Despite losing two of its three duals last weekend, the Maryland wrestling team had a few bright moments, including two wins over ranked individuals. One was a commanding decision, while the other was not.
"The guy here to my left, he likes to make it exciting," coach Kerry McCoy said Sunday with a laugh.
McCoy was referring to was 149-pounder Alfred Bannister. The La Plata native is undefeated and ranked 12th in the nation but has a habit of winning matches late.
Against North Dakota State on Friday and Rutgers on Sunday, Bannister earned the winning points in his matches in the third period. He won his match against George Mason in overtime.
In his seven duals, Bannister's largest margin of victory is two points.
"By any means necessary, I've got to win," Bannister said Friday. A lot of guys come out with a game plan to wrestle me and try and keep it close."
Bannister attributed his late success to fitness. He said most of his opponents try to tire him out over the course of the match. But he's worked on his conditioning, something 197-pounder David-Brian Whisler has noticed.
After the Terps faced Rutgers, Whisler said he learns a lot from watching Bannister wrestle. The main point Whisler takes away is "don't stop wrestling."
"You see in a lot of his matches, you can tell he's really tired by the end," Whisler said. "But he finds a way, digs deep and gets the takedown to win the match."
McCoy said Friday "of course" he would prefer Bannister get his results in regulation rather than giving the opponent a chance in overtime. He said it is "a little frustrating" to see the matches decided late, but the veteran coach still has faith in the redshirt sophomore.
"We have a ton of confidence in him," McCoy said. "He's one of our leaders and he's one of our more successful guys. We expect him to go out there and perform at a high level.
"If he can wrestle some of the top guys in the country, keep it close and score and win in overtime, we'll take it."
Though it didn't go to overtime, Bannister did face one of the top guys in the country Sunday in Rutgers' Ken Thobold, ranked 15th in the country. Bannister's takedown in the third period propelled him to a 3-2 decision.
"It happens to happen in the third period and overtime a lot," Bannister said with a smile after the match. "But I just wasn't going to lose the match."
Even with the tight finishes, Bannister remains confident.
"I know if I go to overtime, I'm not going to lose," he said Friday. "I love overtime!"