HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. – Junior heavyweight wrestler Youssif Hemida took home a third-place finish after picking up two wins on the final day of the 55th Midlands Championships.
The New York-native fell in his semifinal match against top-seeded Tanner Hall, but responded with back-to-back wins to close out the weekend.
Hemida’s semifinal bout with Hall was a grueling one, with neither wrestler securing a single takedown in the bout. After a scoreless first period, Hemida elected to start on bottom to begin the second. He nearly escaped Hall’s offensive attack, but the two were ruled out-of-bounds before the escape occurred. Hall was then able to ride Hemida out for the entire period, and took a two-minute advantage in riding time moving into the third period.
Hall escaped Hemida to begin the third and secured the first point of the match. After consecutive stall calls, Hemida was able to even the score at one, but Hall’s riding time advantage gave him the 2-1 win.
Hemida was then able to respond following his first loss of the season, pinning Oregon State’s Amarveer Dhesi in the second period to secure his spot in the third-place bout.
It was more of the same for Hemida in his third-place match. Just 1:02 into the match he took Matt Stencel (Central Michigan) to the mat and secured the fall to lock up his spot on the podium. His two pins were his sixth and seventh of the season, which is tied for the most on the team. He now has 15 wins on the season, which is the most by any Maryland wrestler this season.
Hemida became Maryland’s highest placer since Jimmy Sheptock and Christian Boley both won their classes in the 2013 season. He became the 31st Terrapin in program history to place in the top eight of the Midlands Championships and made it 10-consecutive years that Maryland had a top-eight finisher.
“There were some solid takeaways from this weekend,” head coach Kerry McCoy said. “Youssif’s performance was a sign of great things to come, especially considering how he rebounded from his first loss of the season with two impressive wins. We also had some guys battle through adversity and put together winning records. We were able to improve on our team score from last season which is always a step in the right direction. Now we get to turn our focus on the remainder of our dual schedule, which starts with another solid opponent in Ohio State.”
Ryan Diehl and Brendan Burnham completed their Midlands Championships in Saturday’s opening session, both falling in their third consolation matches of the weekend.
Diehl’s loss came by way of fall, which was his first loss by pin this season. He finished the tournament with a 3-2 record, and also picked up the third-fastest pin of the event when he stuck Lenny Petersen of Air Force just 32 seconds into their match.
Burnham dropped his match with May Bethea of Penn by major decision. He also tallied three wins on the weekend, including back-to-back victories in Friday’s night session.
Maryland finished in 13th place at the Midlands Championships, four spots higher than 2016’s 17th place finish.
The Terps will be back in action on Friday, Jan. 5 when they take on Ohio State in the XFINITY Center Pavilion. The match will begin at 7 p.m. and will be streamed on BTN2Go.com.