Rutgers wrestles Maryland in last dual meet of season

On Friday, the Rutgers wrestling team will cap off its dual meet season with a trip to College Park, Maryland to take on Maryland.

The No. 18 Scarlet Knights (11-6, 4-4) have already locked up their 12th consecutive winning season under head coach Scott Goodale, but have a chance to capture their first winning season in the Big Ten since the 2016-17 season. 

The Terrapins (1-11, 0-8) have not been as successful. Their only dual meet win came against George Mason on Sunday. They won that match 26-12. 

Rutgers will be favored in 8 out of 10 matches and should cruise to victory. The match will be a good tune-up for the Knights before the ever-important Big Ten Tournament, which takes place in Minneapolis starting on March 9.

The only weights Rutgers won’t be favored at will be 125 pounds and heavyweight. At 125 pounds for Maryland, former New Jersey State Champion Brandon Cray has a 6-13 record. He, of course, will be matched up against sophomore 125-pounder Shane Metzler, who is 8-14 on the season. 

Metzler is 4-6 against common opponents of Cray, while Cray is 4-7. Since the two wrestlers have the same number of wins, it will be interesting to see how they match up.

At heavyweight, the Terrapins' Youssif Hemida comes in ranked No. 10 in the country with a 9-5 record. Although he will be considered the favorite on paper, junior heavyweight Christian Colucci has wrestled well recently and has a 14-10. He has wrestled ranked opponents tough all year. 

At every other weight, the Knights will be favored to win. Maryland’s only ranked wrestler is Youssif Hemida at heavyweight. Rutgers comes in with four ranked wrestlers, including sophomore 174-pounder Joseph Grello who was just recently ranked at No. 20 by TrackWrestle in the 174-pound weight class. 

The Knights' other ranked wrestlers are No. 1 graduate student 149-pounder Anthony Ashnault, No. 4 junior 133-pounder Nick Suriano and No. 16 graduate student 157-pounder John Van Brill.

Look for all of Rutgers' ranked wrestlers to score bonus points in this match, as well as the rest of the lineup, like junior 141-pounder Peter Lipari, who recently lost in overtime to No. 6 Kanen Storr of Michigan and has been putting together close matches against ranked opponents. 

This is a perfect match for the Knight' to finish their season strong and gain some momentum heading in to the Big Ten Tournament in Minneapolis. With a win, Rutgers would finish 5-4 in the Big Ten, an improvement over last year's 3-6 conference record. 

For updates on the Rutgers wrestling team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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