A large crowd of opposing fans roared in the Bullis school athletic center. Five teams, Bullis, Landon, Episcopal, SSSA, and St. Albans, all entered with a similar goal: to dethrone the Hoyas of Georgetown Prep from their lengthy stretch as IAC Champions. On Saturday February 1st, Bullis’ Varsity Wrestling team hosted and competed in the IAC championship. Head coach, Ali Elias, and his assistants, Nathan Stanford and Chris Brown, coached the wrestlers. Former IAC champions, Blake Matthews (’16) and Caden Ulanet (’15), along with senior leader, Rashaad Wise (’14), led the bulldogs into competition. They were led by former IAC champions, Blake Matthews (’16) and Caden Ulanet (’15), along with senior leader, Rashaad Wise (‘’14).
The team was dealing with some injuries heading into IAC’s, as Luke Carls (’17) was coming off a wrist injury and Andres Lopez (’17) was out with a finger injury.
On his not being able to participate, Lopez said, "it honestly sucks because I wanted to [participate] but and I didn't have that opportunity and it kind of bums me out.”
Despite the injuries, a youthful Bullis team entered the tournament with high aspirations. For experience, this year’s team has a winning record and a 1st place finish in the St. James invitational tournament.
Early on, They performed well as everyone entered the semifinals with an opportunity to place.
There was much excitement heading into the semifinals as many wrestlers had intense matches that were decided in the last round. At the end, all but two ended up getting on the podium and placing. Blake won first place in his weight class. The team ended with 121 points - which was good enough for a third place finish. Nevertheless, the team finished the competition feeling as though they had under performed. Many of the wrestlers felt said they could have done better in the tournament. Although the team was young, they were still mature enough to recognize their mistakes.
When asked what he could improve on, freshman Jacob Luterman had quite a lot to say: “I have to work on my mindset, you know I just got to work harder, [and] go to extra practices. Gotta’ get my head straight, can't beat myself, have to want it more [sic].”
While Jacob’s testimony demonstrates the dissatisfaction of the Bulldogs, the squad will have an opportunity to redeem themselves at the state tournament. However, there is a time for redemption as the State tournament is coming up for the Bulldogs. They once again will be carrying high goals into states, as a top four finish for any individual will launch him into Prep Nationals.
When asked if he was ready for states, Stevphen Shollenberger ‘17 said, “I don’t know. I don’t know what it’s going to be like, it’s. It’s going to be some good wrestlers out there so I don’t really know what to expect, so I’ll go out there and give it my best.”
This giving it your best attitude is a sign of many good things to come for a youthful bulldogs team.
For more information on upcoming wrestling events go to http://www.bullis.org/athletics/teamschedule.aspx?TeamID=1248.