March 21, 2009
ST. LOUIS - The University of Maryland wrestling team capped the 2008-09 season with a bang Saturday, finishing in 10th place at NCAA Championships at Scottrade Center in St. Louis. It is the second-best NCAA finish in program history.
Maryland finished with 47.5 points, finishing ahead of the likes of traditional powerhouses Michigan, Northwestern, Minnesota, Oklahoma State and Penn State, among others. Iowa won its second straight team championship with 96.5 points.
Although Hudson Taylor (197 pounds), Alex Krom (141 pounds) and Steven Bell (133 pounds) all clinched all-American status Friday, the trio wrestled for final placement Saturday. Taylor matched last season's third-place finish, winning a pair of matches against two of the nation's best wrestlers. Krom went 1-1 on the day to finish fifth and Bell lost two matches, but still finished sixth.
It is the third time in program history that Maryland has produced three all-Americans in one season and the first time since 1987.
"This was a great weekend for our program," Maryland head coach Kerry McCoy said. "I am very proud of the way we finished. This year has been full of ups and downs, but it all came together in the end. This would not be possible without the tremendous support of our administration, fans and family."
Taylor completed his impressive run through the wrestleback bracket with a pair of victories against top-five wrestlers Saturday morning. In his first match, Taylor dominated the No. 6 seed, Max Askren of Missouri. Taylor dropped a 9-4 decision to Askren earlier this season, but didn't allow a single point in the rematch.
After a scoreless first period, Taylor netted a three-point near fall and a two-point near fall in the second. A reversal and the riding-time bonus in the final period gave Taylor an 8-0 major decision.
Taylor topped the No. 4 seed, Tyrel Todd of Michigan, in the third-place match, 11-4. A pair of takedowns in the opening period gave Taylor an early 4-1 advantage. Two escapes and a takedown gave Taylor another four points in the second period and he headed into the final frame with an 8-3 lead plus riding time advantage in his favor. Todd could only manage an escape in the third period.
After losing his second-round matchup Thursday, Taylor won six straight matches in the consolation bracket. Taylor registered three pins in the tournament, tied for the most by any wrestler during the competition. Taylor won the award for most pins in the least amount of time, getting his three pins in a cumulative total of 5 minutes, 38 seconds. Taylor won the same award earlier this season at the Midlands Championships.
Taylor clinched all-American status Friday, becoming only the fourth repeat all-American in Maryland history and the first since David Land finished seventh and eighth at 118 pounds in 1992 and 1993, respectively.
Following Friday night's semifinal loss to Ryan Williams, Krom lost a 5-1 decision to No. 6 seed Nick Gallick of Iowa State. However, Krom rebounded in the fifth-place match, beating seventh-seeded Chris Drouin of Arizona State, 4-0.
Bell dropped both his matches on the final day to finish sixth at 133 pounds.
For the second time of the tournament and third time this season, Bell was defeated by Boise State's Andrew Hochstrasser, the No. 5 seed. This time, Bell lost a 7-3 decision. In the fifth-place match, Bell was technical falled by the No. 3 seed, Jimmy Kennedy of Illinois. Kennedy won 17-0 in 5:13.