Simulation Matches

We had the guys make weight and wrestle matches this week to be better prepared for our home opener on Thursday. My hope is guys learned from the experience. The hope was they made it as real as possible. Thus, they worked on match preparation and match strategy. The first time down to weight can be difficult. I wanted them to have a weigh in under their belt before actual competition. I believe we got better by doing the simulation matches.

Assistant Coach Canaan Bethea was able to compete this past week at the Bill Farrell International Open. I believe he can use the knowledge he gained at the competition to help our team get better. It is a win/win.

Our fan gear order website shut down a few days ago. I do not know the final order numbers, but was pleased people had the opportunity to purchase Mason Wrestling gear. It will be great seeing people sporting Mason Wrestling gear.

I hope many of you will be able to attend our home opener on Thursday, November 17, 7pm at the RAC. We will host Indiana University. I believe Indiana has 2 wrestlers ranked in the top 20 led by returning All-American Nate Jackson. We will certainly be tested. We will have several new faces in the lineup. I am excited for the team to get the opportunity to compete at home. Some other incentives to get you to the RAC: home duals are free of charge this season; our team will take risks when they compete to make the matches more exciting; Mason event staff knows how to put on a great event; the new wrestling posters are out and you can get them for free if you are early enough to the RAC on Thursday. Although I have many more reasons for you to attend our home opener, I will assume you already got the point – Thursday, November 17 at 7pm the RAC is the place to be.

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First Week Update

The team did well during the first week of official practice. I was pleased to see positive results from their pre-season training. We put them through a difficult week of training and they responded in a positive manner.

Friday we hosted a coach’s clinic. The clinic began with coaches watching our team practice. I liked the knowledge and effort the team showed in their training. Canaan Bethea, Mark Weader and Kevin Steinhaus all did a good job with their presentations and also took time to answer questions. I was bummed by the low turnout, but hopeful those who attended found their time well spent.

On Saturday, we hosted a wrestling clinic. Kevin Steinhaus ran the clinic and was assisted by our entire team. I enjoyed watching the clinic and the interaction between our team and those who attended the event. After the clinic, the team participated in a public practice. I was excited with the turn out. George Mason University invited Alums and Families to campus for the weekend. Having a public practice, fit well with the other events on campus. It was a good day for our program.

We will have about a month to train before we compete. Our first official competition will be on November 17 as we host Indiana University at the RAC. We will compete at the Navy Classic on November 19. On Sunday, November 27 we will compete at the Grapple at the Garden. We will wrestle Buffalo and Hofstra. For those that want to join us at Madison Square Garden in New York City, you can buy tickets in the Mason section via our ticket office. Contact the George Mason Ticket office at 703/993-3270 or icatix@gmu.edu.

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.