The Maryland wrestling team will round out its conference dual schedule when they return home to host the No. 19 Minnesota Gophers on Sunday.
For the Terps (4-10, 0-8), this match against Minnesota (7-8, 2-5) is the last chance to earn a win in the extremely competitive Big Ten conference. The Terps most recently were edged out in its dual meet at Illinois, 25-18, but came away with several key victories.
At 141, redshirt junior Ryan Diehl won by way of fall over Illinois’ Dylan Thurston. Also, redshirt junior Alfred Bannister in the 149-pound weight class and redshirt sophomore David-Brian Whisler at 197 both won tight matches in sudden victory periods.
Youssif Hemida, junior and the No. 7 heavyweight in the nation, and redshirt sophomore Josh Ugalde in the 174-pound weight class also picked up wins for the Terps in their bouts.
Four Terps finished victorious at the Messiah Open Feb. 3: redshirt freshman Peter Tedesco claimed the 141-pound division title after four straight decision victories, including a semifinal match against fellow Terp Danny Bertoni and a major decision win in the championship against Columbia University’s JP Ascolese.
Redshirt freshman Niko Cappello and redshirt junior Pat Gerish both climbed their way to the championship match in the 184-pound division, but Cappello took the the match with a close 3-2 decision over Gerish to earn his first tournament title.
Freshman Philip Spadafora started his run with a technical fall over Messiah’s Kevin Diehl and fought his way all the way to the championship. In his final match, Spadafora edged out Rutgers University’s Javiair White with a 4-3 decision win to capture his first championship.
In the 197-pound division, Whisler had two wins by way of fall and two by major decision en route to his first-place finish.
The Minnesota Gophers will be entering this dual meet with five nationally-ranked wrestlers, including No. 6 Ethan Lizak at 125. Listed as probable, Lizak would be matched up against Maryland’s Brandon Cray, who is 10-11 on the season.
Cray’s most recent win came in the Terps dual meet against defending national champions Penn State with a 4-2 decision win over Devin Schnupp, which marked his first Big Ten dual victory.
Also among the ranks on Minnesota’s squad is No. 8 Nick Wanzek at 165. Wanzek holds an impressive 19-5 record this season and will most likely face off against Brendan Burnham for the Terps.
Hemida will be looking for a second consecutive win as he prepares to face off against either sophomore Rylee Streifel (8-10) or junior Nate Rose (9-4) in the heavyweight matchup.
The Terps will have plenty of opportunities to knock off ranked Gophers with Mitch McKee ranked No. 12 at 133, No. 14 Tommy Thorn in the 141-pound weight class and No. 17 Jake Short at 157.
The Terps battle for its first Big Ten victory will begin Sunday at 2 p.m. in the Xfinity Center Pavilion.
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