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NCAA wrestling notebook: Ex-PSU standout McCoy ready to coach in Big Ten

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By Scott Brown
Thursday, March 21, 2013, 7:33 p.m.
 

Maryland won't win the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, but Terrapins coach Kerry McCoy may receive a consolation prize Saturday night. McCoy is one of Penn State's most decorated wrestlers, and the two-time national champion will pretty much have a front-row seat if the Nittany Lions win a third consecutive national championship. “It's a bittersweet thing because I want my team to be the national champs, but if you can't have your team do it, it might as well be your alma mater. I'm excited about what the program's done the last few years,” said McCoy, who won NCAA titles in 1994 and '97 and is a two-time Olympian. McCoy guided Maryland to three ACC titles from 2009-12, and the Terps sent five wrestlers to the NCAA tournament this year, including 133-pounder Geoffrey Alexander, a Shady Side Academy graduate. Building a top-notch program at a school that does not have much wrestling history only becomes a steeper climb for McCoy in 2014, when Maryland joins the Big Ten. “It will make my job that much harder,” he said Thursday, “but I've never been afraid of a challenge.”

• The tournament's first day proved to be about dealing with idle time off the mat as much as the competition on it. Pitt's Matt Wilps took a nap after weighing in at 9 a.m. Thursday and watched TV because he didn't have to be at Wells Fargo Arena until noon. When asked if he tuned into anything inspirational, the Keystone Oaks graduate said, “I watched ‘Scooby Doo.' They solved a mystery.” Getting his mind off wrestling was precisely the point, said Wilps, who had to wait six hours before wrestling again after beating Virginia Tech's Derrick Borlie, 4-1, in the first round. “It's just better to get away from (wrestling) and relax.”

• North Carolina sophomore Evan Henderson notched his 10th pin of the season in a somewhat unorthodox manner. The Kiski Prep graduate couldn't lock his hands for a cradle in his first-round, 141-pound bout with Pasquale Greco, but that didn't stop him from pinning the Northwestern sophomore with 11 seconds left in the second period. “My hands broke, so I'm sitting there squeezing my fists together,” said Henderson, the fifth seed. When asked the last time he pinned someone that way, Henderson grinned. “Middle school,” he said.

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