May 7, 2008
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The Maryland wrestling team handed out its awards for the 2007-08 season at the annual awards picnic at Epping Forest Club House in Annapolis on May 3. Sophomore Hudson Taylor was given the John McHugh Most Outstanding Wrestler Award for the second-straight season after becoming the first Terrapin All-American since 1997.
Taylor finished the season with a 37-3 record at 197 pounds and his third place finish at NCAAs was the best for a wrestler at Maryland since 1992. His win total was tied for the most in the ACC and tied for the eighth highest in all of Division I including every weight class. Eighteen of his wins came by fall which tied for third nationally.
Taylor won the 197 pound title at the ACC Championships on March 8 at Comcast Center to complete a perfect season against conference competition at 10-0. Half of those wins came by way of fall.
Taylor was named ACC Wrestler of the Week a staggering five times which was more than any other team's total number of honors.
Senior Charlie Pinto was honored with the Kevin Kearns Senior Leadership Award after serving his third season as team captain. Junior Josh Haines was named the Tom Norris Unsung Hero, named after the Vietnam veteran and author. Haines finished the year 16-10 with three falls at 184 pounds, including a win over two-time All-American Tyrel Todd, which proved instrumental in the Terps' victory over No. 5 Michigan.
Sophomore Brendan Byrne was given the Curt Callahan Mental Toughness Award, named after the alum, as he went 19-12 at 125 pounds with five major decisions and true sophomore Jon Kohler was named Most Improved, as he finished 17-14 at 141 pounds. Kohler added seven wins from his freshman campaign at 133 pounds.
Brian Letters was tabbed the Freshman of the Year after winning the ACC Championship and advancing to the NCAA Tournament where he upset the #9 seed in the first round. Letters finished with a record of 18-15 at 157 pounds.
Alex Krom received the Redshirt of the Year Award after winning titles at the Buffalo Open and Edinboro Open at 141 pounds. He also earned a second place finish at the Mat Town Open and a third place finish at the Kent State Open. Krom capped off his redshirt season by placing third at the Freestyle University Nationals to earn All-America status at 145.5 pounds.
The Terps also added a new award this season, The Strongest Man, to honor Ryan Brown. Brown set the Maryland school record with a strength index of 853, which consists of a power clean (255 pounds), squat (641 pounds), and bench press (305 pounds). An 853 strength index makes Brown the strongest athlete pound-for-pound in the history of the University of Maryland.
Maryland's 2007-08 campaign was a memorable one as the Terps captured their first ACC Championship since 1973. Five wrestlers claimed individual championships and six represented Maryland at the NCAA Championships in St. Louis, the most entrants for the Terps since 1990. All six of the wrestlers Maryland sent to nationals were underclassmen, as four of them were sophomores in eligibility and two were true freshmen.
Maryland finished 21st this season at nationals which was its best showing since 1992 and the best for an ACC team since 2004.
The Terps also returned to the national forefront this year, climbing as high as No. 21 in the USA Today/NWCA/InterMat poll. It was the first time the Terps had been ranked since 1993. Included in the 16 wins was one of the most impressive dual-meet victories in school history when the Terps beat No. 5 Michigan, 18-16, on November 24. The Terps also won at No. 22 Navy, marking the first time Maryland had won in Annapolis in 22 years. It was the first time Maryland had beaten the Midshipmen since 1997.
The Terps went 16-4 in 2007-08 and went 5-0 in the ACC for the second-straight season. Maryland's .800 winning percentage this season established a new school record and its 33 wins the last two years is more than any other two-year span in Terps history.
FULL LIST OF AWARDS
John McHugh Most Outstanding Wrestler: Hudson Taylor
Kevin Kearns Senior Leadership Award: Charlie Pinto
Tom Norris Unsung Hero: Josh Haines
Curt Callahan Mental Toughness: Brendan Byrne
Most Improved: Jon Kohler
Most Falls: Hudson Taylor (18, ranked third nationally)
Redshirt of the Year: Alex Krom
Freshman of the Year: Brian Letters
Strongest Man: Ryan Brown
Captain Awards: Josh Haines, Charlie Pinto, Hudson Taylor
Senior Awards: Ryan Brown, Ryan Kennett, Charlie Pinto, Matt Rothstein, Clint Stout