By Rebecca Moot
The George Mason High School winter sports season will soon arrive, and athletes already have been hard at work preparing for the contests ahead. All of the winter sports teams have had tryouts, and new and returning players are undertaking routine practices to ensure they are in good condition to perform.
Though the teams have graduated all-star players since last season, current players are working hard to continue the solid performance record of recent winter sports season.
The boys basketball team has sprung into action already by competing in scrimmages against Thomas Jefferson and J.E.B. Stuart high schools. The team lost many of its starting players, but has new talent ready to step into those positions. The pressure is on for this team this season to match last season’s accomplishments. Last season, the team had its deepest run in the state tournament since the 1950s, making it all the way to the championship game before falling to Lancaster High School.
“We are really working hard in practice to improve as players and become a more cohesive unit as a team,” freshman George DeMars said. “We are learning all our plays and really coming together, which is why I am so excited for the upcoming season.”
The team will be competing in the Loudoun County Tip-Off Tournament next Thursday and Friday before opening the regular season with a home game against Madison County High School Dec. 11.
The girls basketball team, last year’s state championship winner, is feeling the pressure for repeat success as well. The team lost many talented starters, like Leah Roth and Lauren Kane, and the promising young team includes returning players like senior Stephanie Cheney, who last year broke the school’s all-time scoring record as only a junior.
“It’s going to be a whole different year because we lost so many key players but I am excited to see how everyone is going to step up,” junior starting post player Ashley Alexander said.
Players have been competing in scrimmages to prepare for the season, as well as attending the Virginia Commonwealth University basketball summer camp together.
“The scrimmages are really helpful because it gives everyone a chance to see the different styles in which everyone plays, and helps us mold into a team,” junior Emily Lubnow said.
The team will soon be competing in the Battlefield High School Tip-Off Tournament Dec. 7 and 8 before beginning its season at Madison County High School Dec. 12.
Many well-rounded athletes have taken an interest in swim this season. The team has a large number of strong swimmers. Many swimmers have been practicing in the off seasons, especially in the summer, for this season, and they are looking forward to the chance of repeating last year’s success with this year’s driven team.
Swimmers have been practicing constantly and becoming stronger as individual swimmers and closer as a team.
Both the boys and girls swim teams will open their season Dec. 1 with a meet at Manassas Park Community Center.
The wrestling team lost many good wrestlers, but has gained new talent and is excited about competing this season.
“I’m excited for my first match as a wrestler and maybe some pins. The team this year has been working hard and hopefully the newcomers will step up after losing a lot of wrestlers,” junior Vincent Le said.
The team is starting out with a few scrimmages to prepare for what the season has in store. They are practicing everyday, dieting, and working hard to start off the season successfully.
The team starts its season next Wednesday with a match at Potomac School. Early next month, they will participate in the NoVa Classic wrestling tournament at Fairfax High School.