March 20, 2009
ST. LOUIS - Redshirt junior Alex Krom led four University of Maryland wrestlers at the first day of the NCAA Championships Thursday at Scottrade Center in St. Louis, winning both his matches at 141 pounds to advance to Friday's quarterfinals.
All-American Hudson Taylor (197 pounds), Steven Bell (133 pounds) and Brendan Byrne (125 pounds) all went 1-1 in their respective weight classes and will look to advance through the consolation bracket tomorrow.
The Terrapins scored a combined 10 points Thursday to put them in a tie for 21st place. Maryland and NC State each scored 10 points to tie for the most by ACC schools on the first day. Iowa State is in the lead with 32 points.
"Today was up and down," Maryland head coach Kerry McCoy said. "We still have four guys with a chance to become all-Americans. Tomorrow is a new day and they will be ready."
Despite being ranked ninth in the country, Krom was unseeded at 141 pounds and faced a tough opening match with No. 6 Alex Tsirtsis of Iowa, the No. 4 seed, who handed Krom one of his four losses earlier this season.
Krom got his revenge, though, defeating Tsirtsis, 5-4. After an early escape in the second period, Krom registered a takedown in the second period and a reversal in the third period en route to the victory.
In his second match of the day, Krom faced another difficult challenge in Oklahoma State's Jamal Parks, the 15th-ranked grappler in the nation. In a tough, low-scoring affair, Krom tied the score at 2-2 in the final period with an escape and earned the victory via the riding-time bonus.
In tomorrow's quarterfinal, Krom will face 12th-seeded Drew Lashaway of Kent State. Krom needs only one more victory to earn all-American status.
Taylor, the No. 10 seed, had a quick day on the mat, pinning his first opponent, Andrew Delaney of The Citadel, in 1 minute, 32 seconds. However, Taylor was pinned by No. 7 seed Brandon Halsey of Cal State Bakersfield in 40 seconds in his second match of the day.
In order to repeat as all-American, Taylor will need to win three matches Friday. Taylor will face the winner of South Dakota State's Tyler Sorenson and Edinboro's Patrick Bradshaw in his first consolation bracket match Friday.
Bell, the No. 12 seed, had a relatively easy time in his opening match, defeating Oregon State's Kelly Kubec, 9-0. Bell scored a takedown and two-point near fall in the first period. However, Bell ran into a familiar foe in his second match in Boise State's Andrew Hochstrasser. Hochstrasser,the No. 5 seed, defeated Bell, 7-4, earlier this season and did so again Thursday, winning 9-2. It was Bell's fifth loss of the season, two of which have come at the hands of Hochstrasser.
Bell will face Pittsburgh's Jimmy Conroy in his first consolation match Friday.
Unlike Taylor and Bell, who won their opening matches and dropped the second, Byrne lost his first match of the day, 9-3, to Hofstra's Steve Bonanno. However, Byrne staved off elimination in the wrestleback round, defeating Michigan's Mike Watts, 5-1.
Byrne has a tough match looming Friday, though, as fifth-seeded Charlie Falck of Iowa was upset in the championship bracket. Byrne and Falck met earlier this season, with Falck winning a 10-2 major decision at the Northeast Duals.
Friday's semifinal round will be broadcast nationally on ESPNU while all other matches will be streamed on ESPN360.com.