March 6, 2008
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The No. 22 Maryland wrestling team will host the 2008 ACC Championship on Saturday, March 8 at Comcast Center. Doors for the event open at 11:00 a.m. with first round matches beginning at noon. The Terrapins finished 16-4 and a perfect 5-0 in the conference for the second-straight season.
Terps Host ACC Championship
Maryland, which finished the 2007-08 campaign with the best winning percentage in school history, will compete in the 2008 ACC Championship on Saturday, March 8 at Comcast Center. The tournament begins at noon with the finals slated for 8:00 p.m.
The Terrapins finished the dual season with a 16-4 record for a program-record .800 winning percentage.
Maryland's 33 wins the last two seasons are the most of any other two-year span in Terps' history.
The Terps' previous best winning percentage came last season, going 17-5 for a .773 clip.
Maryland has not lost an ACC dual in the last two seasons, going a perfect 10-0. It is the first time since 1972-73 and 1973-74 that the Terrapins have not lost an ACC dual in two-straight seasons.
Maryland went a perfect 7-0 at home this season in Comcast Pavilion.
Wrestlers of the Week
Maryland wrestlers earned seven ACC Wrestler of the Week nods during the regular season in 14 weeks, earning half of the bids.
Sophomore Hudson Taylor won the award a staggering five times which was more than any other team combined. North Carolina was the team with next most nods with three.
Sophomore Mike Letts was the season's first recipient of the award earning it on November 6.
Junior Josh Haines won two weeks later on November 13 for the Terps.
The last time Maryland won the ACC Tournament was in 1973. The Terps have more championsips than any other school with 20. North Carolina has won 17.
The Terps under Sully Krouse won every ACC Tournament from 1956-1973.
NC State or North Carolina has won every ACC Tournament since 1978.
From 1974-1977, Virginia won three of four conference titles.
Three Maryland wrestlers have earned All-ACC honors in the past. Sophomores Mike Letts and Hudson Taylor were honored last year as Letts won the 174 pound title and Taylor finished second at 197 pounds.
Sophomore Brendan Byrne advanced to the finals as a freshman in 2006 at 133 pounds.
This is the first time since 2000 that the ACC Championship will be held in College Park and the first time it will ever be in Comcast Center.
Perfect In Conference
The Terps have two wrestlers that finished with an unblemished record in the ACC.
Sophomore Mike Letts went 5-0 in the ACC this season and has not lost a conference dual in his career, going 9-0 the past two seasons.
Sophomore Hudson Taylor started and won every ACC match this season for the second-straight year. He is now 10-0 in his career in the conference.
Two of his team-leading 16 falls have come in conference action. Half of his 10 career ACC wins have been by fall.
Been There Before
Half of Maryland's lineup for the championship competed last year in the ACCs.
Sophomores Mike Letts and Hudson Taylor earned All-ACC accolades in 2007 after Letts won the 174 pound championship and Taylor finished second at 197.
Junior Josh Haines placed fourth at 184 pounds a year ago as did sophomore Mike McGill at 157 pounds.
Sophomore Jon Kohler competed at 133 pounds and won his opening round match.
Of the Terps' 10 starters, five hail from the state of Pennsylvania which borders Maryland to the north.
Three more starters are from nearby New Jersey and two hail from Maryland.
The average distance in miles of the 10 starters from College Park is just 151 miles.
Quite a Turnaround
Head coach Pat Santoro has put a winning spirit back into the Maryland wrestling program the past three seasons.
After not winning an ACC dual and claiming just seven overall wins in his first two seasons, Santoro has led the Terps to 41 wins in the last three years and a 14-1 mark in the ACC.
Santoro's 17 wins last season was more than he had in his first three seasons combined as he was 15-32-1.
The Terps completed the best regular season in school history in 2006-07 as they went 17-5.
Maryland's .800 winning percentage in 2008 is a program record while the 33 wins in the last two years are more than any other two-year span in team history.
On a Roll
A couple of Maryland grapplers head into the ACC Tournament with winning fresh in their minds.
Sophomore Brendan Byrne has won seven of his last eight matches at 125 pounds and classmate Steven Bell has done the same at 133.
Sophomore Jon Kohler has been victorious in his last five outings at 141 pounds.
Sophomore Mike Letts, ranked No. 9 at 174 pounds, has won his last nine matches and has not lost since January 10. One of those wins came against a ranked opponent in No. 20 Eric Decker of Virginia Tech.
Sophomore Hudson Taylor is on quite a tear as he has not lost at 197 pounds since November 17. He is 28-2 and ranked No. 5 in the weight class while not having lost in his last 22 contests.
A Win For The Ages
Down 16-6 with three matches to go against No. 5 Michigan, the Maryland wrestling team completed an improbable comeback to take down the Wolverines, 18-16, in its opening match at the Journeymen/BRUTE Northeast Duals on November 24. Junior Josh Haines took down the No. 3 ranked wrestler at 184 pounds, sophomore Hudson Taylor earned a pin, and redshirt freshman Patrick Gilmore completed the run to steal the win.
The Terps were down 16-6 after seven matches against the Wolverines with sophomores Brendan Byrne and Steven Bell opening the dual with a pair of decisions. Michigan's powerful lineup, which featured three wrestlers ranked in the top five in their respective weight classes, rattled off five straight wins to take the commanding lead. Maryland's wrestlers kept the damage to a minimum though, allowing four decisions and one major.
Haines ended the Michigan streak with a stunning upset of No. 3 Tyrel Todd. After a scoreless first period, Haines rode out Todd to accumulate 2:00 of riding time. In the third, Haines scored an escape and a takedown. Todd's only point came on a stalling penalty to Haines.
Taylor recorded his fifth pin of the season in the first period against Anthony Biondo to pull the Terps within one, 16-15, with just the heavyweights to go.
Gilmore and his opponent, Matthew Guhn, went back and forth with Gilmore almost recording a pin at the end of the first and second periods. Gilmore began to pull away though with a 14-11 advantage and then closed the match out with an escape and a takedown to give Maryland one of its biggest wins in program history.
Terps Beat Midshipmen For First Time Since 1997
The No. 21 Maryland wrestling team did what it had not done in 22 years by beating No. 22 Navy in Annapolis, 21-18, in front of a capacity crowd of 1,025 at Halsey Field House on January 10. The Terrapins opened with a pair of victories and sophomore Hudson Taylor recorded his 12th pin of the season en route to the win. Maryland, which never trailed in the dual, beat the Midshipmen for the first time since 1997.