Spring 2016

We have finished our spring training cycle. I was pleased to see the guys put in the work. Overall, I think guys made progress. For the next two weeks we will have no structured training as the guys complete their course work for the semester. I want them to finish well in the class room. We need to have a good semester as a team.

Two of our wrestlers will compete this weekend at the UWW Junior Freestyle Nationals in Las Vegas – Tejon Anthony and Cameron Houston. I wish we had more guys competing at the event, but the timing is not ideal given their school schedules. Israel Silva will coach Tejon and Cameron this weekend.

Once guys finish final exams, most of them will stick around to compete for our club team. We are going to host the University National Duals at George Mason University on May 21-22. This is a first time event that is being led by the Wrestlers in Business Network. As you know, this group is doing great things for wrestling. They are doing the extra things to make the tournament a one of a kind. They are hosting a career day, social, training session, and other special events as part of the duals. To learn more about it go to http://www.wibnevents.org. We are capping the field at 24 teams. I believe it will be a great weekend for those that attend and should help wrestling grow.

We recently held our end of the year banquet. I was pleased with the event. It continues to grow. Tom Carr ran the event for us and did a great job. We had 4 wrestlers win awards. Cameron Houston won the Freshman Academic Award. He is diligent in life and it is and will pay dividends. Tejon Anthony won the Most Improved Wrestler Award. Tejon used his redshirt year to get better. It showed in a 20 win season as a redshirt freshman. Ryan Renkey won the Upperclassmen Academic Award and the Paul Maltagliati Most Dedicated Wrestler Award. Ryan has shined in the classroom by getting a perfect 4.0gpa and he has also raised the level of our room. He is a hard worker who will do great things. Greg Flournoy won the Most Valuable Wrestler Award. He is on the Mason top ten career win list and finished his career as a two-time NCAA qualifier.

Six seniors gave speeches. I especially enjoyed listening to them talk about their time at Mason. These six guys will be missed. Greg Flournoy will graduate this spring with a degree in Economics. He was a four year starter who won 2 matches at the NCAA tournament during his career. Ryan Forrest plans to graduate in the fall with a degree in Finance. He was a three year starter who finished 3rd in the EWL tournament this year. Konbeh Koroma will graduate in a few weeks with a degree in Criminology. He started many duals for Mason during his time in the program. Luke Ludke will receive a degree with Konbeh in Criminology. Luke represented GMU at the EWL championships this past March. Vince Rodriguez will graduate in May with a History degree. Vince was a four year starter, three time conference placer and NCAA qualifier for Mason. Blake Roulo will get his degree in Integrative Studies. After transferring from Buffalo, Blake placed both times he competed for Mason at the EWL tournament.

Tom Carr has accepted the head wrestling coach position at Central Christian College. He has spent four seasons as an assistant coach at Mason and has left a positive mark on the program. We wish him well and will be cheering for his success as he leads his own program.


Last Chance Olympic Qualifier

Sahid Kargbo competed in the last chance Olympic qualifier this past weekend. In order to move on he needed to win, he did not. Nevertheless, I believe it was a valuable weekend for him. He was able to wrestle lots of matches. He learned and will be better due to the experience.

Even though the competition was in Cedar Falls, Iowa, we flew into Chicago and drove the rest of the way. Thus, Sahid was stuck on a plane and a car with me for way too long. In route to Cedar Falls, I took a short detour to Iowa City. I wanted Sahid to see where the final Olympic Trials was going to be wrestled. We were impressed by the warm welcome we received as we toured Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Sahid also had to listen to my many stories about when Minnesota won the 2001 NCAA tournament in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Our hotel was in Waterloo, Iowa so instead of getting his pre-tournament workout at the arena, Sahid worked out at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum. We were well taken care of and given a personal tour by Kyle Klingman. Once again, Sahid had to listen to endless stories as Kyle and I reminisced.

Sahid finished with a 3-2 record in the Greco-Roman Tournament. Even though I knew he was disappointed, as soon as he walked off the mat from his last bout, I asked him to check his weight and to consider entering the Freestyle tournament. Sahid checked his weight and told me he thought he could make the weight so he wanted to try. Over the course of the next 2 hours he worked out trying to make the weight class. Due to the international rules Sahid was able to use a sauna to assist his weight loss, so he finished his workout at the historic West Gym facility on the University of Northern Iowa Campus. I was able to share some of the old tricks we used in the old days to help shed the last few pounds. Sahid made the weight. After he was down to weight, he told me 2 hours earlier he was 3.3 kilos over. He did not tell me beforehand because he thought I would not let him try. I was impressed by his toughness.

The next day Sahid finished with a 4-2 record in the Freestyle competition. He beat some quality wrestlers. In one of his losses, his opponent and he got a large crowd of people encircling and watching their match. The tournament featured 26 mats going on at the same time (it was also the site of the age group folkstyle nationals), so it was quite a spectacle they were displaying. The crowd got so close to the mat I was distracted by the buzz. One hall of famer commented to me, during the match, how impressed he was with my wrestler. Sahid represented himself well.

After Sahid was done competing we quickly headed back to Chicago to catch our late night flight back home. About the time we were passing the home of Ulysses S. Grant (yes we stopped to take a picture) we found out our flight was cancelled and that it would be until Tuesday before the airline could get us home. We laughed. Fortunately Tom Carr was able to find a way to get us home the next morning. I am unsure if Sahid could have handled much longer of a trip with just the two of us.

We are approaching the date of our end of the year wrestling banquet. On April 17, we will celebrate the season at the home Jerry and Carol Mullins. If interested in attending, please contact Tom Carr via email at tcarr11@gmu.edu.