Ahead of Maryland wrestling's home debut on Sunday, head coach Kerry McCoy previews each weight class.
Starter: Brandon Cray
Outlook: Cray had a standout freshman year, finishing 26-7 in open tournament competitions. The New Jersey native’s 26 wins led the team, and he closed out the season strong with a 10-match winning streak. Cray won two tournaments in 2016-17 and placed in six.
McCoy on 125: Brandon has done a great job for us in the offseason and transition in to the regular season. He has a ton of potential and we expect big things from him this year.
Starter: Michael Doetsch
Outlook: After missing most of his freshman season, Doetsch posted two wins to close out the year. He put together a respectable showing in his dual debut, falling 11-5 to #10 Scott DelVecchio. Redshirt senior Jhared Simmons will also be in the mix after starting in ten duals and picking up seven wins last season. Alex Vargas will also compete for Maryland at 133 pounds after winning 13 matches at 125 pounds in 2016-17. Danny Bertoni comes to Maryland as a four-time Maryland State Champion out of Middletown High School and the first-ever four-time state champion from Frederick County.
McCoy on 133: "Michael Doetsch was one of the top kids out of Maryland high school wrestling two years ago. He battled injuries for most of his senior year in HS and his freshman year here. Now that he's almost fully healthy, he can finally show what he is capable of. Jhared Simmons has been around for four years and has competed a lot. He has a variety of tools and can be pretty dangerous when he lets loose. Danny Bertoni won four wrestling state titles in HS and also won a couple of state titles in soccer. He is a great athlete and a great person. I am excited for his future as a Terp. Alex Vargas has moved up from 125 where he had a few signature wins last season. He will redshirt this season and adjust to the new weight class."
Starter: Ryan Diehl
Outlook: After a strong finish to the 2016-17 season, Diehl will be one of the leaders for the Terps this season. The 2017 Big Ten Placer (5th) and NCAA Qualifier got his 2017-18 season off on the right foot after picking up a win in his season debut against Rutgers. Redshirt freshman Peter Tedesco will hit the mat after missing the entire 2016-17 season with an injury and fellow classmate Mike DeClario will be back after picking up two wins last season, including one by way of a pin. Maryland will feature a handful of true freshmen in the weight class, with Braeden Alevizatos, Hunter Baxter and Quinn Devaney all wrestling at 141.
McCoy on 141: "Ryan Diehl showed what he was capable of last year and will continue to build off of that this season. He is starting to figure things out and when he is on, he is very tough to beat. Peter Tedesco spent most of his first year recovering from shoulder surgery. Peter has a very high wrestling IQ and now that he is healthy, we are expecting him to have a great season. Hunter Baxter is an awesome kid and is a good wrestler. He's a hard worker who is working to perfect his craft day in and day out. He's been great to work with. Quinn Devaney is recovering from injury and looking forward to getting back on the mats full time. He had a great HS career and I believe he will be even better here at Maryland. Breaden Alevizatos is focusing on getting healthy and getting used to the higher level of wrestling in college. Mike DeClario is getting better and working hard to make an impact this year."
Starter: Adam Whitesell
Outlook: Whitesell earned the third most matches on the team in 2016-17 with 23, including 11 ending with a pin. The Silver Spring native made seven dual meet starts and was the Shorty Hitchcock Open champion. Alfred Bannister is back after his solid 2016-17 campaign that included placing in the Big Ten Championships and participating in the NCAA Championships. Freshman Garrett Burnham joins the group after finishing his high school career as a three-time sectional champion. Fellow freshman James Spadafora rounds out the class. The four-year league finalist out of Dix Hills, N.Y., made his Terrapin debut at the Princeton Open.
McCoy on 149: Adam Whitesell is very explosive, has great technique and very fun to watch. He will provide some excitement this year when he steps on the mat. Alfred "Baby J" Bannister has the potential to be one of the top guys in the nation and will continue to be one of our top wrestlers. Freshmen Garrett Burnham and James Spadafora are getting better each day and will provide us with great depth in the weight class.8
Starter: Kyle Cochran
Outlook: Cochran, a highly-touted freshman from Paramus, N.J., assumes the starting spot in the class after an impressive high school career that included a 2016 New Jersey State championship and a 2017 New Jersey State runner-up finish. Redshirt senior Justin Alexander is also expected to see time this season after serving as the starter at 157 pounds during the second half of the 2016-17 season, which included a win over #20 John Van Brill of Rutgers. Jahi Jones will also compete at 157 this season. The redshirt sophomore won 16 matches in 2016-17 and was the runner-up in the Warriors Winter Open. Freshmen Chase DeMaille and Robert Doetsch will both wrestle at 157 as well. DeMaille comes to College Park as a two-time state placer and Doetsch joins the Terps as a 2016 Maryland State Champion.
McCoy on 157: "Senior captain Justin Alexander is ready for his final season. If he can stay healthy the sky is the limit.Kyle Cochran had a great HS career and has the ability to be very competitive at the collegiate level. Jahi Jones had a lot of wins last year and is one of the hardest workers on the team who's always looking to get better. Robert Doetsch and Matt Pente are both recovering from injuries but will be good additions to our roster when they return."
Starter: Brendan Burnham
Outlook: After serving a redshirt season in 2016-17, Burnham is in the starting spot after winning at Red-Black Wrestle-Offs against Patrick Gerish. Burnham will look to build on a freshman campaign in 2015-16 where he earned nine wins, including two in the Big Ten. Gerish will also compete at 165 for Maryland after being the primary starter in the weight class for the 2016-17 season. Idris White and Philip Spadafora will both be a factor at 165 pounds as well. Both wrestlers had successful opening weekends at the Princeton Open, finishing in fourth and third respectively. Freshman Shawn Mosca will also wrestle at 165 following a successful high school career that featured two All-American selections.
McCoy on 165: "Brendan Burnham is coming off a redshirt season where he was able to learn a lot about the level of competition he needs to reach in order to be successful. This season will be a great opportunity to for him to build off of the momentum he created in his first year at Maryland. Patrick Gerish competed in the Big 10 Tournament last year and gained valuable experience. This year he is ready to use that experience to take a step up to the next level. Idris White is back at his natural weight and should be able to have more success competing in this class. Phil Spadafora was successful in HS and showed us at the Princeton Open last week that he has the potential to be successful."
Starter: Josh Ugalde
Outlook: Ugalde earned an impressive win to open the season, knocking off No. 13 Jordan Pagano in Maryland’s season opener against Rutgers. Ugalde was victorious six times in 2016-17 and wrestled for the Terps at the 2017 Big Ten Championships. Spencer Woods will also compete at 174 after winning 16 matches in the weight class in 2016-17. Sam Rowell will look to build on a 2016-17 season that featured 10 wins and 14 dual starts. Freshman Kyle Jasenski will join Maryland after a high school career that included being a three-time New York state qualifier out of the Albany Academy.
McCoy on 174: Josh Ugalde is moving up a weight class and has put in a lot of hard work since last season ended. He is ready for a great year and got off to a good start with his win against Rutgers to start the season. Spencer Woods had a very busy spring and summer and has put himself in the position to be a major contributor this season. Shawn Mosca and Kyle Jasenski had successful high school careers, both placing in their state tournament and earning All-American honors. We're very excited about what they will bring to our program. Sam Rowell will miss most of the season due to injury."
Starter: Jaron Smith
Outlook: Smith will take over the starting duties after serving a redshirt sophomore season in 2016-17. The Columbia native was competitive in his first match of the season, falling 10-4 to No. 7 Nicholas Gravina of Rutgers.
McCoy on 184: "Jaron Smith returns from redshirting in the 2016-17 season and looks to be a factor on the national stage. He placed in multiple offseason tournaments and competed against some of the best in the country. That experience will be key in his growth and development this season. "
Starter: Niko Cappello
Outlook: Cappello moves into the starting spot at 197 after winning 12 matches at 174 pounds in his redshirt season last year. He picked up five pins in his first season as a Terrapin. Redshirt sophomore David-Brian Whisler will also be a factor for Maryland after a 2016-17 season that included 14 matches as the team’s starter. Nick McShea will also compete for Maryland at 197 after serving a redshirt season in 2016-17 where he won eight matches including three by way of fall.
McCoy on 197: "Niko Cappello redshirted his first season and put in a lot of work during the spring and summer. He has a lot of potential and I expect him to realize that potential this season and challenge the guys around him. DB Whisler went through a lot in his first competitive season, which I believe will make him stronger this year. He is one of the most talented guys on our team and he has shown some really good flashes in his career. Nick McShea is coming off a redshirt year and is ready to make an impact on the team. He really solidifies our upper weight group and we expect a really solid year from him."
Starter: Youssif Hemida
Outlook: Hemida will anchor a Maryland lineup for the third consecutive season. The 2017 Big Ten Placer and NCAA Qualifier picked up a 7-2 win in his season debut against Rutgers and was also chosen to participate in the NWCA All-Star Classic, where he won 3-2 against Garrett Ryan of Columbia.
McCoy on 285: "Youssif Hemida is our other team captain and is one of the best wrestlers we have. He is the complete package: a great student, a great athlete and great member of our Maryland community. He was a point away from earning All-American status last year and that pushes him every day. If he continues to work the way he has since the NCAA Championships, he will be on the podium in March."