Strong Solo Performances Boost Young Wrestling Team

This past weekend in the Raider Classic at Loudon County High School, the George Mason High School wrestling team saw both the return of their starting 152-pounder and their first team victory of the season.

Junior Grant Hagler returned to the mat Saturday after an extended off-season to lead the team to a 51-12 victory over Heritage High School and win the team MVP award for the day. In the teams’ five matches, Hagler went 4-1 with three pins and earned a total of 24 points for the team.

Despite losing its four other matches as a team to Paul VI, Briar Woods, Tuscarora and Falls Church high schools, the Mason team was within a few matches of a victory each time and its players celebrated many individual successes.

After a strong showing at the NoVa Classic two weeks ago, junior captain Jack Stricker followed up his effort by earning four more victories at the 138-pound weight class. Stricker was dominant on the mat in a 12-1 victory over Tuscarora’s Sean Cassar and a win by fall in the second period over Briar Woods’ Ben Grover. Stricker’s sole loss came at the hands of Tommy Car, one of the top-ranked independent school wrestlers in the DC metro region.

Junior Max Aifer (126) and freshman Hunter Sulc (145) both had four-win days, with a single tough loss each. Junior captain Sarah Gompper (113) doubled up her win total from last season with two hard-fought victories.

“Our veterans on the team are still only second- and third-year wrestlers, but today they really stepped up,” said Coach Bryan Harris. “We’ve still got a lot of work to do, but with the effort that I see in the room during practice, I’m excited to see where we’re at in another month.”

The team will travel just up Route 7 this weekend for the Battle of Falls Church at George C. Marshall High School, where the Mustangs will compete against Marshall, J.E.B. Stuart and Falls Church high schools to see which team is the toughest in the greater Falls Church area.