Virginia has a good team. They beat us 9 matches to 1. Sahid Kargbo was our lone winner. We had a few other guys who were in their matches but couldn’t find a way to win. We need to find a way to win. Even an ugly win can help you down the road. Guys need to have a go to move they can score on anyone in the country. Even though we lost, I felt the guys had more fight, more resolve. The fact they are willing to work hard for 7 minutes will pay dividends down the road. Mental toughness is hard to teach, but I think it can be taught. I am pleased to see guys making progress in this very important area of wrestling and life. We had guys sustain injuries which was disappointing. Nevertheless, I was pleased they continued to wrestle with the pain. No one considered taking an injury timeout. I love the toughness they showed.
Thursday we will face another tough team in Maryland at 7pm at the RAC. We will need to make some gains in training this week and have even more resolve for Thursday. There will be a youth dual with a team from Virginia vs. a team from Maryland starting at 430pm as a prelude to the college bout. The athletic department is making our dual the game of the week. Thus, students will get free stuff for attending the dual. The dual also takes place the night before the state high school wrestling tournament. I anticipate several of the participants to be at the dual (the state tournament takes place less than a mile from our campus). It should be a fun atmosphere for our team.
We will honor our seniors during half-time; well we will honor most of our seniors. Rich Lavorato was honored last year. We did not think he was going to return for his 5th year, so we treated him like a senior. Long after the season, we were fortunate to trick him into coming back to Mason to wrestle. Rich is currently attending graduate school studying Sports Management.
Matt Stull is also graduating this spring, but does have eligibility remaining. We are trying to talk him into attending graduate school at Mason so he can use his remaining eligibility for wrestling. Thus, we are going to roll the dice and hope he returns next season. Matt is getting his degree in criminal justice with a minor in psychology. We will not honor him at senior night, because we hope he isn’t done.
Matt Huffstickler has decided to graduate this summer. Thus, we will honor him at the dual. Matt will get his degree in criminology and plans on being a police officer. Matt has done well in the classroom and is a talented wrestler. My hope is he will do some coaching in the future. He would do well.
Seth Robertson did not redshirt and has exhausted his eligibility. Seth has excelled at Mason on and off the mat. He has represented Mason twice at the conference tournament. Seth is majoring in electrical engineering and has had some incredible internships. One highlight for me was when Seth helped the team win a dual last season vs. Northern Colorado. He lifted his opponent multiple times to insure the win. It was fun to watch.
Chris Rodriguez is in graduate school and is a 5th year wrestler on the team. He is working on a master degree in special education. If anyone is looking for a teacher and wrestling coach, Chris is looking for a good fit. Chris walked on to the team when I first arrived at Mason. He has been a good teammate and his given more to the team than he has taken. He has started in some of the dual meets for the team. One highlight was when he won a hard fought match for us in a dual against Anderson University.
Shohei Takagi is another 5th year wrestler. He decided to redshirt last year and added another major to his degree. He will graduate this spring with a Finance and Business Management degree with a minor in Japanese. Shohei has worked hard to make his senior year a success. He competed and trained hard during the off-season. He even spent a few weeks at the Olympic Training Center this summer. I am excited to watch him finish his college career on a high note.
I am excited to recognize Matt, Seth, Chris and Shohei on Thursday. Being a division one student-athlete is no easy task.