March 18, 2010
OMAHA, Neb. - Four University of Maryland wrestlers won their first round matches at the NCAA Championships and advanced to the second round, which will be held Thursday evening.
Steven Bell, Alex Krom, Josh Asper and Hudson Taylor all won by decision in the first session of the tournament Thursday morning. Maryland is currently in a tie for 18th place. James Knox and Kyle John dropped narrow decisions at 125 and 157 pounds, respectively, and move to the consolation bracket Thursday evening.
Bell, the ninth seed at 133 pounds, picked up Maryland's first win of the day. After a scoreless first period with Akif Eren of Purdue, Bell nearly pinned his opponent and took a 3-0 lead into the third period. The senior added three more points in the final stanza with an escape and a takedown for a 6-0 win. Bell will face eighth-seeded Tyler Graff of Wisconsin in the second round. The two have already wrestled each other twice this year, with Graff having won both matches.
Krom followed with a 5-0 decision at 141 pounds. Wrestling against Chris Drouin of Arizona State, Krom recorded a takedown, escape and another takedown to advance. In the second round, Krom will take on ninth-seeded Levi Jones of Boise State.
At 165 pounds, Asper dominated the first period of his match with Stephen Burak of Penn, recording an early takedown and accumulating two minutes of riding time. Asper went on to get a reversal and a point for riding time as he won 5-1. In the second round he will face unseeded Nick Amuchastegui, who upset third-seeded Nick Marable of Missouri.
Taylor was the final Maryland wrestler to compete in the first round. The two-time All-American improved his record to 39-2 on the year with a 6-0 decision over Daniel Mitchell of American, moving on to face Joseph Kennedy of Lehigh in the second round.
In Maryland's first match of the day, Knox was narrowly ousted by eighth-seeded Matt Steintrager of Central Michigan. With the score tied at 1-1 after three periods, the match went to overtime. Steintrager got a reversal late in the overtime period to go ahead 3-1 and won 3-2 after Knox got one point for an escape.
John also had a tough loss, dropping a 7-5 decision to Keegan Davis of Oregon State.
Live coverage of the event resumes at 7:30 p.m. on NCAA.com.