The Maryland wrestling team suffered a conference loss to No. 15 Illinois on Sunday when they traveled to Champaign, Illinois for their last road Big Ten dual meet of the season.
Though the Terps fell short at Illinois, losing 25-18, five Maryland wrestlers were able to score a win in their respective matches.
Included in the Terps five wins were two by way of sudden victory. Redshirt junior Alfred Bannister was locked in a tight battle for the 149-pound battle with Eric Barone, so much so that the two were forced into a sudden victory period. After being tied 3-3 for the entire third period, Bannister was finally able to break the tie with a takedown and take the bout.
Then in the penultimate bout of the day, redshirt sophomore David-Brian Whisler found himself in a similar situation. After going almost two periods scoreless in the 197-pound matchup, Whisler was finally able to overcome Illinois’ Andre Lee with a sudden victory takedown.
Maryland junior and No. 7 heavyweight in the nation Youssif Hemida bounced back from his loss to No. 6 Nick Nevills of Penn State by earning a 5-2 decision victory over Illinois’ Deuce Rachal. With this win, Hemida improved his record this season to an impressive 21-2.
Despite the overall result of the dual, the Terps were able to finish the dual strong with two straight wins by Whisler and Hemida and also tally a pin for the day.
In the 141-pound battle, redshirt junior Ryan Diehl came out with a strong offense against opponent Dylan Thurston, and it was only 2:11 into the first period that Diehl got a pin on Thurston.
Illinois also showed its dominance in the way in which they closed out their bouts, winning four either by way of fall or technical fall.
Isaiah Martinez earned one of the Fighting Illini’s three technical fall wins over the Terps, proving that he deserves his No. 2 ranking and undefeated record. Emery Parker and Travis Piotrowski are the two other ranked Illinois wrestlers and were both victorious in their bouts against Niko Cappello and Brandon Cray.
Several Terps will return to tournament action on Saturday, Feb. 3 for the Messiah Open. The Terps have had great success this season in tournaments, with Bannister taking first at the Mat Town Open on Nov. 26 and the Wilkes Open that took place Dec. 22. Hemida also has a first-place finish at the Roadrunner Open on Nov. 19 and a third-place finish at the Midlands Championship.
The Terps will return to dual meet action when they host Big Ten foe Minnesota at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 11.
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