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  • Photo: Sam Janicki

    Photo: Sam Janicki

    Five Matches to Watch in Maryland's Tri

    Maryland's Dom Solis (photo courtesy of Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)

    This afternoon, the Maryland Terrapins will welcome a pair of regional rivals to the Xfinity Center as the Drexel and Duke will come to battle. Maryland comes into the day with an 0-2 dual record after suffering losses to Virginia and Pittsburgh. In each contest, the young Terps squad has shown fight and is steadily improving. With a similar effort today, head coach Alex Clemsen and his team could come away with a pair of wins. Below we've outlined five key bouts to watch for Maryland and their opponents from Drexel and Duke.

    Drexel at Maryland

    165 lbs - John Martin Best (Maryland) vs. Evan Barczak (Drexel)

    The Terps freshman 165 lber moved into the national rankings for two weeks after his win over superstar prospect Alex Facundo at the Clarion Open. He then lost a hard-fought, 3-1 bout to fellow West Virginia native, #15 Peyton Hall (West Virginia), in the tournament finals. Since then, Best has dropped his first two dual appearances. Even those were against quality competition, NCAA runner-up Jake Wentzel (Pittsburgh) and #20 Justin McCoy (Virginia).

    Best is expected to see 2021 fourth-place finisher Evan Barczak. Evan started the year winning his first five matches, a span that saw him capture a title at the East Stroudsburg Open. He experienced some tough sledding at the Keystone Classic and went 3-2. Last weekend, Barczak split his first two duals of the year. His 6-3 win was instrumental in the Dragons win over Little Rock. A day later, he fell to All-American Travis Wittlake by major decision.

    174 lbs - Dom Solis (Maryland) vs. Mickey O'Malley (Drexel)

    174 lber Dom Solis should have two of the most challenging opponents on the day for Maryland. In Maryland's first bout of the day, he'll stand across from Drexel's most consistent threat, #14 Michael O'Malley. A two-time national qualifier, O'Malley was an EIWA runner-up last season and became the team's first conference finalist since 2017. In St. Louis, O'Malley won a pair of NCAA matches before his elimination. This year he claimed titles at the East Stroudsburg Open and the Keystone Classic and won his first ten bouts. O'Malley has been able to pin six of his ten opponents.

    In the early going this year, Dom Solis has proven to be one of the Terps more reliable starters. He's 4-2 on the season and unbeaten in dual competition. In his most recent outing, Solis earned an 11-2 major decision over Pittsburgh's Hunter Kernan, who appeared in the national rankings, at the time. He is a local product that lives less than 10 miles away from College Park.

    184 lbs - Kyle Cochran (Maryland) vs. Bryan McLaughlin (Drexel)

    The standout for Maryland this season has been one of their most experienced grapplers, Kyle Cochran. Cochran is 6-1 on the year. In his most recent dual meet, Cochran downed Pittsburgh's James Lledo by the score of 4-0. Lledo is responsible for Cochran's only setback of the 2021-22 campaign at the Clarion Open. Cochran also has a win over Michael Battista (Virginia) at the team's first dual of the year. Battista has appeared in the national rankings at times this year. Cochran has posted a pair of winning seasons for the Terps and is seeking to qualify for the national tournament for the first time.

    Cochran has another solid test in the form of 2021 NCAA qualifier Bryan McLaughlin. In each of the last two years, McLaughlin has qualified for NCAA's at 197 lbs. In 2021, he did so after taking fourth at the EIWA Championships. At his new weight, McLaughlin has posted a 7-3 record and won the East Stroudsburg Open. McLaughlin made the semifinals of the Keystone Classic but forfeited down to sixth place after a loss.

    Duke at Maryland

    174 lbs - Dom Solis (Maryland) vs. Matt Finesilver (Duke)

    We mentioned that Dom Solis may have his hands full today and we're not lying. In his second match of the day, Solis will face #7 Matt Finesilver. The Blue Devil senior comes in sporting a perfect 10-0 record and has won titles at the Mountaineer Invitational and the Battle of the Citadel. So far this year, Finesilver has racked up three pins and a technical fall. Finesilver comes into this year as a two-time NCAA qualifier. In 2019, he was an ACC runner-up and earned the #12 seed at the NCAA Championships.

    285 lbs - Zach Schrader (Maryland) vs. Jonah Niesenbaum (Duke)

    Another member of the Maryland squad that has spent time in the national rankings is their big man Zach Schrader. Schrader is a graduate transfer that previously competed for Cal Baptist. Since the school is undergoing a transfer from DII to DI, he was not able to wrestle in the postseason. Schrader had placed twice at the National Collegiate Open (winning a title in 2019) in lieu of competing in a conference or national tournament. In his Maryland debut, Schrader brought home a title from the Clarion Open. In dual competition, he has lost both prior contests to quality opponents, which brought his season record to 5-2.

    Duke will counter with Jonah Niesenbaum, who is in the midst of a breakout season. After going 4-26 in his first two years in Durham, Niesenbaum is now 9-2 in 2021-22. His only two setbacks on the year have come to All-American #3 Cohlton Schultz (Arizona State) and a sudden victory loss to #26 Owen Trephan (NC State). Not only has Niesenbaum been winning, he's been doing so in impressive fashion. Four of his nine victories have come via fall.

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