Dec. 31, 2009
Evanston, Ill. - Alex Krom won the individual championship at 141 pounds and the University of Maryland wrestling team finished sixth at the Midlands Championships, its best finish ever at the prestigious tournament.
The Terps had three wrestlers place, as Steven Bell finished runner-up at 133 pounds and Hudson Taylor took fifth at 197 pounds. Maryland finished sixth despite wrestling with eight entrants rather than 10, as Mike Letts and Patrick Gilmore were unable to compete.
"It's a pretty good showing for us," said head coach Kerry McCoy. "We're not overly excited about it. To have only eight guys compete and finish sixth is pretty good, and it's a good barometer to see where we are. We have some work to do to get ready for National Duals and correct some errors, but I'm happy with the way our guys are wrestling at this point."
Krom had a dominant run, going 5-0 with three pinfalls and one major decision. The 10th ranked wrestler in the country, Krom took a 9-2 decision over one-seed Jimmy Kennedy of Illinois in the final, becoming the first Maryland wrestler to win a title at the Midlands. To get there, he pinned No. 19 Trevor Melde of Rutgers in the quarterfinals in 1:45 and No. 16 Ryan Prater of Illinois in the semifinals in 2:00.
Bell won his first four matches to reach the finals, including a semifinal win over No. 15 Kelly Kubec of Oregon State, but was defeated in the championship match by fourth-seeded and No. 12 Tyler Graff of Wisconsin.
Taylor, meanwhile, found himself wrestling a post-collegiate entrant in the semifinals. Because the Midlands Championships is an open tournament, wrestlers of all ages are eligible to enter. Wynn Michalak, who wrestled at Central Michigan, bested Taylor 9-5 in the semifinal round. The loss, however, does not count towards Taylor's record. From there Taylor went on to drop a close match with fourth-seeded and No. 7 Trevor Brandvoid of Wisconsin. He then pinned Patrick Bond of Illinois in 3:55 to take fifth place.
The Terps are next in action on Jan. 9 when they compete in the National Wrestling Coaches Association National Duals in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Sheptock takes title at Wilkes Open; Strizki second
Jimmy Sheptock won his second open title of the season on Sunday, winning all four of his matches to claim the 165-pound championship at the Wilkes Open in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Sheptock, a freshman who also won an open title at the East Stroudsburg Open in November, improved his record to 18-2 on the season.
Pat Strizki, wrestling at 125 pounds, reached the finals before falling to Joseph Langel of Rutgers by a 6-5 decision.