After Maryland wrestling's first victory of the season on Sunday against Columbia, the Maryland wrestling team won't grapple again until it travels to George Mason for matches Dec. 9.
Coach Kerry McCoy scheduled this break for several reasons, though there won't be a lack of training during the time off.
"Oh, there's competition!" McCoy said with a smirk. "Just no outside competition."
The Terps have competed every weekend since the Red vs. Black Wrestle-Offs on Oct. 30, either in open tournaments or dual matches. McCoy views the weekend off as an opportunity to ratchet up training while giving his grapplers a chance to recover from the first month of the season.
"I plan out the whole year beforehand, so it's all part of the plan," McCoy said. "Knowing that the guys don't have to compete this weekend gives us more flexibility with our training. We can go a little harder, push the guys a little more and let them recover over the weekend instead of having to make weight and be ready to compete."
Redshirt sophomore Alfred Bannister, who is 4-0 in dual meets and 9-0 overall at 149 pounds, called the hiatus a "breath of fresh air." It allows the wrestlers to reflect on their results, Bannister said, and fix any issues that have arose along the way.
"This week we're looking to fix all the problems we had in the past matches, and really fix our technique and positions," Bannister said. "We're going to recover our bodies well, that way next week we can hit it hard in training and get ready for the next competition."
Redshirt freshman David-Brian Whisler has also started the season strong, winning two of his first four career dual matches. Still, the Warren, Ohio, native emphasized how important the weekend off will be to heal injuries that have plagued the Terps early in the year.
Junior 125-pounder Michael Beck missed time at the beginning of the campaign with a hamstring injury, while 184-pounder Jaron Smith missed both matches at the Cavalier Duals on Nov. 20 and the Grapple at the Garden on Sunday. Redshirt junior and nationally ranked 133-pounder Tyler Goodwin missed that event, too, both with unspecified ailments.
"A lot of the guys on the team right now are kind of banged up, and we've been getting treatment done," Whisler said. "Having this week off is good, because we've gone really hard in the first part of this season. Staying healthy is the biggest battle in wrestling. I don't know what coach has in store for practice this week, but I know he has a system to keep us healthy."
Coming off their first victory, McCoy acknowledged the possibility of the lull in competition hurting the Terps' momentum. Still, the veteran coach doesn't believe that will be a factor as his team prepares for North Dakota State and George Mason on Dec. 9.
"We have more days to review and more days to prepare," McCoy said. "We can use this whole week to review the things we've gone over the past couple weeks, then next week use the whole week to scout for the coming weekend.
"It's actually a really good thing that we have that time to take advantage of."