Wrestling Falls 22-12 in Close In-State Battle at Mason
Courtesy: SportsPhotoGuy.com for VMI
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FAIRFAX, Va. - In its second match in three days, the Virginia Military Institute wrestling team traveled to Northern Virginia to take on George Mason University Sunday evening. The Patriots took the win 22-12, but the spread was not a true indication of how close the nonconference dual was.

Of the 10 weight classes contested at the Patriots’ Recreation Athletic Complex, five of the bouts were decided by three points or less. George Mason won three of those five matches.

Things started strongly for the Keydets (2-11) as Dalton Henderson won his 125 pound bout by pinning William Prochniewski midway through the third period. The Patriots won the next two weight classes, with a major decision at 133 pounds as Christopher Rodriguez beat VMI’s Michael Flora 15-4.

The 141 pound bout was one of the close matches of the evening. After a scoreless first period, VMI’s Emmitt Kelly elected to start down in the second period, escaping just 10 seconds into the period. Sahid Kargbo took the Keydet to the mat with 40 seconds left in the second but Kelly once again escaped to tie the match 2-2 at the end of the period.

Like Kelly, Kargbo started the third period on bottom. With the match tied, the Patriot wriggled free and got an escape point with 26 seconds left in the match. He sealed the win with a last-second takedown for the 5-2 win.

For the second time in as many dual matches, a weight class needed overtime to decide a winner. After VMI’s Ted Gottwald fell in sudden victory on Friday against Campbell, his teammate and 149-pounder Shabaka Johns reversed VMI’s fortunes with a 6-4 extra time win over Donald Takagi. The decision gave VMI a narrow 9-7 lead through four matches.

Gottwald found himself in another tight match, but fell 2-0 against Greg Flournoy at 157 pounds. The first period was scoreless and Flournoy elected to start the second period on bottom, escaping from Gottwald’s grasp early in the period. No more points were scored in the bout until the final buzzer when Flournoy picked up one point for holding more than a minute of riding time.

The Keydets collected three more team points after the 165-pound bout and grabbed a 12-10 lead over George Mason, thanks to a 7-4 decision from Mark Darr over Ryan Forrest. Darr was down 4-1 at the end of the first period after Forrest took him to the mat twice and escaping from the first takedown. Forrest started the second period on bottom, hoping to get an escape or reversal to add to his lead, but Darr was up to the task and turned Forrest on his back and picked up two nearfall points, pulling within one point, down 4-3. Darr began the third period on bottom, escaped just seven seconds into the period to tie the match 4-4. Thirty seconds later, Darr snagged a takedown and rode out the rest of the clock, amassing 1:39 of riding time and getting the bonus point to win 7-4.

But the Patriots (5-10) ripped off wins in the next four weight classes, all by decision to build to its 22-12 win. The final match of the day was a one-point  decision by Mason’s Jacob Kettler over VMI’s Juan Adams.

The first point of the bout was not scored until the second period when Kettler, who started the stanza on bottom, escaped and grabbed a 1-0 lead which held up through the rest of the period. Adams kicked off the third period on bottom and escaped 25 seconds later, tying the match 1-1. But Kettler took VMI’s big man to the mat with just 34 seconds left in the match and went up 3-1. Adams escaped and pulled within one, but could not complete the rally and fell 3-2.

The Keydets return to Lexington for a dual match with Southern Conference foe Davidson College Friday night at The Thunderdome. Action is set to begin at 7:30 p.m. in Cocke Hall.

Sunday Jan. 19, 2014 - VMI at George Mason - Recreation Athletic Complex - Fairfax, Va.
Wt. Winner (School) Decision Type Loser (School) Bout Score (Running Score VMI-GMU)
125: Dalton Henderson (VMI) win by fall William Prochniewski (GMU) 5:55 (6-0)
133: Christopher Rodriguez (GMU) MAJ DEC Michael Flora (VMI) 15-4 (6-4)
141: Sahid Kargbo (GMU) DEC Emmitt Kelly (VMI) 5-2 (6-7)
149: Shabaka Johns (VMI) SV-1 Donald Takagi (GMU) 6-4 (9-7)
157: Gregory Flournoy (GMU) DEC Ted Gottwald (VMI) 2-0 (9-10)
165: Mark Darr (VMI) DEC Ryan Forrest (GMU) 7-4 (12-10)
174: Zachary Martinez (GMU) DEC Derek Thurman (VMI) 8-4 (12-13)
184: Ryan Hembury (GMU) DEC Hardy Hendren (VMI) 10-3 (12-16)
197: Matt Meadows (GMU) DEC Andrew Embree (VMI) 10-4 (12-19)
285: Jacob Kettler (GMU) DEC Juan Adams (VMI) 3-2 (12-22)