March 4, 2010
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The ninth-ranked University of Maryland wrestling will head to the mat in search of its third straight Atlantic Coast Conference Championship and the program's 23rd overall Saturday at NC State's Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh, N.C.
The Terps capped a perfect 4-0 conference regular season with a victory over then-No. 24 Virginia and have several wrestlers in position to become conference champs. Steven Bell, Alex Krom, Jon Kohler and Hudson Taylor all have individual conference titles to their resumes, and will be seeking to help Maryland become the conference's first team to win three straight titles since North Carolina won four straight from 1997-2000.
"We've been talking about and preparing ourselves for the postseason for a long time and we're ready for a tough competition," said head coach Kerry McCoy. "It's good to be able to go out and compete and these guys have had great preparation over the last few days."
Bell could become Maryland's first three-time conference champ since Brandon York won four straight from 1999-2002. Krom was last year's champion at 141 pounds and will look to repeat against a strong field that includes No. 10 Chris Diaz of Virginia Tech. Kohler was the 2008 champ at 141 pounds and Taylor was the 2008 champion at 197 pounds.
Redshirt freshman Josh Asper, ranked No. 14 in the nation with a 30-6 record this season, will be going after his first conference title at 165 pounds. Patrick Gilmore gives Maryland another contender at heavyweight, but he will have to get past 2009 NCAA runner-up Konrad Dudziak of Duke, who is ranked third in the nation.
The all-day event will feature 14 wrestlers currently ranked among the nation's top 20 in their respective weight classes, including three wrestlers ranked as high as No. 3.
First round action starts at 11 a.m. Updated brackets as Saturday's action progresses can be found here.
In addition, ACC Select plans to air a free, live online webcast of the Championships, beginning with the consolation finals at 5 p.m., followed by the finals at 7:00. The broadcast, produced by ScherShot Productions, will feature Evan Lepler on play-by-play and Daryl Weber as color analyst. Coverage may be accessed via ACCSelect.com.
Maryland's 22 ACC wrestling titles are more than any other school. North Carolina is second with 17.
Maryland's probable lineup is listed below. In parenthesis following the weight class is the number of NCAA qualifiers the ACC has for that weight class.
125 (3) - James Knox (19-10, 2-1)
133 (1) - No. 11 Steven Bell (21-5 1-0)
141 (3) - No. 9 Alex Krom (17-5 2-0)
149 (2) - Jon Kohler (15-16 2-0)
157 (4) - Kyle John (27-10 4-0)
165 (2) - No. 14 Josh Asper (30-6 4-0)
174 (1) - Brad Nielson (12-10 0-1)
184 (2) - Corey Peltier (18-14 3-1)
197 (3) - No. 3 Hudson Taylor (36-2 4-0)
285 (3) - Patrick Gilmore (23-9 4-0)