We hosted the Patriot Duals on Saturday. We finished with a 1-2 team record. I was hoping for better team results, but nevertheless we did see some good performances. Bagna Tovuujav was dominating. He had 2 pins and a major decision. He wrestles fearlessly. No doubt he is fun to watch. He is good technically and will take risks. I like his demeanor when he competes. Jaaziah Bethea finished 3-0. He looked more focused and consistent all 7 minutes of each bout. Vince Rodriguez was back in the lineup for the first time since December 10. He also finished 3-0. Vince did a great job preparing for the competition and served as a great spark plug to get us a win to start each dual. Our team captain Denny Herndon also had a good day. He was 2-0 and was winning his last bout before he was forced to default the match due to a medical decision. I liked his offense. I hope he continues to push the pace in his matches.
Due to injuries we had some guys wrestle in their first dual meets of the season. Even though they lost their individual bouts, I enjoyed seeing them compete. I liked their effort. I was also pleased to see them attempt things we have been working on in the room. I felt they showed how a guy can develop in the room. They were positive examples to the starters and to the program. Proper preparation improves performance. For example, we have spent many hours working on leg ride defense with little positive results in competition. It is a glaring weakness of this team. We had guys with limited college experience getting out of leg rides on Saturday. I liked seeing techniques learned this fall, performed in competition this winter. I can’t wait for the day when teams refuse to leg ride a guy from Mason, because they are too dangerous on bottom.
We still need guys to wrestle as hard as they can for all 7 minutes. If we can be more consistent in our effort and attitude, we will have better results. I felt we lost several bouts because guys would let down physically or mentally. I have said it before and will say many more times – mini breaks cause defeat in college wrestling. We had guys lose their fight; lose their hustle for brief time periods. As a result, we lost matches. A little more hustle, a little more fight, we win matches and thus finish 3-0 in duals.
Wrestling is a tough sport physically and mentally. Often time people look only to the raw physical skills, technique, power, endurance. I love watching the mental part of the sport – the battle of wills. Who will back down first? Who will concede out of fear of failure, fear of fatigue? Who is willing to take a risk? What is the strategy used to win a situation? The sport can resemble a chess match at times. The sport can also look like an old fashioned gladiator battle. The sport is fascinating.
This Saturday we will compete in the field house starting at 10am. All of the wrestling teams in the CAA will be here to compete in dual meets. We will wrestle 4 of them – Boston, Hofstra, Old Dominion, and Rider. Since we already compete against Drexel and Binghamton this season, we will not wrestle them on Saturday. We won’t be favored in any of our duals, so we will need to bring our “A” game.
Along with hosting the CAA duals we will have several kids wrestling teams competing in dual meets. We will have 8 mats on the field house floor with non-stop wrestling for much of the day on Saturday. It should be a fun day.