We won our dual against VMI 7 matches to 3. I was happy the guys were able to win a team dual and that we were able to score the last points in 8 of 10 bouts. I was less pleased with the pace we wrestled in our matches. I felt VMI pushed the pace more than we did. Our talent was good enough for us to win, but I would like to have seen more effort from the team.
Bill Prochniewski lost his match by pin. He fell behind 5-0 in the first period, but did a great job of working himself back into the match. He was riding the guy for the tie when the official called a defensive pin in his opponents favor. Bill needs to do a better job of keeping his matches closer in the first period. He tends to give up lots of points early. The longer he can stay in matches the better chance he will have winning as he can use his conditioning and technique to score points in the 3rd period. We also cannot afford to give up bonus points in a dual.
Vince Rodriguez did a great job and scored a major decision. He scored in all 3 positions (feet, bottom and top). I enjoyed watching him compete. He made some great adjustments to counters his opponent tried. He showed good mat awareness.
Sahid Kargbo won his match. He did not do a good job of pushing the pace. We need to make sure he is able to have a more positive attitude when he competes next week. Sahid works too hard and has improved too much to not show it when he gets the opportunity in competition.
Shohei Takagi lost in overtime. Like some of our other guys he did not push the pace. He let his opponent push the pace. As a result, his opponent gained confidence and was able to exploit Shohei’s weaknesses. Shohei was called for stalling two times. The second call sent the match into overtime. Shohei needs to wrestle at a higher pace so he is not called for stalling. He needs to worry about scoring points and not how he feels physically.
Greg Flournoy won his match 2-0. He had trouble opening up his opponent. He needed to make some adjustments in the match so he could get his offense going. After the match, I think he understood how to solve the problem. Hopefully, next time he can make the adjustment during the match. Greg did a great job of riding his opponent for the entire 3rd period. When the match is on the line and you need to hold your opponent down, it takes great resolve to get the job done. Greg stepped up and got the job done.
Ryan Forrest took a 4-1 lead and looked very good in the first period. He was ridden the entire 2nd period. Ryan needs to get to his feet more on bottom. I think it would increase his ability to get away. In the third period Ryan was unable to compete at a level necessary to win the match. He also took some mini breaks and his opponent was able to capitalize. If Ryan can hold better position when he competes and wrestle at a high pace for seven minutes, he will be dangerous. We need to figure out why he cannot do so right now and try to fix the problem as soon as possible.
Zach Martinez won his match. He made a few mistakes on his feet and gave up a couple of takedowns. He needs to improve his basic skills on his feet. I was excited to see his improved skills on bottom which put him in a position to win the match. He was also able to ride well and score the last takedown in the match to extend his lead.
Ryan Hembury was also able to score last in his match. He was able to score a 5 point move to end the match. I was also pleased to see his offense working early in the match. He had good setups, nice execution of the attacks and patient effective finishes. I hope he is starting to believe in his improvement as a college competitor.
Matt Meadows was able to identify his opponent’s weakness and was able to exploit it multiple times. It was good to see him compete with confidence. With a little better mat awareness, I think he could have gotten a bonus point for the team, but at that point in the dual securing the win was more important. His win clinched the dual for the team.
Jake Kettler did a good job of wearing down his opponent. He was able to get to a position and try his attack multiple times. It did not work in the first or second period, but by the third period he was able to get past the set-up and attack and get to the finish. He initially missed the finish, but after another set-up and attack, he was able to secure the winning takedown. I liked his poise in the third period.
We will get another opportunity to compete at home on Saturday, January 25 at Noon against Franklin & Marshall. On paper, it looks like it will be a close dual. My hope is the guys will be able to step up and win the close matches. Get bonus points when they can and avoid giving up bonus points. I want them to wrestle not only for themselves but also for their teammates. There is added strength when you wrestle for others as well as yourself.
Saturday will also be our day to honor Mason alums. We will have a reception beforehand. I want the team to meet the guys who went before them – the men that paved the way for the current team to have the opportunity to compete for George Mason University. We will honor the undefeated conference champion team from 1974 during our half-time of the meet. These guys did something special 40 years ago and deserve recognition. As the current coach, I am also thankful these guys are still assisting the wrestling program. This group of men has been instrumental in helping me by volunteering their time and money to help move the program forward. I applaud what they did in 1974 as athletes and what they are doing today as men.