“Once in a Blue Moon.” “As rare as hen’s teeth.” “When pigs fly.”
These phrases used to describe how often the George Mason High School wrestling team would win a dual meet match-up.
This year, however, things are different, and going into the third week of the season, the Mustang’s dual meet record of 4-3 represents more dual meet victories than in the past three years combined.
“There are several reasons”, said Mason’s head coach, Bryan Harris, when asked about his team’s recent successes. “The main one is we are not forfeiting four or five weight classes this year.
“When we had to forfeit those weight classes, it put us into a big point deficit right from the start and that is pretty hard to overcome when you are trying to win a dual meet,” Harris explained.
Things have improved for Mason since junior heavyweights Mikey Larcamp and Tyrone Thompson decided to return to the team after taking a couple of years off, and freshman John Glover moved into the 103 slot.
With senior Sam Dittmar anchoring the 215 class, the arrangement puts the Mustangs wrestlers at four weight classes that have been unfilled for a long time.
“We’re pretty excited, obviously,” continued Harris. “We have a pretty good group of returning wrestlers and with these and some other additions we feel confident we can give anyone a battle.”
The returning wrestlers for the Mustangs include state qualifier senior Manuel Veiga-Diaz (189), senior Teddy Rueckert (160), senior Natan Lailari (145), sophomore Danny Seidita (112), sophomore Alborz Alaeddini (135) and junior Jackson Thomas (125).
The rest of the lineup consists of sophomore Ben Tourkin (130), sophomore Ze’ev Lailari (140), senior Vance Romero (152) and senior Alex Casteuble (171) – all new to the Varsity ranks.
The Mason wrestlers began the season with victories over Falls Church (42-24) and Potomac (34-28) on Dec. 2, but ran into a little difficulty, losing to Heritage of Loudoun County (50-6) in a match on Dec. 5.
This past weekend, they split four matches, beating Stonewall Jackson (Quicksburg – a 6-36 thriller decided on tie-breaker points) and Monticello (42-28), before losing to Warren County (50-12) and Broadway (42-18).
In addition to the team’s successes, there are several wrestlers who have amassed outstanding records so far.
Both Veiga-Diaz and Seidita are 6-1, and Glover is 5-2. Alaeddini is 4-3, and first-year wrestlers Lailari and Tourkin are a respectable 3-3.
Early season results can sometimes be misleading, but Coach Harris thinks that his squad has the makings of being one of the best in quite a few years.
“The 2004 team which placed third in the state is obviously the best we have ever had here at Mason but this team has the potential to come close to that level of success if we get a few breaks,” said Harris.
He added, “A few things have to fall our way and the entire team has to maintain a very high level of intensity throughout the entire year.
“That’s a hard thing to do if you are a first-year wrestler, so while we have the potential to do well it would be unfair to our new guys to burden them with unrealistic expectations. Let’s just say we will go out each time with an intensity and potential we haven’t been able to generate in some time.”
George Mason’s next matches are this Saturday, Dec. 19 when the Mustangs travel to local rival, McLean High. Wrestling starts at 10 a.m.