We had a short break for Christmas. We competed on December 20. The guys went home on December 21. We returned for practice on December 27. I was excited to see the guys come back to campus with their weight under control and ready to compete. It was a big step forward from where we were at last winter break. I did have a few guys pull themselves out of the post-Christmas competition, which was disappointing, but not uncommon when you have such a big group going to compete. I hope the guys that did not compete made the right decision. Sometimes it is hard to know for sure. Nevertheless, we must continue to move forward.
We trained in the morning and then headed to Lock Haven University on Friday, December 28 for the Brute Invitational the following day. It was about a 4.5 hour drive in the luxury bus. Our movie selections for this leg of the trip were a bit suspect, but I think the guys were entertained. I think some of them were entertained watching me cringe during some of the less social redeeming portions of the movies.
When we arrived at Lock Haven the guys worked out again. I enjoyed being in the Lock Haven facility. There is lots of tradition at this place. Many of America’s greats have trained and competed in the Lock Haven gym.
We had to adjust our morning routine for weigh ins and pre-tournament preparation due to snow. The guys handled the disruption to their schedule with ease. I liked their ability to adapt, improvise and overcome.
I was pleased with the overall effort the team displayed on Saturday, December 29. The tournament was a team event. We had guys score team points at 9 of the 10 weight classes, which is the best we have done since I took over the program. In team scored tournaments, you need as many guys scoring team points as possible. We had 4 guys place in the top 6 which is important because you receive placement points. We had 11 guys win at least one match, for a few of them it was their first wins of the year. I was happy for them. We also scored several bonus points due to pins, tech falls and major decisions. Bonus points often make the difference in team scored events. Mason Pin Club members better be prepared to dig a little deeper in their pockets, because our guys added to their pin total.
We arrived home at about 2am on December 30. I know we watched some movies, but I missed most of them due to dozing and day dreaming. We had practice scheduled for 1pm. The rest of the team returned to town as well. Our practice was a little different. We ate a meal together and studied film. It was good to have the guys back in town.
We spent New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day with two a day practices. I believe we celebrated the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013 in a great way. The guys got better.
Friday, January 4 we host the Mason Duals. Drexel and Northern Colorado will wrestle at 530pm. We will wrestle Northern Colorado at 7pm. It will be great to be at home. Originally, we had scheduled a tri-meet. We dropped our dual with Drexel, when we were invited to dual them at Madison Square Garden. Both programs felt being at the Madison Square Garden event was too important to miss. We decided not to dual twice in less than a month, because we already see each other a bunch (they were also at the Brute Invitational). It will be good for both of our programs to see Northern Colorado as well.
Some people have been wondering how we were able to get Northern Colorado to come all the way to Fairfax, VA for a dual. We did have to do some convincing, but I think the fact that our Head Assistant Coach and Northern Colorado’s Head Wrestling Coach being former teammates and roommates might have tipped the scale in our favor. It should be fun for fans to see a team we rarely match up against.