We hosted our first home dual on Saturday night. We lost 27-15 to American University. It is never fun to lose especially at home. Nevertheless, I think we showed progress and hopefully gave fans a reason to want to watch us compete in the future.
We had a few guys who struggled to adapt in their matches. As a wrestler, you sometimes need to adjust during the match. If something is not working, try something different. If you get scored on by a certain attack, find a way to stop it the next time the guy attempts it on you. We need to get better technically, work on mat strategy and work on making adjustments as the match progresses.
We won 4 of 10 individual matches. We did some good things in the matches we lost, but I thought I would highlight the matches we won.
Isenhour won 16-0. He did a great job of scoring points. I liked how he attacked and did not let up on the throttle until the referee blew the whistle to end the match. He was thinking the right thing…score, score, score. He also went back to the same turn multiple times. If your opponent can’t stop something, go back to it.
Knepp showed unbelievable heart. He hurt his shoulder early in the bout. I believe everyone in the arena, except him, thought the match was over. When his injury time was up, I asked him what he wanted to do. He said “I’m wrestling.” Wrestle he did. Basically with one arm he battled another 6 minutes to get the match tied 8-8 to send it into overtime. He got the winning takedown in overtime. He gave great effort and found a way to win.
McLaughlin was dominating from start to finish. He was on the attack. He was aggressive. In the end, he secured a bonus point by getting a late takedown to secure the major decision for the team. Frankie showed great leadership.
Tovuujav beat a nationally ranked wrestler. He did a great job of staying relaxed and staying in good position. Another thing that impressed me is how he took advantage of scoring opportunities. When he was able to get his opponents leg, he finished. Against a good guy, you may not get many opportunities. Thus, when you get one, you need to capitalize.
Some great things happened off the mat as well. We were able to honor alums and former coaches at half-time. We officially started a wrestling booster club before the meet at a pre-match social hosted by the Patriot Club. We were honored to have members of our Cheer and Dance team to get the crowd more involved.
I heard one wrestler say it was the biggest home crowd he could remember. I could see the energy the crowd gave Ty Knepp as he fought for the winning takedown. The team loved the support. We must continue to make it grow.
I am also happy to report our ticket office manager told me we have sold over 100 season tickets. Surprisingly, he also told me we are now the team with the second highest season ticket sales at George Mason. We have a long ways to go to catch the Men’s Basketball teams’ season ticket sales (several thousand), but rest assured we will try. It is still a bargain and not too late to buy a season ticket.