Feb. 5, 2009
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland wrestling team has a chance to move into a share of first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference Sunday when it heads to Blacksburg, Va., to face a resurgent Virginia Tech program that is currently ranked 13th in the country.
The Terrapins (7-7-1, 2-1 ACC) are riding the momentum of a three-match winning streak, including a pair of conference road victories at NC State and Duke. However, the Hokies are in the midst of the greatest season in program history. The Hokies are 17-1 and 2-0 in the ACC. The 17 dual victories are already a new school record for wins in a season.
"I am looking forward to this match. This match has a lot to offer," Maryland head coach Kerry McCoy said. "A lot of top seeds at the ACC Tournament are at stake, as well as a potential chance to share the regular-season dual meet championship. We are ready, and looking forward to competing."
The Hokies and Terps both boast a trio of top-20 grapplers. The teams seem to match up well with each other, as the strength of both is in the lower weights.
At 125 pounds, the Hokies will send No. 14 Jarrod Garnett and his team-leading 32 wins to the mat. However, the Terps will counter with Brendan Byrne, who has won five consecutive duals and is unbeaten in conference action this season.
The Terps should have the advantage at 133 pounds, as No. 11 Steven Bell will face either Will Livingston or Brock LiVorio, both of whom are unranked.
The 141-pound matchup features a pair of ranked wrestlers, as 11th-ranked Alex Krom will look for his eighth straight victory and fourth in the ACC for the Terps. Facing Krom will be No. 19 Chris Diaz, who boasts an impressive 27-7 record.
Reigning ACC Wrestler of the Week Pete Yates, ranked 20th nationally, will face Dex Lederer at 149 pounds.
Like last week's victory against Navy, the Terps will probably need to take points in the middle weights to give their upper weights a chance to make up ground or seal victory.
If the Terps are close are ahead heading into the 197 and heavyweight bouts, then victory should be within reach. No. 10 Hudson Taylor will face Tommy Spellman at 197 pounds. If the meet comes down to the heavyweight match, Maryland should like their chances with Patrick Gilmore. Gilmore is on a four-match winning streak and has sealed two of the Terps' last three victories with wins in the final match. Gilmore will face David Marone.
Live video of the dual will be broadcast online at ACCSelect.com.
PROBABLE STARTERS (Maryland listed first)
125 - Brendan Byrne (16-7) vs. No. 14 Jarrod Garnett (32-4)
133 - No. 11 Steven Bell (18-4) vs. Will Livingston (12-8) OR Brock LiVorio (21-7)
141 - No. 11 Alex Krom (15-4) vs. No. 19 Chris Diaz (27-7)
149 - Dex Lederer (10-11) vs. No. 20 Pete Yates (25-7)
157 - Kyle John (12-14) vs. Jesse Dong (24-7)
165 - Brian Letters (17-9) vs. Matt Epperly (20-11)
174 - Bradley Nielson (1-4) vs. Anthony Trongone (19-12)
184 - Ryan Gray (2-12) vs. Tommy Spellman (19-8)
197 - No. 10 Hudson Taylor (25-6) vs. D.J. Bruce (22-10)
HWT - Patrick Gilmore (19-15) vs. David Marone (22-12)