F&M fell to Princeton University 31-7 and George Mason University 30-7 at home at the Alumni Sports & Fitness Center Saturday. The team now has an overall record of 6-6, with a 1-3 conference record.
Princeton now holds a 1-8 record, and George Mason 4-12.
In other wrestling news, Richard Durso ’15 won his 30th win wearing a F&M jersey, an impressive statistic not many collegiate wrestlers attain. Durso, in fact, is the second wrestler in F&M wrestling history to reach his 300th win.
“Richard Durso has achieved a national ranking, which is huge for our program because it shows that you can have national sucess on the Division I level at a small liberal arts college, where the rest of the ahletics at this school are Division III,” said Andrew Murano ’14.
Mike Rogers, head coach of the F&M wrestling team, has been with the team for three years now and has completely revamped the program.
“The team’s dual-meet record is better than it has been in many years and our coaching staff has had a huge influence on that,” Durso said. “If you look back on past performances and compare them to more recent ones, it’s easy to see how far our program has come in just the past three years.”
“Many of the guys also have winning records individually, which is huge and just shows the progression that has occurred,” Murano said.
The team attributes their coaching staff as the reason for their success.
“[Our coaches] don’t just care about how we do in our wrestling careers but they care about how we do outside the wrestling room as well. They put everything they have into what they do and work with each of us to help reach our full potentials,” Durso said.
The team has come a long way over the past few years, and the F&M wrestling program plans to only continue this improvement.
The conference tournament is on the horizon, beginning March 8, and the team is gearing up for success, both individually and as a team.
“We need to make sure we are doing everything right both on and off the mats in order give ourselves the best opportunity to perform well at Conferences and advance to the NCAA tournament,” said Eric Norgard ’13.
For the next month or so the team is going to maintain routine, challenging practices.
“We are going to continue practicing at an intense pace until late February, and then begin to taper off in terms of training and focus on certain things that each wrestler needs to improve on in preparation for success at the conference tournament,” Murano said. “Coach Rogers is very good at managing our practices so that we can show up to the conference tournament ‘fresh,’ and not feeling the repercussions of the stressful college season that we have endured.”
Soon after the conference tournament are the NCAA Championships on March 21 in Des Moines, Illinois. The team hopes, and anticipates, wrestlers to be sent to the championships, where they would compete against the best collegiate wrestlers in the nation, at the Wells Fargo Arena.
The team has been preparing for these championships all year.
“Wrestling season is a year-long commitment, there is no ‘off-season,’” Murano said.
The team underwent a particularly brutal preseason. Every day during preseason the team would have two organized workouts, either a lift and conditioning workout, or a lift and wrestling workout.
“The pre-season is extremely important for many reasons. It establishes our cardio, which we have been known for as a team, it gets the guys thinking about the upcoming season and the preparation required for a successful season,” Murano said. “It also gets a chance for us to get close with the new freshman that have just come in.”
This year, the team welcomed eight first-years onto the team, a big number for a team of 19.
Despite the losses to Princeton and George Mason this weekend, the team is off to a good start.
“So far this season has been a success, but it is not over yet and we can still achieve more success going into February,” Murano said.
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