Shyheim Brown raised his right arm in victory before slapping hands with Maryland wrestling coach Kerry McCoy as he walked off the mat inside Xfinity Center.

McCoy and the Terps were disappointed with Thursday's outcome, a 38-3 loss to No. 4 Penn State in Maryland's inaugural home match as a member of the Big Ten Conference. But this was another important step in their process.


There were good individual moments, such as Brown's win over Penn State junior Michael Waters at 141 pounds. More important, though, was the level of competition the Terps (4-5, 0-3 Big Ten) saw they will need to reach as they transition from being an Atlantic Coast Conference power to merely competitive in the Big Ten, far and away the sport's premier conference.

Guided by former Olympic gold medalist Cael Sanderson, Penn State (4-0, 1-0) has won four straight conference and national championships.

"It was a great crowd," McCoy said of the announced 2,779. "There was a lot of energy, a lot of excitement. It's just great for the sport of wrestling, great for Maryland wrestling, great for the state of Maryland, great for the university. It means that we've got a lot of people in this area, a lot of people at this university that care about wrestling and do a good job showcasing it, and we're just going to get bigger and better. It's the start to a long line of really good things for our program."

The crowd Thursday comprised mostly Penn State supporters. Large swaths of fans clad in blue shirts were spread throughout the crowd, roaring in approval whenever a Nittany Lions wrestler had a takedown, good move or secured a victory.

That is the type of support system Maryland is trying to build behind McCoy, a two-time Olympian who was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Okla., this summer and was honored before the match Thursday.

A former NCAA champion at Penn State, McCoy led Maryland to three ACC titles after taking over as coach in 2008.

Before winning an ACC championship in 2008 under McCoy's predecessor, Pat Santoro, Maryland had not won a league title since 1973.

"I think this is a big step [for Maryland], just being in the Big Ten now," said Sanderson, a former teammate of McCoy's at both the world championship and Olympic levels. "Once you're in the fire, then you can start to figure out what it takes and where you've got to go. But Maryland's going to be very competitive.

"They lost some big seniors last year. … I think they're going to fit in real well in the Big Ten, and I think they'll be very competitive with some time."

Brown had the lone win for Maryland on Thursday, an early decision that cut Penn State's lead to 7-3. The Nittany Lions won the final seven matches.

Maryland junior Geoffrey Alexander (133) had a 2-0 lead before falling in a decision, 9-2. Terps junior Lou Mascola (157) also battled Penn State's Cody Law before losing in a decision, 3-2.

"When you look at it, a couple matches got a little bit out of control. … But it wasn't like they came and took us down 50 times in every match," McCoy said. "They scored some back points early. They won some scrambles. They got some scores off the bottom. The second half got a little bit more out of control with the takedowns. But it was pretty close [early]."

Maryland's next big challenge will be at home Jan. 11 against No. 12 Lehigh, which Santoro coaches. The Terps hope to have former All-America heavyweight Spencer Myers back in time for that match.

Myers, a defensive end on the Maryland football team, is unable to participate in wrestling matches during football season.


Before facing Lehigh, Maryland has three dual matches against middle-tier programs Duke, Hofstra and Harvard and one dual match against a competitive Navy squad. The Terps also will participate in three tournaments.

"We've got to go out and focus on the areas that we need to focus on. If they do, we're going to be real successful," McCoy said. "And that's my job as a coach, is to get them to where they need to do those things."

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