It was a long couple of days for the wrestling Mustangs of George Mason High School last Friday and Saturday at the Cavalier Duals hosted by Spalding High School in Severn, Md.
“That was one tough dual meet extravaganza,” said Mason Head Coach Bryan Harris, when asked about his team’s performance at the tournament, where his Mustangs wrestled eight dual matches in two days, losing all eight.
“Every team there was of top caliber and the lineups were filled with guys who will be on the ‘All Met’ page of the Washington Post at the season’s end, so we can’t feel too bad,” Harris said. “Still, it exposed our weaknesses and showed us just how far we have to go if we are to become a team at that level.”
In the weekend’s individual matches, most of Mason’s wrestlers emerged with losing records. The Mustang’s season victory leaders, senior Manuel Veiga-Diaz and sophomore Danny Seidita, each found the going rough and emerged with 3-5 records.
Last week’s co-stars, senior Sam Dittmar and junior Mike Larcamp, came away 4-4. The only Mason wrestler to finish with a winning record was senior Teddy Rueckert, who went 6-1.
“Teddy was fantastic,” said Harris. “He finally wrestled the way we knew he was capable.”
Rueckert’s sole loss was to Old Mills’ Ron Vaughter, the top-ranked wrestler in the Metro area according to the Washington Post’s rankings.
One of Rueckert’s cousins, Harris explained, was a two-time University of Maryland state champion and the other is now the top-ranked wrestler in Maryland at 145 pounds. “So Teddy’s starting to feel a little pressure at this point to step it up,” Harris joked.
Mason’s results were a far cry from last week’s home meet successes, but Harris said he was surprisingly upbeat.
“There were two matches in which we were blown out,” he explained. “Saturday’s first match against Old Mill (Maryland 4A/A champion) and the one against Glenelg (Maryland 2A/1A champion) were no contest.”
He continued, “They were better than us up and down the line. But we held our own in the others and in four of them we were within a match or two of coming away with a victory.”
He added, “We just couldn’t make it happen though.”
In a strange turn of events, Mason’s first opponent Friday was the Statesmen of George Marshall. “Fifty miles to wrestle ‘The Battle of Route 7’,” Harris joked.
In that crosstown match-up, Marshall came out the victor by a 50-18 margin to claim the bragging rights this year.
“They are a very good team,” continued Harris, “but especially at 112, 189 and 215. The guys they have at those weights will probably be state medalists this year.”
“Three of the matches were decided by one point, and two of those went into overtime. I think we held our own against them overall,” Harris said.
He added, “We’ll definitely be better prepared next year.”
Harris was quick to point out that valuable lessons can be learned in this weekend’s defeat.
“It’s easy to forget that we are still a young inexperienced group at this point in time,” he said, noting, “We are just about where we thought we would be success-wise.”
In going forward, Harris said “our guys now have a better appreciation of what it takes to wrestle at such a high level. They are pumped to improve because they see there is nothing that stands between them and their own success but hard work.”
The Mustangs wrestle next on Saturday, Jan. 23, when they will travel to Madison County for the Bull Run District Duals. Start time is 10 a.m.