fighting Illini. Hemida’s probable opponent will be Deuce Rachal, who is 8-10 on the season.
Redshirt sophomore Brendan Burnham will have his hands full in the 165-pound battle when facing No. 2 Isaiah Martinez. Martinez has won all of his seven matches this season, six of which he won by way of fall or technical fall.
The Fighting Illini have won three out of their last four dual meets, including wins over No. 20 Nebraska and No. 24 Purdue. Illinois suffered its sole loss in this four-game stretch to Minnesota, 14-17.
The last of three ranked Illinois wrestlers is Emery Parker in the 184-pound weight class. The No. 6 wrestler holds a 15-1 record and will likely dual against Maryland redshirt freshman Niko Cappello.
The Terps will also be challenged in the 141-pound weight class with Mike Carr slowly rising in the national rankings. The freshman has a pair of wins over ranked opponents that has elevated his ranking to No. 12 according to FloWrestling.
Next on the schedule for the Terps is a trip to the Messiah Open on Saturday, Feb. 3 and a home dual meet and their last Big Ten dual meet against Minnesota on Sunday, Feb. 11.
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