LHU and VMI

Last night, we wrestled two duals. First, we wrestled our make-up dual against Lock Haven. We started out great with Ibrahim Bunduka scoring 16 points and securing a major decision. Vince Rodriguez followed with an impressive 5-2 victory over a ranked opponent. The win will surely help Vince’s bid to qualify for the NCAA tournament. I was bummed when Tejon Anthony lost the next bout.Tejon had a bad night. We all have them. I just wished for him it would not come on a crucial night for him and his team. I have confidence Tejon will get back on the right track and be a force to be reckoned with down the stretch. Blake Roulo wrestled very well in the first and second period against a returning All-American. With the score tied in the third, Blake chose down. He was unable to escape and lost by a riding time point. It was a frustrating loss for him and for his team. Blake has shown he can compete with the best, now he needs to find a way to close the deal. Greg Flournoy did a good job in his match. He stayed consistent and won the tough positions. Patrick Davis lost a close bout to a wrestler he split matches with earlier in the season. We needed to win two of the close matches at 141, 149 and 165. Instead we went 0-3. Ryan Forrest was back on the mat at 174 after missing more than two weeks. He was placed in a tough spot, but did well considering how much training and competition he has missed this season. Ryan moves well and knows how to compete. If we can keep him healthy and get him prepared, he can win some matches for himself and his team in March. We lost by tech fall at 184 and 197. I believe both could have done a better job defensively. Matt Voss found a way to score points. He was able to finish the dual by securing a major decision win.

After the dual, I challenged the team to do a better job finishing matches. I encouraged them to try to win the last minute of their match. Too many times this year we have walked away from the mat with lots of would’ve, could’ve, and should’ve statements. We need to earn better answers.Training the way we do as a team, they should have confidence in their ability to function well under duress during the tough times of competition. We need to do a better job of showing the fruits of our labor in competition. I challenged the guys to show their toughness by wrestling a conference dual and then 10 minutes later wrestling the dual against VMI. We wrestled the same 10 guys in both duals.

Once again we were in a tight dual. In the end we split victories 5-5 against VMI. We were able to win due to a major decision win by Luke Ludke. He was able to score in all positions and finished the match by making sure he scored the bonus point that ultimately sealed the deal for his team. I was happy for him and for his team. Ibrahim Bunduka lost a close match but I did like to see him score an escape and a takedown in the third period. His hard work is paying dividends. He needs to continue trusting in what he’s doing. I was pleased to see Vince Rodriguez ride his opponent for the entire third period. He has made great progress with his riding. Being able to ride, changes the complexion of matches and how your opponent wrestles. Now that Vince can ride, he is a more dangerous wrestler. Tejon Anthony lost another frustrating match. I could see he was struggling getting his body to do what he knew it needed to do. Blake Roulo got back on the winning track. He was able to score six points in the first period. I had hoped he would do a better job of building his lead, but nonetheless, he was able to shut down his opponent. Greg Flournoy was able to beat a tough freshman wrestler from VMI. Once again, he did not allow his opponent to score a takedown. He was able to stay in the fight. I liked seeing Greg’s toughness as he was unfazed by the chaos of the match. Patrick Davis lost, but was able to fend off his opponents attempt at scoring a major. Patrick’s third period takedown proved crucial in the dual meet score. Ryan Forrest lost by decision, but his energy level in the last minute of his match was encouraging. He was aggressive and trying to score. Cameron Houston lost in overtime. I was pleased to see him score three points in the last minute of the match to go to overtime. I had hoped he could get in the win column. In the end, the dual came down to the heavy weights. Matt Voss was able to win due to earning a crucial riding time point. It was great seeing the freshman step up again for his team.

Our team this year has been in several duals that turned on bonus points or one situation going for or against us in order to win. Five dual meets this year have finished with both teams winning five matches. Our margin for error in duals is small. My hope is we have learned and will see the importance of each individual in a team event. Thus far, we haven’t had all ten guys wrestling great in a dual meet. We will have one last opportunity on Sunday. Even more important will be getting all ten guys clicking at the conference tournament.

On Sunday, our club will host a youth wrestling tournament in the morning at the RAC. I think it will be a great way to show case our club and college program. I am excited to get the young wrestlers on our campus wrestling in our gym in front of our current team. At 2pm Sunday we will wrestle our final dual meet of the year. We will also honor our senior class at the dual. Help us honor our graduating seniors Greg Flournoy, Konbeh Koroma, Luke Ludke, Vince Rodriguez, and Blake Roulo.

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