By Bryan Harris
On Saturday, Feb. 3 the George Mason High School wrestling team travelled to Strasburg for the Bull Run District tournament and came within a takedown of doing something the team has not done in nearly twenty years; win a district title as a team. Despite falling just short of their goal, the team still finished second with four individual champions.
Mason began with Madison County and despite each side giving up a number of weight classes the Mustangs won the head to head battle and the match. Bryan Villegass’ first period pin over Marques Blakey in the 120 pound weight class was followed up by pins from junior West Hagler (138 pounds) and senior Henry Casillas (182 pounds). Mason’s only other senior, Finn Roou, secured a 6-4 victory by getting a takedown in sudden victory overtime help Mustangs win 57-24.
In the second round against Central High School where Hagler took on returning state qualifier Jacob Scibelli in the opening match. Hagler dominated the pace from the first whistle, ultimately earning the fall one minute into the second period. The two teams traded forfeits until Mason’s 106 pound Otto Dorschner lost a tough fight to the younger Scibelli by fall. The Mustangs finished on a high note when Villegass quickly earned his second pin of the day, finishing off Quasseem Garland in just 29 seconds to help Mason win 48-21.
Mason’s third match of the day, against Rappahannock County High School, went much the same as the previous two. Hagler took 6 points for the team by pinning Ethan Leake in just over three minutes, junior captain Jack Felgar pinned his opponent in just a minute and Mason won 60-12.
The fourth round of the tournament pitted the Mustangs against the Strasburg Rams, providing the distinctly purple hometown crowd the most exciting, tightest dual of the day. The match started with an intense fight between Felgar and Strasburg senior captain Alec Campbell, both of whom have their sights set on state medals in two weeks. Felgar secured the lead early with a fierce takedown and never let Campbell take it away, getting an 8-7 decision and an early lead for Mason. The most exciting match of the day came in the 170 pound weight class pitting Mason freshman Carlos Shields against Chase Hart. The two grapplers jockeyed for position through the first two periods but neither wrestler could score a point. In period 3 Hart took the down position, quickly scoring the first point of the match with an escape. Shields scored a takedown with less than a minute left only to have the match tied as Hart escaped with only a few seconds left. The match ran into overtime, and saw Hart earn a takedown to win the match as well as the dual for Strasburg at 37-32.
Mason finished the day and locked up their second place finish against Clarke County getting key wins from Felgar, Hagler and Casillas and won 41-35.
On the whole Coach Martinez was impressed with the way his team fought throughout the day. “There were many of our wrestlers who were down by several points with seconds to go and were still giving max effort to finish strong. And, on the flip side there were many bouts where we were winning but kept pushing for more points until the end.”
Every individual on the team qualified for the regional tournament which will be next Saturday at Stuart’s Draft High School, with wrestling to start at 11 am.