Patriots Set for CAA Wrestling Championships

Posted: March 6, 2003 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

While George Mason wrestling Head Coach Brian Shaffer and his team would like to forget the 2002-03 season as a whole, he and the Patriots hope the next few weeks give them something to smile about. The Patriots have struggled through multiple injuries to a 2-12 dual-meet record this season, including a 2-6 mark in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). But the performances of several individual Patriots this weekend at the CAA Championships could wipe away much of the disappointment.

The CAA Championships will be held tomorrow and Saturday at Hofstra Arena in Hempstead, N.Y. Competition begins at 2 p.m. on Friday and continues at 10 a.m. on Saturday. The top two finishers in each of the 10 weight classes and seven wild card selections will advance to the NCAA Championships on March 20-22 at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Mo.

Three Patriots, led by nationally ranked junior Rob Becker, should be seeded among the top six in their individual weight classes. Becker, 27-5 overall and ranked 16th in the nation by InterMat, is currently ranked second in the CAA at 149 pounds, while sophomore Aaron Suranofsky is 15-7 overall and ranked fourth at 125. Junior Sean Early is 16-11 and ranked sixth at 157.

Becker should provide George Mason with its best chance of extending its streak of having at least one wrestler advance to the NCAA Championships for the 18th straight year. Runner-up in the CAA at 141 last season, Becker won 1 of his 3 matches in his first trip to the national tournament. This season, each of his five losses have come to a nationally ranked wrestler, and he enters the CAA Championships having won 6 consecutive matches and 16 of his last 17.

“We like Rob’s chances of advancing strongly through the CAA Championships, winning the conference title and becoming an All-American [finishing in the top eight] at the NCAA Championships,” says Shaffer.

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