For the second week in a row, George Mason High School’s varsity wrestling coach Bryan Harris
spent the bus ride back from an event stressing about his team’s fate.His Mustangs had just completed the Bull Run District Duals at Madison County High School with a 1-4 record, but he was more concerned about the health of several of his starters.
The day before the Duals, 125-pound wrestler Jackson Thomas had been declared out of the lineup due to a shoulder injury, and the day prior to that Harris had received word that starting 103-pound wrestler John Glover had a concussion and was likely done for the season.
To top it off, starter Alborz Alaeddini had aggravated an old injury at the Duals and his season’s fate was up in the air, too.
“These guys have worked so hard and now their season may be over just when it really matters,” said Coach Harris.
“I know they are disappointed and upset. Everyone on the team is a little shellshocked at the suddenness of it. Two weeks ago, the team was flying high and now they are pretty down. We don’t have anyone available to replace them, so we will enter the final week of the regular season and the postseason with holes at those spots,” Harris continued. “We all feel pretty bad for those guys.”
As to the weekend results, there may have been little for the team as a whole to celebrate, but several individuals stood out, particularly Danny Seidita, Manuel Veiga-Diaz and Natan Lailari. Performing well at the Duals is important because it is one of the primary methods of seeding entries in the postseason District tournament.
With a perfect 5-0 record against his district competition, Seidita has likely earned himself the number one seed in the upcoming Bull Run District (BRD) Tournament. His victories included two pins and convincing wins over Clarke’s Ben Genda, who was seventh in the state last year, and Manassas Park’s Victor Cruz, a state qualifier last year.
Veiga-Diaz overcame a 16-13 opening round loss to the state’s third-ranked Rob Wallace of Clarke County to roll through the rest of his competition. Along the way, Veiga-Diaz recorded three pins, including one in 12 seconds over Madison’s Chris McHaney, to solidify a likely number two seed in the BRD tournament.
One of the meet’s surprises was 145-pound wrestler Natan Lailari, who came away 3-2. By many accounts, his weight class was the toughest at the Duals, and Lailari’s efforts will help him get the number three seed at the Districts. Of particular note was Lailari’s win over eighth-ranked Daniel Clement of Rappahannock County.
“Natan has been improving very rapidly lately and it shows in today’s positive results,” Harris said. “Clement is a well-known and highly regarded wrestler and Natan handled him very well. He has positioned himself nicely for the postseason.”
All in all, Harris said he was pleased with the efforts of his charges. Teddy Rueckert, Keiyon Tyler, Ben Tourkin, Alex Castueble and Mike Larcamp were 2-3 after the day but Harris said he chose to see the bright side of their efforts.
“Teddy was sick all day so he was not at his best,” he explained. “He will still be the number four seed, and with a little luck, so will the rest of the group. That will put them in a decent position in the tournament. After that, it is up to them to show they can do the job.”
“The mind set changes in the postseason,” Harris added. “Naturally, we want every wrestler to win it all, but in reality, the goal is to progress to the next level.
Harris said, “Everyone’s primary concern is to get through the district tournament and advance to the regional tournament, and from there to the state tournament. Each of these guys had one or two close losses, so with a couple of additional weeks of work, they have a chance to do just that. No one is out of it at this point.”
Mason wraps up its regular season this coming Saturday, Jan. 30 with a home meet in the Mason Pit.
Mason will host Brooke Point, Wakefield, Potomac School and Stafford in a dual meet round robin. It will also be senior recognition day. Wrestling starts at 10 a.m.