COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Redshirt sophomore Alfred Bannister (149) and redshirt junior Justin Alexander (157) both notched wins for Maryland in the team’s home opener vs. #12 Rutgers Sunday afternoon. The Scarlet Knights (6-1, 1-1 B1G) came away with the team decision, 21-13, but the Terps (2-5, 0-1 B1G) produced four winners on a day that saw several wrestlers adjust weight classes.
After Rutgers opened the match with three consecutive victories, a pair of back-to-back wins at 149 and 157 pounds had the Terps just five points behind at the break. First it was Bannister who took on #15 Ken Theobold in the 149-pound bout, which turned into another low scoring affair for the La Plata, Md. native. A takedown near the start of the third period proved to be the difference, as Baby J fended off shots from Theobold to hand him his first dual loss of the year.
Alexander used a six-point combo in the first period to get the edge on #20 John Van Brill flipping the Scarlet Knight grappler to the mat for a four-point near fall. Van Brill managed to make a match of it in the third period, but Alexander held him off for his first win over a ranked opponent this season. It was the first dual defeat of the season for Van Brill.
Another streak of three victories proved to be the difference for Rutgers, but the Terps closed the match out with two more wins in the upper weights. Redshirt freshman David-Brian Whisler completed a 3-0 weekend for the Terps with another major decision victory at 184, downing Matthew Correnti 8-0. The Warren, Ohio native again used great defense and scrambling to secure the shutout, and improved to 10-2 on the season.
Youssif Hemida wrestled one of his best matches of the year at heavyweight, aided by a clutch third period takedown/near fall combo with the matches tied 2-2. Hemida came from the ground to execute a quick single leg on Marc McDonald and put him on his back for four points and the eventual 9-3 decision.
The Terps will enter an extended hiatus from competition before returning to action at the Midlands Championships December 29-30 in Evanston, Ill. Maryland will also have entries at the Wilkes Open in Wilkes Barre, Pa. on December 22.