COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The Maryland wrestling team (5-12, 0-9 B1G) will head to East Lansing, Michigan, for the 2018 Big Ten Championships, hosted by Michigan State.
The Terps will take part in the two-day event, with 80 total spots in the 2018 NCAA Championships on the line for the participating wrestlers.
Wrestling will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Mar. 3, and conclude with the final session of the weekend at 3 p.m. on Mar. 4.
The tournament will be streamed on BTN2Go.com. Live stats and results will be available throughout the tournament via Trackwrestling.com. Fans can also follow @TerpsWrestling on Twitter for updates on the Terrapins competing in the event.
Four Terrapins received pre-seeds ahead of the Big Ten Championships.
Youssif Hemida led the way, earning the fifth seed in the heavyweight rankings. Alfred “Baby J” Bannister also earned a top-10 ranking, coming into the weekend ranked seventh in the 149-pound bracket.
Seven Maryland wrestlers have qualified for the NCAA Championships since Maryland joined the Big Ten. The list is headlined by Geoffrey Alexander, who qualified twice in his career.
In Maryland’s inaugural season in the B1G, Alexander, Lou Mascola and Spencer Meyers all qualified. Alexander was able to earn a spot in the championships the following year as well.
Three Terps will be making their Big Ten Championship debuts this weekend.
Maryland’s Big Ten Championships lineup features six wrestlers who participated in previous B1G championships.
Along with 2017 NCAA Championship-qualifiers Alfred Bannister, Ryan Diehl and Youssif Hemida, Brendan Burnham, Josh Ugalde, and David-Brian Whisler all have represented the Terrapins at the event in their collegiate careers.
LAST TIME OUT
The Maryland wrestling team closed out its 2017-18 dual season with a split doubleheader against No. 21 Rider and Ohio.
The Terps fell to Rider, 23-18, before upending the Bobcats, 33-14. Maryland’s loss to Rider was its third-consecutive outing where it lost to a raked foe by just seven points or fewer.
Maryland posted five pins in the doubleheader, including four in the win over Ohio. In their final matches in the XFINITY Center, Justin Alexander and Patrick Gerish both posted pins in the dual against Ohio.
Alfred Bannister also collected his ninth pin of the season, stricking Ohio’s Kade Kowalski in the first period of his match at 149 pounds.
GOING BACK TO BACK
Maryland has produced two dynamic duos in its lineup this season that have been successful in putting together consecutive victories in dual matches.
BATTLE TESTED TERRAPINS
Maryland comes into the postseason having wrestled 10 ranked foes during the 2017-18 dual meet schedule.
The Terrapins battled No. 21 Rider, No. 23 Navy and Campbell (RV) during its non-conference slate.
All of Maryland’s B1G opponents this season were ranked when the two teams took the mat. The schedule included three-consecutive home duals against No. 7 Iowa, No. 2 Ohio State and No. 1 Penn State.
MCCOY REACHES THE CENTURY MARK
In Maryland’s 33-14 win over Ohio, head coach Kerry McCoy earned his 100th career victory as the head coach of the Terrapins.
McCoy became just the third coach in program history to reach the century mark, joining John McHugh and Sully Krouse.
He now has 127 dual victories in his coaching career.
Youssif Hemida anchored the Maryland dual lineup for the entirety of the 2017-18 season, picking up 15 dual victories and just one dual loss. He also tallied a team-best eight Big Ten dual wins this season.
Hemida’s 24 wins this season were good for second-most on the team, only trailing Idris White who earned 28 wins on the year.
The Mamaroneck, New York, native suffered just two losses in the entire season: one against No. 4 Tanner Hall (Arizona State) at the Midlands Championships, and the other to No. 8 Nick Nevills of Penn State.
Hemida placed third at the 55th Annual Ken Kraft Midlands Championships earlier this season as well. He has been ranked as high as sixth in the InterMat rankings.
BIG BABY J
Alfred “Baby J” Bannister has had a big redshirt junior season for the Terrapins. The Maryland-native has a team-high nine wins by vall this season, good for most on the Terrapin roster.
Bannister has racked up seven dual wins on the year, and has won seven of his last eight dual matches, with the lone loss coming to No. 1 Zain Retherford of Penn State.
Bannister has 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 and picked up his first conference victory of the season at Illinois.
THE REAL DIEHL
Ryan Diehl has come on strong for Maryland in the latter part of its 2017-18 campaign. The 2017 NCAA Championships qualifier enters the postseason a winner of three of his final four matches, including two wins by pinfall.
Diehl pinned Illinois’ Dylan Thurston (1/28) before sticking returning All-American and 14th-ranked Tommy Thorn of Minnesota in Maryland’s B1G finale.
The West Virginia native also has three Big Ten wins and eight dual wins on the season.
WRESTLERS OF THE WEEK
Hemida became the first-ever Maryland wrestler to earn the honor after his upset win over No. 12 Nathan Butler of Stanford, which was 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 fall.