COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- The Maryland wrestling team (4-9, 0-7 B1G) will conclude its conference road schedule this weekend when the Terps take on No. 14 Illinois (4-3, 3-2 B1G) on Sunday. The match will be streamed live on BTN2GO and live updates will also be provided on Twitter.
LAST TIME OUT
Maryland took on No. 1 Penn State in its last outing, falling to the Nittany Lions, 47-3. Brandon Cray picked up his fourth-consecutive dual win in the bout and became the first Maryland wrestler to earn a conference win at 125 pounds since the Terrapins joined the Big Ten.
SCOUTING THE ILLINI
Illinois will be the eighth ranked dual opponent Maryland will face this season. The Illini enter the dual winners of three of their last four matches, with the lone loss coming to Minnesota.
Head coach Jeff Heffernan will roll out a lineup that features three ranked wrestlers: Travis Piotrowski (125), Isaiah Martinez (165) and Emery Parker (184). Leading the pack will be Martinez, a two-time NCAA Champion and three-time All-American.
Martinez also holds the Illinois record for highest career winning percentage and has won the Midlands Championships title twice in his career.. The redshirt junior picked up his 100th career win earlier this season and has won via technical fall in five-of-seven dual bouts this year.
THE HEMIDA EFFECT
Junior heavyweight Youssif Hemida is in the midst of the most successful season of his career. He leads the Terps with 11 dual wins and has posted an impressive 20-2 record this season. Both of his losses came to opponents ranked in the InterMat Wrestle top-10.
Hemida’s season has included five wins over ranked opponents, including a win over No. 9 Billy Miller en route to a third place finish at the 55th Midlands Championships in December. His 20 wins this season is good for second-most on the roster.
SETTING THE TABLE
Brandon Cray has been an integral part of Maryland’s four wins this season. The redshirt freshman has posted a 4-0 record in Maryland’s four wins and has provided the Terps with a lead in each of their dual wins this season.
Cray also picked up his first-career Big Ten win and Maryland’s first-ever conference win at 125 pounds when he defeated Penn State’s Devin Schnupp with a 4-2 decision.
BIG BABY J
Alfred “Baby J” Bannister has had a big redshirt junior season for the Terrapins. The Maryland-native has a team-high eight wins by fall this season, good for fifth-most in the country.
Bannister has also won two open tournament championships, picking up titles at the Mat Town Open and the Wilkes Open. He also had a runner-up finish at the Princeton Open to begin the season.
WRESTLERS OF THE WEEK
Hemida became the first-ever Maryland wrestler to earn the award after his upset win over No. 12 Nathan Butler of Stanford, followed by his Road Runner Open title.
Gerish earned the honor after winning the 165-pound bracket at Cleveland State Open. The New Jersey-native posted a 5-0 record with four wins coming by way of fall.
THE CENTURY MARK
Maryland head coach Kerry McCoy currently has 99 career victories as the head man of the Terrapins. McCoy needs one more win to become the third-ever Maryland wrestling coach to reach the century mark.
Maryland will wrap up Big Ten play when it hosts Minnesota at the XFINITY Center on Sunday, Feb. 11. The match will begin at 2 p.m. and will be streamed live on BTN2GO.