Despite recent problems with injuries to three starters and without the Lailari brothers, Mason’s wrestlers managed to come away with a victory over Wakefield 48-12. They lost their matches to Potomac School, 48-37, and Route 7 rival George C. Marshall, 56-14.
The contest against Potomac, which was the final dual of the year, was a nail biter. The match began at
119 and had been a seesaw battle from the start, with Mason taking the lead, 31-30, at the end of the 189-pound bout on the strength of victories by Ben Tourkin, Teddy Rueckert, Keiyon Tyler, Sam Dittmar and Manuel Veiga-Diaz, only to see the lead slip away after pins at 215 and 285 and a Mason forfeit at 103.
By the time of Danny Seidita’s match at 112, the Mustangs trailed Potomac, 48-31, and there was no way to win. Seidita gave the team a lead in victories with a 26-10 record and put him one ahead of Veiga-Diaz, who finished at 25-11.
The only other Mason wrestler to break the 20 victory mark was Teddy Rueckert, who finished the season 22-8. The final match score of 48-37 in favor of Potomac brought the Mustang’s season mark to 12-18, which despite the sub .500 average, established a new record for dual meet wins in a season.
In a rematch of an earlier “Battle of Route 7,” the Mustangs fell to the Statesmen by a lopsided 61-15.
“Right now they are too good for us,” said Mason Head Coach Bryan Harris. “But we needed the good competition they provided and we will benefit from it greatly.”
Now that the regular season has concluded, Mason turns its focus to Saturday’s Region B Northern Section tournament, held at Stonewall Jackson High School. Only four wrestlers per weight class will advance to the Region B tournament.
“We have to forget that we have several weight classes where we don’t have anyone and each guy has to find a way to work around his injuries,” said Harris of the upcoming tournament. “Right now, the wrestling becomes an individual effort and each guy has to do what it takes to get himself to the next level.”
Early favorites to advance are Seidita at 112, Lailari at 145, Rueckert at 152 and Veiga-Diaz at 189.
“We expect Danny to be first, Manuel to be second and both Teddy and Natan to be third,” Harris said. “And if a couple of things go our way, Ben Tourkin (125), Sam Dittmar (171) and Mike Larcamp (285) could end up with fourth place seeds. That doesn’t mean those guys are shoe-ins or that our other guys are out of it,” he said. “Being seeded is an advantage but everybody has to come with their ‘A’ game Saturday.”
The rest of the Mason lineup for this weekend is Shaheer Ahmed (119), Alborz Alaeddini (135), Ze’ev Lailari (140), Keiyon Tyler (160) and Alex Castueble (215).
“We have high hopes and a lot of confidence in these guys and feel they can do the job,” said Harris, “but they are what we would call ‘on the bubble.’ It sounds like a cliché to say that whoever wants it most will advance but that really is the case sometimes. They have the conditioning and skill and now they need to put it to use and create their own success.”
The senior recognition ceremony which had been scheduled for Saturday was postponed until this Thursday, Feb. 4. It will be held during halftime of the boy’s basketball game against Clarke County.
In an interesting side note, another bit of Mason history was made Tuesday, Jan. 26, when the Drexel University Dragons came to Washington, D.C. to take on the American University Eagles in a matchup of two Division I college wrestling teams. With 2009 Mason graduate David Ray on the Drexel squad and 2006 Mason graduate Nick Pitas wrestling for American, it marked the first time ever two former Mason wrestlers were on opposite sides of a collegiate wrestling match. American took the win 40-6.