BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Redshirt sophomores Ryan Diehl (141) and Alfred Bannister (149), in addition to redshirt senior Billy Rappo (133) and sophomore Youssif Hemida (285) all advanced to day two of the Big Ten Championships after their performances Friday at Assembly Hall. Diehl earned one of the nine automatic qualifier bids allocated to the Big Ten for the 141-pound weight class after posting two upset victories in the consolation ladder. Bannister advanced to the semifinals, and will wrestle in tomorrow’s consolation semis with a guaranteed AQ bid at 149. Rappo will battle for ninth place and the Big Ten’s final AQ bid at 133 and Hemida will wrestle for seventh.
Ryan Diehl had a standout day for the Terps, posting two marque victories to advance to Sunday’s competition. Diehl, who entered the tournament as the No. 13 seed, upset both the No. 6 and No. 2 seeds in wrestle backs to punch his ticket to St. Louis.
After dropping his opening match to fourth-seeded Colton Crystal (Nebraska) and receiving a forfeit, Diehl started off the evening session with a win over 13th-ranked Christopher Carton (Iowa) in a back-and-forth 11-9 affair. After a scoreless opening period, Carton got out ahead on a reversal in the beginning of the second period. Diehl kept his composure, and hit his own reversal on the No. 6 seed while racking up back points for a four-point swing.
Diehl would tack on two more crucial near fall points to make it 8-2, before Carton reversed him to cut Diehl’s lead to 8-4 at the end of the period. The Berkeley Springs, W.V. native had to weather the storm in the third period as Carton managed two more takedowns, but held off a late flurry to clinch the 11-9 upset victory.
Diehl rode that momentum into a stunning first period pin over 10th-ranked Jimmy Gulibon of Penn State. Diehl was hitting his spots early, then caught Gulibon on a counter shot and put him on his back for the 46-second fall. Diehl is now guaranteed to place, and will wrestle in the consi semis Sunday morning.
Bannister grinded out another close win over Ken Theobold (Rutgers) in his quarterfinal match after receiving an opening round bye as the No. 4 seed. Neither wrestler could get much offense generated in the first, before Theobold struck first with an escape in the second period. A penalty point assessed to the Scarlet Knight on an eye poke proved critical, tying the match at one. Bannister was in on a headlock towards the end of the period, but a stalemate was called before the La Plata, Md. native could finish off the takedown.
Baby J then got out for the winning point in the third, and held off Theobold’s shots to secure the 2-1 decision. It was the 13th match of the year won by either one or two points for Bannister. Bannister would fall in the Championship semifinal to Penn State’s Zain Retherford, surrendering the first bonus point defeat of his career. Bannister has locked up a top-six place, and one of the Big Ten’s six automatic qualifier bids.
Redshirt senior Billy Rappo scored 12 unanswered points to win his opening round bout vs. Jason Ipsarides (Northwestern), pulling off a 12-3 major decision to advance to the quarterfinals. There he met fifth-ranked Cory Clark (Iowa) and hung tough nearly connecting on a reversal in the third period. Clark held him off, winning a 5-0 decision. Rappo would drop his next bout to Austin Eicher (Michigan State), but stayed alive for the ninth place match with another major over Ipsarides.
Sophomore Youssif Hemida earned his second win this year over Jacob Cooper (Michigan State) knocking off the Spartan by decision 6-0 in his opening match. The Mamaroneck, N.Y. native posted two takedowns in the victory, and tacked on a ride time point and escape for the shutout win.
Hemida then went up against second-ranked and undefeated Connor Medbery (Wisconsin), managed a reversal and takedown on the Badger grappler in the first period. An escape from Medbery would tie the match at four, and the All-American closed it out to take a 7-4 decision. Hemida rebounded with a 6-2 winH over Steven Holloway (Iowa), but was bounced by Collin Jensen of Nebraska 9-0.
Justin Alexander (157) opened up his tournament with a hard fought match against ninth-ranked Jake Short (Minnesota), as he was neck-and-neck with the Gopher 157-pounder throughout the match. Alexander scrambled out of several takedowns in the first two periods, but Short ultimately won it 3-1 in the closing seconds on a takedown.
Alexander rallied in the first round of consolation, avenging his loss to Austin Thompson (Michigan State) earlier this season with a 6-3 decision. The Pittsburgh, Pa. native scored a first period takedown and remained in control from there to advance out of session one. Alexander would drop his next two bouts to end the night for the Terps.
Maryland currently stands in 11th place in the team standings with 26 points, the most ever for Maryland at the Big Ten Tournament. The Terrapins will return to competition tomorrow when action resumes at Assembly Hall for session III starting at 12 pm.