Terps Enter 2011-12 Season with High Expectations
Oct. 18, 2011
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Following the graduation of three-time All-American Hudson Taylor and two-time All-American Steven Bell in 2010, the 2010-11 season was seen as a rebuilding year to many observers outside of the program. For head coach Kerry McCoy, it was an opportunity to reload as the Maryland wrestling team finished 16-4, captured its third Atlantic Coast Conference championship in four years, earned its third consecutive top-20 finish at the NCAA Championships and in the process placed three wrestlers in the top eight of their respective weight classes to earn All-American status tying a school record.
In 2011-12, All-Americans Josh Asper and Spencer Myers return for the Terps along with NCAA-qualifiers Kyle John and Corey Peltier to form a solid core. With the addition of several highly-touted underclassmen, the Terps not only expect to repeat as conference champions, but to make their mark nationally.
"We expect to win the ACC regular season duals and then to win the ACC tournament," said McCoy. "I believe we are the best team in the conference and now we need to go out there and prove it every day. Expectation is to win the conference and be in a position to challenge for a national championship. I feel good that we can compete with anybody nationally."
Asper, the ACC Wrestler of the Year in 2011, enters the season ranked third by several wrestling publications. The Parkton, Md., native tallied 69 wins the past two seasons, and looks to be the favorite to defend his ACC championship at 165 pounds and compete for a national championship.
"He's right in position. There's no doubt that he can challenge for a title," said McCoy. "He's got to focus on getting better every day. He's got a few areas that we need to focus on to get him ready, but last year he only lost five matches, so that's a pretty good statement that he's right there."
Myers became the first true freshman in school history to earn All-American status in 2011 and is ranked as high as No. 3 to begin the season. Myers, the ACC co-Freshman of the Year, won the conference championship at 285 pounds and finished 30-13, but according to McCoy the competiveness of the weight class will drive Myers to be better.
"His goal isn't to be third in the country," said McCoy. "His goal is to be a national champ. Knowing that he's got two established wrestlers ranked ahead of him, and also a lot of good wrestlers behind him, he's going to be motivated to get better and better."
John, a two-time conference runner-up at 157 pounds, and Peltier, an ACC champion at 184 pounds, combine with Asper to form a formidable trio at the middle weights. John enters the season ranked as high as seventh nationally. Peltier will move from 184 and compete at 174 this season, a position in which McCoy feels he is more suited.
With the departure of two-time conference champion Jon Kohler, the 141-pound weight class is the most competitive position on the team. Sophomore Frank Goodwin, who moved up from 133 pounds last season, and redshirt sophomore Danny O'Malley are the front runners, but they will be pushed by freshman Lou Mascola and sophomore transfer Ian Squires.
"Frank was one of the best kids to come out of Maryland, and one of the best kids in the country coming out of high school," said McCoy. "Danny O'Malley really committed himself last spring to getting better. He wants to step up and be the starter. Lou Mascola was a high school All-American runner-up. Ian, who transferred from Boston, has that experience factor."
Maryland will begin its season Sunday, Oct. 30, with the Red and Black Wrestle-Offs. The intrasquad exhibition determines the starters at each weight class for the Terrapin Duals the following weekend.
Despite splitting time with Pat Strizki, sophomore Shane Gentry emerged as the starter and finished third at the ACC tournament last season. Sophomore Jenkins Monzey went 22-11 in 2010-11, and will look to overtake Gentry along with junior Brian Marcoux. Freshmen Paul O'Neill and Josh Polacek will also challenge for time.
Senior Joe Boone assumes the starting role with the graduation of Lou Ruland, but will face competition for the spot. Sophomore Kenneth Collado and two freshmen, Geoffrey Alexander and Shane Arechiga, will compete for the position.
Sophomore Frank Goodwin and redshirt sophomore Danny O'Malley are the frontrunners to earn the starting nod. Goodwin went 11-3 at 141 and ended the season on a seven-match winning streak. Goodwin and O'Malley will receive strong competition from freshman Lou Mascola, redshirt sophomore Ian Squires a transfer from Boston, and junior Brad Molina.
Sophomore Ben Dorsay finished 23-15 in 2010-11 and looks to the preseason favorite at 149. Redshirt sophomore Danny Orem will push Dorsay for the spot along with a trio of freshmen, TJ Guidice, Brady Massaro and Sean O'Malley.
Senior Kyle John returns as the starter at 157 after qualifying for the NCAA Championships, finishing runner-up at the ACC Championships and winning 31 matches in 2010-11. John enters the season ranked as high as seventh in the country. The senior will be challenged by redshirt sophomores Eric Beverly and Domenic DeRobertis and freshman Kyle Dehaut.
Junior Josh Asper won a team-high 35 matches last season and claimed All-American honors as well as the ACC title. Ranked third by several wrestling publications, Asper should challenge for a national championship. Asper will be pushed by juniors Shawn Mazzarone and Aaron Norris, and freshmen TJ Duncan and Nick Lobue.
Senior Corey Peltier moves down a weight class after winning the ACC championship at 184 pounds. Redshirt sophomore Jimmy Sheptock wrestled at 165 and 174 last season, and will challenge for time. Senior Owen Smith and freshman Josh Snook will also compete at the weight class.
With Peltier moving down to 174, redshirt sophomores Ty Snook and Alex Pagnotta will battle for the starting spot. Snook went 14-6 last season while Pagnotta finished 20-15 wrestling mostly at 174. Sophomore Rob Fitzgerald will compete for time along with sophomore Tony Gardner, and freshmen Mike Dailey and Conor Wetzel.
Redshirt sophomores Christian Boley and Dallas Brown split time at 197 last season, and both will compete for the starting spot again this year. Boley went 20-12 and finished third at the ACC tournament, while Brown compiled a record of 6-8.
All-American sophomore Spencer Myers returns after going 30-13 and winning the ACC championship. Myers enters the season ranked as high as No. 3 nationally. The Selinsgrove, Pa., native will face competition from junior Ryan Gray and freshman Frank Schaafsma.