UGA Qualifies 8 for Nationals
The UGA Wrestling team drove 290 plus miles in three separate vehicles down to Florida A&M University in Tallahasse this past weekend. They also returned home to Athens, Georgia in three seperate vehicles. However it would be remiss to not report the action and emotions between the sun's rising on Friday (2-26-10) and its setting, as foretold, on Saturday (2-27-10).
Upon their arrival into the arena, Mat Dawgs and fans were united with high expectations for the year's hard work and sweat shop practices to pay off. And pay off it did. UGA placed 5th at the Southeast Conference Championships with nine wrestlers (six point scorers). UGA Head Coach Drew Craver, Assistant Coach Bailey, and Head Skills Technician Mark Feeley scrambled the floor to corner the eight wrestlers who qualified for the 2010 NCWA Nationals to be held in Hampton, VA. Senior Alan Taylor (157) and Returning sophomore All American Frankie Miller (125) lead the way, both placing 2nd in the SEC. Fans look forward to seeing both young men going for medals at Nationals. Mason Deal, with the appetite of a tree snail, cut down to 149 lbs and finished at 3rd. Spectators watching Mason's dominance though the consolation matches were reminded of Dan Gable's epic romp through the 1972 Olympics. First time NCWA wrestler Russell Holzgrefe (184) physically and intellectually outlasted his adversaries. Russell, ironically the official club treasurer, won his last two consecutive matches to "cash in" on a 5th place finish. Two wrestlers of Vietnamese descent, An Pham (141) and Lendl Trieu (125) showed their strategy of picking only a few moves from the wrestling-moves buffet; both placed 6th in the SEC. Regardless of coincidence or conspiracy, the important fact is that both have another chance to showcase their repertoire at Nationals, beginning March 11, 2010. Two other first year NCWA wrestlers Jackson Govatos (149) and Robert Joel Hyder (165) failed to dissappoint. The fans held their collective breath as both wrestlers had to win their final match to place 7th and qualify for Nationals. Both showed extra determination coming into their final match. Jackson pinned with an inside cradle in the first, while Joel woke up a whole 10 minutes before his match. Travis Elrod (141) showed the heart of a lion, refusing to take an injury default despite his damaged collarbone. He continued into the consolations before being pinned by a fluke single-leg tilt. "The kid's got some heart. That's all I have to say," said his final opponent. The team's camraderie was evident thoughout the day, with eight of nine qualifying. An excited national qualifier, Lendl Trieu (125), had no trouble describing his emotions, "It's like Taylor Swift would say, 'Today was a fairytale!'" The Mat Dawgs would like to thank everyone for supporting them. See you at Nationals!