“Ray, Schwind and Hillegass.” That’s been the mantra of George Mason High School wrestling for most of this season.
These are the names of Mason’s three very successful wrestlers, a trio of seniors who are leading this year’s Mustang’s for first-year head coach Bryan Harris.
The only other Mustang wrestler to add his name to the list with any regularity has been Manuel Veiga-Diaz, but Harris is hopeful that soon there will be more additions to that phrase and on a regular basis. Given the results of the past weekend when Mason hosted a dual meet round robin in the pit, he may soon get his wish.
Once again, this trio shined as each won all three of their matches by pin. In doing so, Tim Hillegass ran his season record to 17-7, Jake Schwind to 21-5 and David Ray remained undefeated at 20-0.
The big news, however, is that there were several other names to go along with these three in the win column. Danny Seidita at 112, Benson Ting at 125 and Sam Dittmar at 189 all went 2-1 on the day.
Dittmar is a junior who sat out last year and has been struggling to shake off the rust of the year’s absence. On Saturday, he looked like the wrestler Harris has been hoping would eventually emerge. “Sam finally looked comfortable on the mat,” said Harris. “Up until this point he has appeared a little tentative and unsure of himself, but Saturday he looked smooth and confident. He could easily have gone 3-0 but he made a little mistake in his second match and payed for it.”
Both Ting and Seidita are first year wrestlers and it has been inexperience which has plagued them all season. “Wrestling has a steep learning curve”, said Harris. “Not only are you trying to master intricate skills but you are doing it while someone is doing his best to beat you up. Both Benson and Danny have been working hard so it is gratifying to see their work pay off.”
Ting is a senior who decided to give wrestling a shot before he graduates and Seidita is an up and coming freshman. Each is also involved in another Mason sport. Ting is the starting center fielder for coach Amerine’s baseball team and Seidita is one of coach Bravin’s future cross country stars.
The success of so many individuals also had an unexpected result Saturday as Mason captured a rare dual meet victory, defeating Kettle Run 54-18.
Mason wrestled well against Lee to start the day but the score didn’t reflect it as the Mustangs absorbed a 60-21 loss. Against a team from Fauquier County High School, Mason again wrestled well in defeat, but this time the score was a respectable 39-33.
It was against Kettle Run that it finally all came together. “We still don’t fill all the weight classes so a dual meet victory is an added bonus,” observed Harris. “We forfeit three or four weights each match, so that puts us in a big point deficit to start each match.”
He added, “The Kettle Run match was our third of the day and the confidence and momentum which had been building throughout the day carried into that match. Everyone was pumped and wrestled the best I have seen all season as a team. Jackson (Thomas), Alborz (Alaeddini), Teddy (Rueckert) and Manuel (Veiga-Diaz) came through big time and put us over the hump. I sure hope we can sustain this momentum for the rest of the year.”
Next up for the Mustangs is the Bull Run District dual meet marathon this Saturday, Jan. 17, at Strasburg. During the day each BRD school will wrestle the others, which means 5 matches for each team. Wrestling starts at 10 a.m. and one $5 fee covers all the wrestling matches.