End of Season Outlook

The Future Looks Bright for Mason Wrestling

With the season winding down, and an extremely polished Bloomsburg squad knocking on the door for a final meet before the conference tournament, George Mason’s wrestling team is rising to the challenge. As the second season of Joe Russell’s tenure slips into the rear view mirror, reflections are made on the past two years and optimism prevails.

The competition has gotten tougher each week for the green and gold, but the Patriots have been steadily improving along the way. Their record is littered with close losses to Appalachian State, Brown, and Cleveland State where a turn in luck here and there would have led to a different story. Even individual wrestlers have been within 1-2 points this season on multiple occasions. Those things don’t do anything for the record, but they do provide some great info about the improvement of the wrestling team in general. GMU’s culture has gone through a drastic change in the last two years. With new recruits coming in and a coaching staff that is finishing up its second season the future is incredibly bright.

Joe Russell and Tommy Owens (the head assistant) arrived at George Mason shortly before the start of the 2011-2012 season.  Their stellar reputations preceded them, and the program has been moving in the right direction ever since. “The guys have gotten more comfortable with me. Each has figured out what I expect out of them in not only the wrestling room, but in the class room also. We’re looking for improvement as wrestlers every day, but to also grow as men when not competing”. Joe stated, and continued on “When the conference tournament rolls around, I expect our team to do well. We’re not seeded high in any weight class, but we’ve had guys make improvements all year long. We’re gonna upset some guys in these last few weeks”.  With that, you see how the mindset is starting to change in Fairfax.  Mason isn’t looking to survive against these highly skilled teams. They are looking to win.

Bloomsburg’s wrestlers have a great record this year.  They have five guys ranked in the top 20 throughout the ten weight classes in collegiate competition. Each wrestler in their group has had success at one point or another this year. When Joe was asked about these things, and how his team was approaching the match up, excitement is the word that comes to mind: “Bloomsburg is a tough group of guys, and I think ranked in the top 15 the last time I checked. We’re going to put ten guys on the mat, and I am looking for our team to go 10-0. That might not happen, and we might take some losses, but I’m a glass half full type of guy. We’re looking to finish this year on a positive note.”

With the seeds for success firmly planted in the Mason wrestling room, and a drive in recruiting to get the best and brightest wrestlers possible, the sky is the limit.

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