Jan. 15, 2009
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland wrestling team will grapple with two of the best teams in the nation this weekend when it travels to Big 12 powers Oklahoma and Nebraska, respectively.
The Terrapins (3-5-1), who have already faced a difficult non-conference schedule this season, are at No. 11 Oklahoma (12-0) at 7 p.m. Friday and then at No. 4 Nebraska (8-2) at 2 p.m. Sunday.
The 11th-ranked Sooners are unbeaten heading into Friday's dual and boast top-20 wrestlers in seven weight classes, including a pair of top-10 competitors.
However, the Terps figure to match up well at 133, 141 and 197 pounds. The Terps boast top-15 grapplers at 133 pounds in eighth-ranked Steven Bell, and 141 pounds with 14th-ranked Alex Krom. The Sooners do not have ranked wrestlers at either weight class. The 197-pound bout figures to be a good one, with the Terps sending No. 11 Hudson Taylor to the mat against No. 10 Eric Lapotsky.
Like Oklahoma, the Cornhuskers' lineup is extremely potent in the middle and heavyweights, so the Terps will look to take advantage in the light weights.
Again, Bell and Krom figure to be favorites in their matches, but the Huskers don't have anyone ranked lower than17th from 157 pounds through heavyweight. Included in that group are No. 2 Jordan Burroughs at 157 pounds, No. 7 Stephen Dwyer at 165 pounds and No. 2 Brandon Browne at 174 pounds.
Taylor, who started the season at No. 2 in the country, has a great opportunity to move back up the rankings as he will face top-ranked Craig Brester in the 197-pound match.
Four of Maryland's five losses this season have come to top-20 teams.
PROBABLE STARTERS (Maryland Only)
125 - Brendan Byrne
133 - No. 8 Steven Bell
141 - No. 14 Alex Krom
149 - Steve Fehnel
157 - Kyle John
165 - Brian Letters
174 - Bradley Nielson OR Patrick Klenkel
184 - Ryan Gray
197 - No. 11 Hudson Taylor
HWT - Patrick Gilmore