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Tuesday, April 23
The Indiana Daily Student

sports wrestling

IU wrestling travels to Maryland for Sunday matchup

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Sunday could be the day for IU wrestling head coach Angel Escobedo and his team. The day Escobedo has been talking about after every match. The day his team has been working toward all season.

The Hoosiers will make their way to College Park, Maryland, on Sunday to take on the Terrapins. And it appears it will be their best shot to secure the elusive conference win that has continuously slipped their grasp.

Entering Friday, the Terrapins are right next to the Hoosiers at the bottom of the Big Ten standings as they too have been unable to earn a conference win. Maryland's three losses to league foes and a 2-9 overall record opens a favorable matchup for IU.

In its last two matches, Maryland was outscored by No. 17 Michigan and Michigan State by a combined score of 70-3. On Friday it takes on Purdue, the team that just defeated IU 23-9 Monday.

Only two Maryland wrestlers show up in the top 25 in their respective weight classes.

Senior Jahi Jones is ranked No. 24 at 157 pounds for the Terrapins. Jones is fifth on the team in wins with 10 and tied for third in major decisions with three.

In this week's newest FloWrestling rankings, Maryland sophomore Philip Spadafora moved into No. 25 at 174 pounds. Last week, that spot was filled by IU junior Jake Covaciu. But Covaciu dropped out of the top 25 after losing to No. 4 Dylan Lydy of Purdue on Monday.

Spadafora is tied for second on his team in both pins with four and total wins with 13.

IU redshirt freshman Graham Rooks seized a spot in the rankings at No. 22 after defeating two top-25 opponents . Rooks was named Big Ten Wrestler of the Week for the second time this year following his wins over No. 15 Griffin Parriott of Purdue and No. 17 Yahya Thomas of Northwester . 

Graham hasn’t been the only one in the family making a name for himself. His brother, freshman Cayden Rooks, who slid into the starting lineup at 133 pounds after sophomore Kyle Luigs was arrested, also won his last two matches.

“It’s a great thing to build a program off of,” Escobedo said of the duo. “We have a lot of other guys we can build a program off of too. But those two, being from only 45 minutes away and home-grown kids, they’ve put us on the map. It shows to Indiana kids that you can come here and be successful. They are proving it.”

Graham Rooks said he thinks his and his brother's success will help push their teammates.

“If they see guys on their team wrestling at high levels, they know I’m doing the same thing at practice,” Graham Rooks said. “I’m not doing anything different in practice than anyone else in the room. I think that it helps them believe in themselves and believe in the training, and commit to their offense.”

If IU can execute its training and commitment to its offense Sunday, they could finally return to Bloomington with a win.

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