April 22, 2009
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Back-to-back all-American Hudson Taylor won the John McHugh Most Outstanding Wrestler Award for the second straight season at Saturday evening's team banquet as the University of Maryland wrestling team celebrated the 2008-09 season in which the Terps repeated as Atlantic Coast Conference champions, finished 10th at the NCAA Championships and had three wrestlers earn all-American status.
Taylor repeated last season's third-place finish at 197 pounds, finishing 38-8 with 19 pins, both team highs. Taylor is the fourth repeat all-American in Maryland history. With three pins at the NCAA Championships, Taylor tied for the most by any of the competitors and won the award for most pins in the least amount of time.
Juniors Alex Krom (141 pounds) and Steven Bell (133 pounds) both earned all-American status this season, as well, and were honored alongside Taylor with the all-American awards. The captain awards were given to Taylor, Krom, Bell and Brendan Byrne.
Krom, Bell and Byrne all won individual ACC titles this season to advance to the NCAA Championships. Krom finished fifth nationally and advanced to the semifinals. Krom finished the season 25-6 and at one point went three months without a loss, posting a perfect ACC record. Bell finished sixth nationally and also went unbeaten in conference competition, finishing 29-7 and 15-1 in dual meets. Byrne was the ACC champion at 125 pounds, finishing 22-10 overall. Byrne avenged his only ACC regular-season loss to Virginia Tech's Jarrod Garnett by defeating him in the conference title bout.
Corey Peltier (174 pounds) and Josh Asper (165 pounds) were named Co-Freshmen of the Year. Peltier finished 14-12, but missed nearly two months due to an ankle injury. Peltier returned late in the season and played a crucial role in Maryland's conference championship, finishing third at 174 pounds. Asper red-shirted this season and dominated open tournaments, finishing 34-7 with five open titles and 17 consecutive wins to close the season.
Redshirt freshman Kyle John was named the most-improved wrestler on the team. John was thrust into the starting role at 157 pounds this season and posted several big victories in dual meets. Some of John's memorable victories included a 14-7 decision against 14th-ranked Shane Vernon of Oklahoma, a 5-3 decision against Navy's Joel Ahern, a 6-2 decision against Virginia Tech's Jesse Dong and a 3-1 decision against American's Patrick Graham.
Mike Letts won the Redshirt of the Year Award, finishing 26-3 at 174 pounds with four open titles. An ACC champion in 2007-08, Letts figures to be a surefire all-American candidate next season.
Byrne won the Curt Callahan Mental Toughness Award, given annually to the Maryland wrestler that was always prepared to do battle in the practice room, tournaments and dual meets.
Heavyweight Patrick Gilmore received the Tom Norris Unsung Hero Award, given to the performer that always puts the team over individual accolades. Gilmore went 24-18 in the regular season, including several match-clinching victories.
Redshirt-senior Steve Fehnel was awarded the Kevin Kearns Senior Leadership Award, given to the senior who contributed the most to the wrestling program.
2008-09 Maryland Wrestling Awards:
John McHugh Most Outstanding Wrestler Award - Hudson Taylor
Co-Freshmen of the Year - Corey Peltier and Josh Asper
Most Improved - Kyle John
Redshirt of the Year - Mike Letts
Curt Callahan Mental Toughness Award - Brendan Byrne
Tom Norris Unsung Hero Award - Patrick Gilmore
Kevin Kearns Senior Leadership Award - Steve Fehnel
All-American Awards - Hudson Taylor, Alex Krom and Steven Bell
Captain Awards - Hudson Taylor, Alex Krom, Steven Bell and Brendan Byrne