Submission by Aaron Martinez
The George Mason High School wrestling team’s postseason started this past Saturday as the team traveled to Strasburg High School for the district tournament. The team was only one match away from winning a district title but fell short of its goal. The Mustangs finished 4-1 on the day with wins over Central (60-24), Madison Co. (70-12) Rappahannock Co. (71-12), and Clarke (48-33). The team’s only loss was to rival Strasbrug in a nail-biter to say the least. The dual came down to the final match where the score was tied 36-36. Strasburg ultimately prevailed and won the dual 42-36 to claim the district crown.
The Mustangs finished 4-1 on the day with wins over Central (60-24), Madison Co. (70-12) Rappahannock Co. (71-12) and Clarke (48-33). The team’s only loss was to rival Strasbrug in a nail-biter, to say the least. The dual came down to the final match where the score was tied 36-36. Strasburg ultimately prevailed and won the dual 42-36 to claim the district crown.
In the first matchup of the day, Mason beat Central with pins from 145 pound senior West Hagler and 195 pound sophomore Carlos Shields. Hagler’s decisive victory against his rival and returning state qualifier Jacob Scibelli set the tone for the rest of his undefeated day.
In the second round the team dominated Madison County with a staggering eight pins, including an impressive thirty three second pin by 113lb senior Bryan Villegas against Quasseem Garland. Mason’s 220 pound freshman Alex Rios also earned his first varsity win in this dual by a score of 11-2.
In the following round, Mason handled Rappahannock County with pins from Villegas, 120 pound freshman Daniel Martinez, 132 pound junior Farhid Negahban, Hagler and 152 pound sophomore Nate Jaramillo.
The competition only got harder for Mason as the day went on. Mason’s next opponent was a solid Clarke County team, but the Mustangs were more than up for the task. Clarke earned consecutive pins at the 126 and 132 weight classes, but Junior Spencer Marcus put a stop to two-loss streak with a pin against his opponent in the 138 weight class. Mason would go on to earn pins in the 145, 160, 170, 195, 285, 106 and 113 weight classes to build a strong lead. The most exciting match of the dual was the 182 pound match between Mason’s freshman Justin Cerullo and Clarke’s Roger Tapscott III. Cerullo ended up losing the match 10-8, but was close to completing an impressive comeback.
Mason’s fifth and final match was against Strasburg. Mason lost to Strasburg last year 32-37 and had the goal of defeating them this year. Mason lost the first two bouts at 132 and 138 by pin to Strasburg’s Peyton Stickles and Jaylon Burks. Hagler then took a forfeit at 145. In the next match Jaramillo pinned his opponent, Collin Reynolds, in the first round in an electrifying match to tie the dual. Mason’s 160 pound wrestler, Connor Murray, took a forfeit giving Mason a six point lead. Senior 170 pounder Nick Zaenger got pinned by Strasburg wrestler Alec Campbell. Cerullo would go on to win his 182 pound match by decision and Shields took a forfeit for mason at 195 giving the mustangs a 10 point lead. Mason forfeited the 220 pound match and Strasburg’s 285 pound wrestler, Levi Miller, pinned Mason’s Kevin Kim to secure a three point lead. In the next bout, Strasburg’s senior Austin Stickles pinned Mason’s Ed Kennedy, but Villegas answered with a quick pin against Strasburg freshman Anakin Burks. In order to have a chance at winning the dual, Daniel Martinez needed to win his match against Strasburg’s Zach Asher. Martinez and Asher had split matches so far this year with Martinez winning the latest. Martinez ended up winning this match by a score of 1-0, giving Mason a fighting chance. In the final bout, Strasburg’s Cole Ramey pinned Mason’s Alex Madar to finish out the dual and give Strasburg the 42-36 win.
In addition to stellar team performance, the team also saw impressive individual success. Mason had eight wrestlers receive medals for placing top two in their respective weight classes. Bryan Villegas (113), West Hagler (145), Connor Murray (160) and Carlos Shields (195) each won individual titles. While Daniel Martinez (120), Spencer Marcus (138), Nate Jaramillo (152), and Nick Zaenger (170) were runner ups. The highlight of the day occurred when Villegas, a senior and team captain, won the Bull Run District Outstanding Wrestler Award. Villegas finished the tournament with four pins en route to his third district title.
Head wrestling coach Aaron Martinez was excited about the team’s success as a whole. “The team worked hard in preparation for the tournament and wrestled with passion and toughness. Very proud of the effort which was reflected in Bryan winning the Outstanding Wrestler award.”
Mason’s next test will be the regional tournament at Strasburg this Saturday. The team will send a full line up to the tournament in hope of another exciting performance.