Wrestling Falls Short at No. 11 Oklahoma, 22-15

Jan. 16, 2009

NORMAN, Okla. - The University of Maryland wrestling team had a good showing at No. 11 Oklahoma Friday, giving itself a chance to win going into the last match, but fell short against the Sooners, losing 22-15.

The Terrapins (3-6-1) led after six matches, but the Sooners (13-0) took three of the final four to seal victory.

In the opening match, Brendan Byrne battled No. 11 Joey Fio to the end at 125 pounds, but lost by the slightest of margins, 2-1. James Knox had to fill in for Steven Bell at 133 pounds, losing 6-1 to Brian Shelton.

Down 6-0, No. 14 Alex Krom brought the Terps even at 141 pounds, pinning Seth Vernon in 4 minutes, 40 seconds.

However, the Sooners gained most of those six points back at 149 pounds, as No. 15 Kyle Terry earned a five-point technical fall over Steve Fehnel.

With No. 14 Shane Vernon taking the mat at 157 pounds and the Sooners up 11-6, redshirt freshman Kyle John earned the biggest win of his young career, upsetting Vernon relatively easily, taking a 14-7 decision to bring the Terps within two points.

Maryland took its first lead in the 165-pound battle as Brian Letters won a 7-3 decision against Ryan Smith.

Unfortunately for the Terps, the Sooners took the ensuing matches at 174 and 184 pounds to build a working margin.

No. 9 Jeff James earned a five-point technical fall against Patrick Klenkel and No. 19 Patrick Flynn took a 9-3 decision against Ryan Gray.

No. 11 Hudson Taylor kept the Terps alive, however, defeating his second straight ranked foe with a 6-2 decision against No. 10 Eric Lapotsky, bringing the Terps within four points going into the heavyweight bout.

Oklahoma held on in the end, with No. 20 Nathan Fernandez winning 6-2 against Patrick Gilmore to account for the final margin.

Despite the loss, Maryland head coach Kerry McCoy was pleased with the effort.

"We wrestled well tonight," McCoy said. "We lost two close matches that could have been the difference. Overall, the guys fought hard and were very close to the 11th-ranked team in the nation. Kyle John and Alex Krom did an excellent job. Brian Letters and Hudson Taylor fought hard and wrestled well. It was a great team effort and that's what we need as we get ready for the postseason."

Maryland faces another difficult test Sunday, as the Terps compete at No. 4 Nebraska.

125 - No. 11 Joey Fio (OU) dec. Brendan Byrne, 2-1 (3-0)
133 - Brian Shelton (OU) dec. James Knox, 6-1 (6-0)
141 - No. 14 Alex Krom (MD) fall over Seth Vernon, 4:40 (6-6)
149 - No. 15 Kyle Terry (OU) tech. fall over Steve Fehnel, 21-5 (5:20) (11-6)
157 - Kyle John (MD) dec. No. 14 Shane Vernon, 14-7 (11-9)
165 - Brian Letters (MD) dec. Ryan Smith, 7-3 (11-12)
174 - No. 9 Jeff James (OU) tech. fall Patrick Klenkel, 20-4 (7:00) (16-12)
184 - No. 19 Patrick Flynn (OU) dec. Ryan Gray, 9-3 (19-12)
197 - No. 11 Hudson Taylor (MD) dec. No. 10 Eric Lapotsky, 6-2 (19-15)
HWT - No. 20 Nathan Fernandez (OU) dec. Patrick Gilmore, 6-2 (22-15)