Upper Weights: Title Contenders

Oct. 24, 2012

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - While the University of Maryland wrestling team is dealing with a slight bit of uncertainty regarding which wrestlers will emerge at the middle weights, it does not have the same concerns at the upper weights. The four weight classes combined feature an All-American, two ACC champions and four NCAA qualifiers.

Two-time All-American Josh Asper finished sixth at the 2012 NCAA Championships at 165 pounds. This season, Asper is set to move up to 174 pounds and will debut at the weight on Saturday, Nov. 3 at the NWCA All-Star Classic against two-time All-American Jordan Blanton of Illinois.

Changes at 184 and 197 have resulted from Asper’s move to 174. Jimmy Sheptock, the ACC champion at 174 last season, makes the move to 184 and Ty Snook, who wrestled at 184 last season, may make the switch to 197 to battle Christian Boley for the starting nod. Whatever the final outcome, the Terps should be in good hands.

Asper is the frontrunner at 174. The three-time All-ACC honoree finished sixth at the NCAA Championships for the second consecutive season in 2012 and compiled a record of 28-4 including a perfect 15-0 mark in dual competition. Asper spent the majority of the season ranked No. 2 nationally at 165 and won the Most Outstanding Wrestler award at the Brockport/Oklahoma Gold Invitational in November.

The Parkton, Md., native is joined at 174 by fellow senior Aaron Norris and newcomer Logan Jackson. Norris wrestled in open competition the past two seasons for the Terps, while Jackson joins the squad from Stafford High School in Fredericksburg, Va., where he won 157 matches in his four-year career and captured the 2012 Virginia state title at 195 pounds.

At 184, Sheptock will look to continue the success he enjoyed last season after finishing the year with a 27-6 record and winning his first ACC title. Sheptock fell one win shy of All-American status at the NCAA Championships and will look to earn a spot on the podium this season.

If Snook moves up to 197, Tony Gardner and Chris Jastrzebski will compete with Sheptock in the practice room. Gardner went 18-7 last season mostly in open competition wrestling at 184 and 197. Gardner finished third at the Clarion Open and Shorty Hitchcock Open and tied for the team lead with eight pins. Jastrzebski totaled 92 career wins at Central Bucks West High School in Doylestown, Pa., 62 of which came by fall. Jastrzebski was a 2012 PIAA state medalist and FloNationals All-American.

"It solidifies our lineup to have two solid guys at the weight class,” said head coach Kerry McCoy. “If Ty decides to move up, it solidifies that weight class. Tony has done a great job for us the past year at 184.”

After a redshirt season in 2010-11, Boley made an immediate impact for the Terps at 197 last year. He finished the year with a team-high 31 wins including 14 in dual competition and climbed as high as No. 5 in the nation en route to an ACC title. In addition, Boley won titles at the Brockport/Oklahoma Gold Classic and Nittany Lion Open.

Boley may face a stiff challenge at 197 from former 184-pound starter Snook. Last season, Snook finished with a record of 14-15 with four wins by major decision.

Conor Wetzel and Dylan Devine are also in the mix at 197. Wetzel redshirted last season and went 14-12 wrestling in open competition. He totaled five wins via fall and was selected for the Redshirt of the Year award at the end-of-the-season banquet. Devine wrestled at DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Md., where he won the 2012 Maryland Independent Schools state championship and advanced to the finals of the National Preps.

"There could be some adjustments at 174, 184 and 197, but ultimately we'll make sure we have the best guy ready,” said McCoy.

At heavyweight, 2011 All-American Spencer Myers is back, but may take a redshirt season. If he chooses to redshirt, Myers’ starting position will be contested by Carl Buchholz, a transfer from Rutgers, and Dallas Brown.

Before sitting out last season, Buchholz finished the 2010-11 season with a 16-8 record and placed second at the East Stroudsburg Open and fifth at the Brockport/Oklahoma Gold Classic. Brown wrestled at both 197 and 285 last season and competed at heavyweight in duals against Navy and Virginia Tech.