22 of our wrestlers competed on December 29. 16 wrestlers competed at the Cradle Gear Invitational at Lock Haven University and 6 guys competed at the Midlands. Tommy Owen went with the guys to Midlands. Tom Carr and I coached the guys at Lock Haven.
Tommy said he was pleased with our guys’ effort at Midlands. His major concern was guys making the same mistakes they have been making in matches. We need to get them to improve in those positions and make sure to eliminate the weaknesses. Blake Roulo, wrestled unattached, won his first three matches to make it to the semifinal round. To make the semifinals of the Midlands tournament is no easy task. On the second day of the tournament, Blake lost his next three matches. We need to figure out what was different from day one to day two. Was it physical, mental, a combo platter? Blake can do great things. We need to help him improve. The other five guys who competed at Midlands did not place, but did gain valuable experience. Overall, the guys at Midlands were 11-13. I was happy they were able to win several matches and compete in the 51st Midlands Championships. They represented George Mason University well.
The guys at the Lock Haven tournament finished with a 16-30 overall individual record. For the most part, I was pleased with the effort of the team. Some guys disappointed me with their effort, especially in the consolation rounds. Lack of effort is unacceptable to this team. I spoke to the team about my disappointment. If they want to wear the Mason singlet, they owe themselves, the team and the program their best effort. They cannot always control if they win a match, but I do believe attitude and effort are within their control.
I was especially pleased with the performance of 4 of the guys who competed at Lock Haven. Rich Lavorato did not place, but I felt he was wrestling to win all of his bouts. He finished 2-2 on the day losing on riding time to the #1 seed and losing a close match in the consolation round. He struggled getting off bottom this weekend, so we know what needs to be addressed this week in practice.
Ryan Hunsberger finished 4th with a 4-2 record in the tournament. He did a much better job on bottom, although that is where he lost his final bout. Ryan also won an overtime match and did a better job of winning the tough positions. Ryan’s desire to win is helping him to find ways to get the job done. I am excited to see him making positive strides.
Shohei Takagi made the move down to 149lbs. He hadn’t wrestled at this weight class for 2 years. He looked big and strong at the weight class. Shohei finished 3rd. He won 4 matches on the day. He won in overtime, by decision, major decision and by a pin. It was a good debut for him. It is great seeing a senior make the sacrifice to find a way in the lineup. Shohei is a guy who consistently puts the time into his training. I am hopeful he will finish his college career on a high note.
Greg Flournoy has some of the best, if not the best, wrestling skills on our team. He understands position and does a good job of holding position. He is doing better at fighting through the mental part of the game. There is nothing easy about wrestling. Greg is learning how to fight through the mental obstacles a wrestler faces against good competition (resolve, fatigue, mistakes, imposing one’s will on another, outside distractions, being uncomfortable, not being 100%…). I am enjoying watching him become a stronger wrestler physically and mentally. Greg finished 2nd in the tournament going 3-1 on the day.
The guys were able to add 3 pins to our pin total for the year (Ryan Hembury, Sahid Kargbo, and Shohei Takagi all had a pin on Sunday). Thus, the Mason Pinner’s Club will owe some more money. I think most members of the Pinner’s Club are alright with owing a few more bucks. I know I am. I enjoy seeing the little extra excitement guys get when they pin their opponent. The Pinner’s club helps our effort level, enjoyment level, and ultimately, our ability to grow the program. To those who are members, thanks. To those who are not members, I hope you will consider joining the Mason Pinner’s club.
We get to compete at home again this Sunday. We wrestle Gardner-Webb at the RAC on January 5, 2014 at 7pm. I hope you can join us for our first competition of 2014. Last season we lost to Gardner-Webb at their home. We will do our best to defend our home mat on Sunday.