Arts & Entertainment

Mason Sends 4 to Raider Invite Finals

The George Mason High School wrestling team wrapped up the 2007 portion of its schedule on a positive note at the Stuart High School Raider Invitational Dec. 22, when four members of the team made it to the finals. David Ray won the individual title for his 140 lb weight class while the others, Tim Hillegass at 145, Barratt Kennett 171, and Steve Parks 189 each finished second. Overall the team placed fourth out of 10 teams on the strength of these four wrestlers.

Once again the Mustang’s “Big 3” of Ray, Kennett, and Parks excelled, but in the Finals, upsets of Kennett and Parks tempered their celebration.

The addition of Hillegass to the podium, however, was heralded as a big step for the Mustang squad by assistant coach Bryan Harris.

“We don’t have much of a dual meet team since we don’t fill all the weight classes and we have some very inexperienced guys in the lineup,” admitted Harris. “But it is at tournaments like this where we can shine. Having Tim do so well is a big boost for us.”

The Mustangs currently fill only seven of the 14 high school weight classes, but with some mid-season roster additions that number could grow to 10 by season’s end.

“We are pointing to the postseason tournaments to make some serious noise. By then our rookies like Drew Dixon at 125, Brian Costelloe at 152 and David Kuchma, our new 285, should have matured enough to be doing some winning also. You have to keep in mind that these three guys have not wrestled before this year. It is our goal to have them peak at Districts, Regions and the State tournament,” said Harris.

The second place finish of Hillegass is what gave the coaches a big lift.

It is a big step for us that Tim did well at Stuart,” said Harris. “We were counting on him to step up. And he did in a big way.”

The Mustangs head for Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School this Saturday to open their 2008 schedule. Wrestling starts at Noon. On Saturday, Jan. 12, the team will be at home in Mason High's “Pit” for an all-day, five dual meet event, the first of only two home events this year. Wrestling for that event starts at 10 a.m. and will likely go until 5 p.m. One entry fee allows a spectator access to any or all matches.