USNA and F&M Duals

On Wednesday night, we had a home competition against the United States Naval Academy. We ended up starting the dual meet over an hour late as our scheduled official did not make it and a replacement had to be found. It was a unique situation and is one I would rather not repeat. I want to say thank you to all those who attended and stuck it out while we waited. I also want to say thank you to the USNA for assisting us with putting on an impromptu clinic for the youth wrestlers who were in attendance. I heard from more than one person that the kids loved the clinic and it made the event even better.

We ended up losing the dual 6 matches to 4. Lio Quezada won his bout by a major decision. Ibrahim Bunduka, Sahid Kargbo and Matt Voss all won by decision. Tejon Anthony and Matt Raines lost very close decisions. We gave up bonus points in the other bouts we lost.

Tejon Anthony lost a controversial match to the #13th wrestler in the nation. Tejon was leading 3-2 with 23 seconds left in the bout. At that time, the official signaled a takedown for the Navy wrestler. I immediately challenged the call. The official saw my challenge but let the action continue until there were 3 seconds left in the bout. Initially the official ruled there was no takedown at the 23 second mark. He then said there was a takedown at the 6 second mark and the wrestlers went out of bounds at the 3 second mark. It was a tough call for all involved and I was certainly disappointed. Tejon is getting better and it is being noticed as he was recognized in the coaches’ ranking and RPI later in the week.

Matt Raines lost 3-2. With less than 10 seconds to go Matt was able to secure a single leg with his opponent’s leg in the air. He was not able to finish the shot before time expired. It was a tough way to lose and it did result in a teachable moment for the team. We worked on quick finishes to single legs in practice the following day.

On Saturday, we traveled to Franklin & Marshall College. Our new Faculty Athletic Representative Dr. Banville traveled with the team. It was a first for me to have a FAR travel with us. I appreciate her taking the time and interest to attend the dual.

We won the dual 7 matches to 3. It was a good team performance. I believe we finished matches by scoring the last offensive points in 9 of the 10 matches. This was good to see. I liked the effort. We also had 3 guys win by pin (sorry to those in the pin club as it was an expensive night for you). It has been awhile since we had that many pins in a dual meet. It was Austin Harrison’s first pin of his college career. Sahid Kargbo pinned his first opponent of his senior season. Matt Voss pinned his opponent in the first period. Ibrahim Bunduka won by a major decision. Tejon Anthony, Matt Raines, and Ryan Forrest all won by decision. I was also pleased by the effort of the guys who lost. They competed with toughness in the later stages of their bouts.

Thanks to Daniel Mika’s uncle we found a new go to place to eat in Lancaster. It is always fun listening to the chatter of the team after weigh ins and competition. Even though Ray Yamrus beat me badly in driving the other team van back to campus, our drive home went well due in part to full stomachs and a team victory.

This will be a busy, yet exciting, week for us as we complete our regular season. On Friday we will compete at American University at 7pm. On Sunday, our club will host a youth tournament at the RAC – the Patriot Pummel (www.patriotpummel.com) followed by our final home dual of the year against Sacred Heart University.

Our dual with Sacred Heart is scheduled to start at 2pm. We will honor our seniors at half-time. Please come support the team and our seniors – Patrick Davis, Ryan Forrest, Sahid Kargbo, Matt Meadows, Ryan Renkey, and Andrew Thomas.

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Politics, Injuries, Southeast Open, Simulations, and Gear

You have people you have problems. A friend said this to me many years ago and I believe it is often the case. World politics played a role in denying Matt Voss the opportunity to compete at the University World Championships last week. I felt bad for him and the other athletes who were denied the opportunity to compete. The championships were held in Turkey. Due to current issues going on, USA Wrestling determined it was too risky to send the USA team. I was pleased USA Wrestling worked hard to make sure the athletes were safe and when USA Wrestling determined the safety of the athletes could not be guaranteed to an acceptable level, USA Wrestling made the difficult decision not to attend. My hope for Matt is he will continue to grow as a wrestler and he will have other opportunities down the road to represent the USA in international competitions. Sadly, this is not the first and most likely not the last time this will happen.

In 2002, I was set to go to Tehran, Iran to watch Tim Hartung compete at the Freestyle World Championships. I was one of Tim’s coaches in college and had enjoyed watching his growth as a wrestler. He had made the top stage in our sport. Due to credible threats, the USA team did not compete in the tournament. It was sad to see Tim denied the opportunity. I have spoken with many of the wrestlers denied the opportunity to compete at the 1980 Olympics. Even today, you can hear pain when they speak about it. I can only imagine the disappointment. I was fortunate as a wrestler to qualify for a few youth world championships. One year when I was trying to make the USA team, the World Championships were to be held in Baghdad, Iraq. Due to the Iran-Iraq War the tournament site was moved. Fortunately, I was still able to compete and did not miss out on the opportunity. You have people you have problems.

We have had some injuries this fall. Injuries do happen. It is part of life. As a coach it is frustrating to see the athletes have to endure the pain and disappointment of injuries. Sometimes life is not fair. Life is hard. My hope is the injured individuals will be able to overcome the setbacks. For some their wrestling career may be over. My hope is the lessons learned by participating in wrestling will serve them well in life. My hope is they will look back on their time as a D1 athlete at George Mason University as a positive experience.

I was pleased 6 guys decided to compete unattached this weekend at the Southeast Open. Competition often helps your learning curve. Most likely the competition will benefit them down the road. Trevor Mello went 1-2 and recorded the first fall of the year for the team. Connor Joyce and Justin Hite went 0-2. Philip Stolfi and Matt Raines finished 2-2. Lio Quezada went 3-2 on the day. It is a good time to do some self-review, learn and improve. I am happy these guys chose to test themselves and confident they will use the experience to get better.

We plan on having everyone on the team make weight this Saturday. We will also wrestle matches. If you want to watch the guys do simulation matches Saturday, we would love to have you. We will start at 11am Saturday, November 12 in the Filed House.

I am excited we can offer fan gear for sale this fall. If you are interested in purchasing George Mason Wrestling gear, you can do so until midnight November 10. The site will close down after that date. The website can be found at http://bit.ly/2ecVL5s