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