VMI, Bucknell and F & M

We had an interesting week. We competed 3 times this week, all on the road. The three schools we went to were places I had never been. I enjoyed seeing the different campuses and their facilities. We did not have many training days this week due to the competitions, making weight and travel. Fortunately we are home this week and only compete one time. Thus, we should be able to get in some good training days.

We wrestled at VMI on Wednesday. When we arrived, we saw students dressed in their uniforms. We saw older students admonishing freshman while the freshman performed calisthenics. One of the guy’s initial responses was, “I am glad I chose to attend Mason.” I thoroughly enjoyed VMI.

We competed in a small gym they call the thunder dome. The students from VMI came out in force and were very vocal. It was a great atmosphere. I think some of the guys struggled in the environment, while others enjoyed it. I can’t wait to go back to VMI. The VMI students made the competition electric.

We feel behind 9-0, but were able to come back for the team win. We did not wrestle great at some weight classes, but I was pleased to see some of the guys gut out some wins. Thuc put together a great video from our trip to VMI. You can find it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvq7T4rEJ_I

On Saturday morning, we wrestled at Bucknell. It was tough to watch the team compete. We did not wrestle with emotion. We did not have a sense of urgency. It almost looked like some of the guys were going through the motions. It was like an uninspired practice. We lost the dual 21-12. Fortunately, Sahid Kargbo, Greg Flournoy and Jaaziah Bethea finished the dual for us with individual wins.

I knew going into the dual we needed to get more emotion. I spoke to the guys before the dual about getting themselves ready to go. I knew coming off the win on Wednesday, in front of a vocal crowd, it would be hard to get back up for the dual in front of a smaller more reserved crowd at Bucknell. I think my fears were well founded. It is hard to get emotional every time you go out to compete. Nevertheless, you have to find a way to get yourself in the right mindset to compete. You cannot win consistently at the Division 1 level without wrestling with strong resolve.

Typically, I am not a guy who likes to speak to the team in a negative manner. On the other hand, after the dual I felt some things needed to be discussed. I believe elite athletes know when a coach is telling them the truth and when a coach is not. I could not tell them they performed in an acceptable manner in the dual with Bucknell. I was embarrassed by the lack of effort and discouraged attitudes some of the guys had displayed during their matches. Thankfully, the athletes were embarrassed as well.

I was pleased to see the guys wrestle with more resolve on Saturday night at Franklin and Marshall. Again, we did not have a great performance, but we were able to win some close matches. Guys were able to score when they needed to score. Guys were able to defend when they needed to defend. We won the dual meet 8 matches to 2.

We added 4 pins to our pin total this week. We got at fall in every dual. It was great seeing the guys work for bonus points. Ryan Hembury, Greg Flournoy and Jake Kettler were able to score falls this week. Kettler got 2.

Our last home dual will be on Sunday at 2pm in the RAC. We will wrestle one of the better teams in the country. Bloomsburg is ranked as high as 14th in the national polls. We will honor our seniors at the dual. Please come support the team and congratulate the seniors at their last home dual.

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