5 things

1. Matt Voss finished 3rd in his bracket at the Junior World Team trials. Israel Silva was in his corner at the tournament. Tom Carr and I watched him compete online. He competed well. He ended the tournament with a 3-2 record. I believe he learned from the competition which will help him as he prepares for the upcoming college season.

2. My summer has started, as it usually does, with lots of camps. I have been working camps for others in June. I will be having my summer commuter camps at George Mason University in July and August. If you have an interest or know someone who might have an interest in the Patriot Wrestling Camps, you can get more information at http://www.joerussellwrestling.com. Or call or email me directly at 703/993-3299 or jrusse13@gmu.edu.

3. We are nearing the end of the alumni-athlete giving challenge. My hope is we find a way to win. If you are a wrestling alum or if you can twist the arm of a wrestling alum, we could use your help to win the alumni-athlete giving challenge. For more information, go to http://www.gomason.com/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=205073218&DB_OEM_ID=25200 Or simply call 703-993-3218. Be sure to ear mark the donation for wrestling and make sure they know you are a wrestling alum. The contest ends on June 30, so please act fast.

4. If you are in Fairfax June 29 or 30, the Field House will be the venue for the 2015 World Police and Fire Games Wrestling events. http://fairfax2015.com/ I am excited to watch and especially excited to watch the GMU Wrestling Alums who have already signed up to compete. Please come support these athletes as they put it on the line in this international competition.

5. Please also save the date for the Paul Maltagliati Memorial Golf Tournament on September 14 at Bull Run Golf Club.

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University Nationals

We had a large portion of our George Mason University wrestlers compete for the Patriot Elite Wrestling Club (PEWC) at the University Nationals. I was pleased so many chose to go to the tournament. We had 15 wrestlers compete for the PEWC in the Greco-Roman tournament. Sahid Kargbo became the first member of the PEWC to win a University National title. We had 5 other GMU wrestlers place – Matt Voss and Ibrahim Bunduka finished 4th; Blake Roulo finished 5th; Luke Ludke finished 6th; and Bill Prochniewski finished 8th. Some of the other guys won matches as well. We do not spend much time training Greco-Roman, so I was pleased the guys were brave enough to give it a try and also pleased with their effort at the competition. We have some guys with promise in Greco-Roman wrestling. Since it is a style wrestled in the Olympic Games, I hope those guys are now dreaming of representing the USA at the Olympics.

19 GMU wrestlers competed in the Freestyle portion of the tournament. The brackets were huge. Some of the weight classes had more than 100 competitors. Many guys won matches. We had 6 guys advance to the second day of the tournament – Ibrahim Bunduka, Vince Rodriguez, Tejon Anthony, Sahid Kargbo, Greg Flournoy, and Matt Voss. This is the largest number of guys we have had make it to the 2nd day since we formed the PEWC. Unfortunately, we went 0-6 on the second day of the Freestyle tournament and thus no one placed. I was dismayed none of the guys were able to win their opening bouts of the day. We need to make sure we get stronger as the tournament progresses. Day 2 of the NCAA tournament is where you become an All-American. Day 3 of the NCAA tournament is where you win the title. I was pleased some of our guys were able to experience a simulation of what it will be like in a 3 day grind of the NCAA tournament. Ibrahim Bunduka, Sahid Kargbo, and Matt Voss all were able to compete 3 days in a row. This is the only 3 day tournament they will have to simulate the NCAA tournament. We need to make sure we perform better on the second and third day of competition.

Having competed in late May should pay dividends for the guys next season. The competition helped the wrestlers be more focused in their training. I believe the guys should be able to learn something from the event. If the wrestlers use this knowledge and grow, the weekend will have served a positive purpose. The team needs to be consistent in their training over the summer. I am pleased some of the guys have chosen to attend a training camp this coming week at the Naval Academy. They are not wasting time in their preparation. I am excited they seized the opportunity.

I also enjoy the experience of having a large portion of the team together on the road. For some, this was their first team trip of their college career. We are not allowed to have red shirts compete during the college season. Since this event qualifies for a national team, it meets an NCAA exception so we can have red shirts compete. We were able to get a glimpse of next year’s team. It is a good opportunity for us to grow closer as a team. Each night we were at this event, the Meadows family hosted us at their home. I loved sitting by the fire listening to the team banter as they enjoyed a great meal. We are blessed to have the Meadows family open their home to the team.

This past week we learned some of our videos Jimmy Nelson and Greg Piduch produced this past season are finalists for some awards.  I have pasted links to the announcements.

Highlight Reel voting starts on June 15

http://www.nwcaonline.com/nwcawebsite/news/2015/05/28/the-nwca-and-elsm-present-the-best-of-brand-highlight-reel-finalists-in-battle-round-format

Pure Entertainment voting starts on June 1

http://www.nwcaonline.com/NWCAWebSite/news/2015/05/26/the-nwca-and-elsm-present-the-best-of-brand-pure-entertainment-finalists-in-the-college-division

Best of Brand Top Newcomer

http://www.nwcaonline.com/nwcawebsite/best-of-brand-awards/2015/05/20/12-finalists-announced-for-best-of-brand-top-newcomer-award-in-college-division

If you can help us win these awards by voting, we would greatly appreciate the support.

I am pleased to announce that all 5 of our graduating seniors have participated in the Alumni giving challenge this spring. For the 3rd year in a row, 100% of our graduating seniors have given back to the program. As you know, alumni support is huge to our success. The alumni giving challenge runs until June 30. We are currently trying to rally alums so we can win the alumni giving challenge. Please help twist fellow alums’ arms, in a legal manner (no chicken wings, past 90 degrees or taking the arm away from the body), to make a small donation to the program before the challenge ends.

http://www.gomason.com/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=205073218&DB_OEM_ID=25200

We are making some positive gains as a program. Let’s keep the momentum going on and off the mat.