A major accomplishment was achieved this past weekend as Steve Parks became the first George Mason High School wrestler to win an individual title at the annual Northern Virginia Classic Wrestling Tournament held at Fairfax High School. Parks’ 7-5 victory in the 189 lb. weight class culminated two days of wrestling against some of the best wrestlers from Northern Virginia, Richmond and the Virginia Beach area.
With 32 wrestlers in his weight class Parks needed five victories to claim the championship, and did so in a strikingly dominating fashion. Despite the seemingly close 7-5 score in the final match up against Jesse Kruse of Annandale High School, Parks was never really in danger during the match. After giving up an early takedown to Kruse, Parks got stronger as the match progressed and dominated his opponent with two takedowns of his own in addition to gaining points for a near fall. Parks proceeded to ride Kruse for almost the entire second and third periods, and the only points Kruse was able to garner were when Parks let him escape in order to take him down again.
Parks’ championship was not the only good news from the Classic, as David Ray and Barratt Kennett continued their fine seasons with fifth place finishes at 140 lb. and 171 lb. Classes respectively. This trio of medals marked the best result Mason has yet achieved at this tournament, with the team placing 22nd out of 32 teams on the strength of the three medalists. The Classic originally began as a regular season tournament for all the AAA schools in the Northern Region but has grown over time to include several of the area’s private schools, as well as teams from Richmond and the Tidewater region. There are 32 entries in each weight class, which means that in order to win a medal a wrestler must wrestle a minimum of five matches. Both Ray and Kennett competed six times over the two days.
All three Mason wrestlers went undefeated during Friday’s session as they advanced to the semifinals of their respective weight classes. Parks was not scored upon in his three Friday matches, as he defeated his opponents by a combined tally of 31-0. Kennett won two of his Friday matches by pin and the other by the score of 15-4. Ray started his Friday with a big 13-9 upset victory over the tournament’s No. 2 seed and then pinned his other two opponents. Saturday saw Parks advance to the finals on a 5-3 win, but both Ray and Kennett ran into a little trouble in their semifinal matches as Ray lost 5-1 to Nick Squyers of Hickory and Kennett dropped a 6-4 heartbreaker on a last-second takedown to the eventual champion, Pat Fallon of Westfield. Both Ray and Kennett ended their day on a high note however with Ray winning his final match 5-0 and Kennett pinning his opponent in the first period.
Up next for the Mustangs is a day-long meet at Warren County this Saturday starting at 10:30 a.m. The Mustang’s final event before taking a few weeks off for the holidays will be a tournament at nearby J.E.B. Stuart High School on December 22 at 10 a.m.