Mason Wrestling Thanksgiving Clinic


Join Mason wrestling and burn off some turkey!

Click here for the 2014 Thanksgiving Wrestling Clinic.

Patriot Alumni Giving Challenge

Misc4Mason Wrestling Family:
Thanks to the generosity of Dan and Patty Wotring, Mason Athletics is embarking on an Alumni-Athlete giving challenge in which $5,000 will be awarded to the team that meet the following criteria;
$3,000 will be awarded to the sport with the highest percentage of alumni-athlete giving
$1,000 will be awarded to the sport with the most improved percentage of alumni-athlete giving from the previous fiscal year
$1,000 will be awarded to the sport with the highest percentage of young alumni-athlete giving.  A young alumnus is a graduate of the past five years (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014).
To make a donation or to learn more about the challenge please Click Here.
The following are reasons to make a donation to the Wrestling program:
•The alumni-athlete giving challenge is a participation goal; all donations are critical.  Last year we had 100% participation from the class of 2013.  The donation is tax deductible.
•Last year we won $1,000 for having the biggest improvement in alumni-athlete giving from the previous year.  However, we lost the other two categories to Men’s Tennis and the Masonettes.
•$5,000 will make a significant difference in our ability to participate in some of the top matches in the country.
•Due to generous contributions from alumni, we have been able to send our team to out-of-season competitions.  For example, we will be able to send 19 wrestlers to the University Freestyle and Greco-Roman Nationals on May 22-25.  I am confident we will have one of the largest contingents of wrestlers from any college program. •We are continuing to grow and build as a program. Winning this challenge will continue to move the program forward.
•We need alumni support.  From working with the current team members, attending our competitions, or making a donation.
•We are trying to create a team culture where excellence is part of everything we do.  I believe if guys are making excellent choices in life, school, training we will see it translate in to excellence in competition.  We could use a win in the Alumni Challenge to help the guys believe in the program plan.
•The first five alums who show up at the wrestling office with a donation check can grab a Mason Alumni hat from my office.  They are currently sitting on top of the refrigerator that was handed down from Coach Shaffer to Coach Weader and now down to me.
•When this challenge ends we will be under new leadership.  Our new Athletic Director is scheduled to start on July 1.  It would be great, if one of the first duties as Athletic Director, our new boss was able to congratulate the wrestling team on winning the Alumni Challenge.
Please encourage your fellow alumni to give to the program, tell others about the alumni-athlete giving challenge by forwarding this email, posting a link on your Facebook page, send a tweet, a letter, or make a phone call.  Help us grow because once a Mason Wrestler you are forever connected to the program.
Go Patriots,
Joe Russell
Head Wrestling Coach
George Mason University

Six Wrestlers Earn Medals at Nationals

George Mason wrestlers participated in the ASICS University & FILA Cadet Nationals this past weekend at the University of Akron.

Wrestling Program Honored by NWCA for Academic Success

Sophomore Jake Kettler and the George Mason Wrestling program were honored by the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) for their academic success.

George Mason Joins Eastern Wrestling League

The George Mason wrestling program has accepted an invitation to join the Eastern Wrestling League (EWL), announced today by assistant vice president/director of athletics Tom O'Connor.

Wrestling Announces End of the Year Award Winners

The George Mason wrestling team held an end of the year banquet at Brion's Grille this past Sunday, May 5th.

Wrestling Will Host End of the Year Awards Banquet Sunday

The George Mason wrestling team will host an end of the year awards banquet this Sunday, May 5, at Brion's Grille from 5-7 p.m.

CAA Championships

We went to Boston University over the weekend to compete in the CAA Championships. We traveled via air. I was surprised most of the guys on the team have not traveled much by air. It made the trip more enjoyable. We were fortunate our flight was not canceled as we flew into a snow storm. Other teams had tougher travel.

We finished in last place overall, which is never fun. I had hoped we had made enough progress during the year to close the gap on other teams. We did improve, but are still behind. In my two years at Mason we have yet to win a conference dual. I find that disheartening. On the negative side, we were 8-20. We only had 3 placers, no champs.

On the positive side, we were more competitive this year. In 2012, we had 3 guys win matches at the conference tournament. This year, we had 6. In other matches, we were more competitive. We lost some close matches and in others were able to hold our ground better. We scored 6 bonus points (2 pins and 2 majors). If you look squarely at what we were expected to do on paper (seeds and ranking), 8 guys wrestle at or above their pre-tournament ranking. We had 2 guys who probably wrestled below. Thus, on paper, we had a much improved tournament.

For the most part, I was pleased with our effort and attitude. Guys wrestled hard. It is hard to see guys fall short of their goals. The more you have put into something, the more it hurts when you don’t get it. Tears were shed on Saturday night. It was a tough night.

The 3 seniors that wrestled in the tournament are now dealing with the questions of “what now?” I know it is a tough time for a college wrestler. There is no next year. There is no second chance. Rich Lavorato and Jaaziah Bethea both finished 4th place, both guys were unseeded, scored bonus points and placement points for their team. I know both wanted more and planned on wrestling next week at the national tournament. Nevertheless, they contributed to their team. Ty Knepp did not place, but he went down swinging. I think when you compete as hard as you can it is easier to walk away with no regrets.

A few years ago, Jayson Ness taught me a great lesson. He had just lost in the NCAA finals his sophomore year. I was fuming and freighting over his loss. I wanted him to win badly. I was angry that he did not win. When we were walking off the arena floor and into the tunnel, he turned to me and said, “I wrestled as hard as I could. I tried my best. I guess God had a different plan for me.” At that moment, I was ashamed at my attitude. Jayson’s perspective and attitude helped me grow that night as a coach and person. If you truly give your best effort and have a great attitude, you can walk away with no regrets.

Jake Kettler wrestled a good tournament. He won by pin in his quarter-final match. In his semi-final match, he won 9-2. The guy he beat in the semi-finals had beaten him earlier in the year. In the finals, he came up short.

Since there was only one qualifier at his weight class, he did not automatically qualify for the national tournament. Thus, we have spent a few days awaiting the committee’s decision on the at-large entrants at his weight class. I also delayed posting my blog until we knew the decision. I was very happy when we saw his name on the list of competitors.

We crunched the numbers and thought Jake deserved to be in, but until you see it, you don’t know. I am happy Jake is fulfilling a dream. The waiting has been tough, but now we need to focus on getting him physically and mentally ready to compete. It is a great problem to have.

Old Dominion University

Guys wrestled with greater effort at Old Dominion. I was pleased to see them improve mentally from the previous week. There was a greater belief they could compete for 7 minutes. We lost the dual 25-6, but did gain some confidence. I was pleased to see Greg Flournoy wrestle with great focus for 7 minutes. He can do great things. I was also pleased to see Jake Kettler score 5 points at the end of the match to win. If there is time on the clock, there is time to score. Jake showed the team it can be done by wrestling all 7 minutes.

We struggled most with our offense on our feet and getting out from on bottom. We have spent many hours working on our ability to escape or reverse our opponents. We will continue to do so, until we have solved the problem. This week we will concentrate on two key areas: Attitude and Plan.

When we are on bottom we need to have a sense of urgency. We need to believe no one can ride us. Our opportunity on bottom has to be seen as an opportunity to score points. We need to believe in our ability to score from bottom. We need to be willing to put forth the effort to score. The more I move, the more I am wearing down my opponent and the movement also helps create opportunities for me to score points.

We need to have a plan even before the whistle is blown. Our body must be set in a manner that gives us the greatest advantage. On the whistle, we need to explode. We must force our opponent to react more to us than we do to our opponent. When we move we need our upper body moving and one leg. Our pressure needs to be back into our opponent. Thus keeping the weight off our hands and allowing us to clear our hips from our opponent. Using back pressure and movement we need to keep moving until we score. It may take us several attempts to score.

Our last dual of the year will be Thursday night at Maryland. Since Maryland is so close to GMU, I hope we will have a good turnout of people to support the team. After the dual, the fun part of the season begins. We will begin preparing for the CAA and NCAA tournaments.

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