Patriots Fifth in CAA Wrestling Preseason Rankings

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

The George Mason wrestling team is ranked fifth, and seven individuals are among the top six wrestlers in their respective weight classes in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) preseason rankings. The team and individual rankings were announced after voting by the 11 CAA head coaches. George Mason received 20 points in the voting to trail two-time defending CAA champion Hofstra University (47), Rider University (35), Drexel University (29), and Boston University (27) in the team rankings.

The seven Patriots ranked among the top six in the individual weight classes tied Boston for the fourth-most for any CAA team. Only Rider (all 10 projected starters are ranked), Hofstra (9) and Drexel (8) had more wrestlers selected in the preseason rankings.

Seniors Rob Becker and Adrian Austin lead the George Mason individuals–they are ranked first at 141 and 149 pounds, respectively. Senior Sean Early and juniors Aaron Suranofsky and P.J. Ross are ranked fifth at 165, 125 and 174, respectively, while junior Nick Webster (184) and freshman Harry Zander (197) are each ranked sixth.

“Being ranked fifth in the conference in the preseason shows the respect the other coaches have for our program, especially after we’ve had two disappointing years,” says Head Coach Brian Shaffer, who begins his ninth season at the helm of the Patriots. “We expect each of the wrestlers to maintain their ranking and improve upon it as the season progresses.”

The Patriots are looking to rebound from a sub-par 2-12 dual-meet record last season, including a 2-6 mark in the CAA and a seventh-place finish at the CAA Championships. In the 12-year history of CAA wrestling, George Mason has won five conference championships and produced 40 NCAA qualifiers, including All-Americans in John Curtis and Matt Finacchio.

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