Fauquier High product Greg Flournoy shows potential at George Mason
George Mason's Greg Flournoy hopes to become the second Fauquier High product to qualify for the NCAA championships. --Photo courtesy of George Mason University
Now it’s Greg Flournoy’s turn to wait.
Fortunately, for only four days.
George Mason University wrestling coach Joe Russell has been waiting for Flournoy to bloom since the Fauquier High graduate joined the Patriots in the summer of 2011.
He waited last season as Flournoy made a 19-pound adjustment to the college weight class of 149.
He waited as Flournoy recovered from a torn meniscus. And he continued to wait when Flournoy tore his meniscus a second time.
This season he waited as Flournoy adjusted to his role as a starter at 149 and began slowly with a 0-4 record. But the wait ended during a dual Feb. 14 when Flournoy upset Old Dominion’s Alexander Richardson, who was ranked No. 2 in the Colonial Athletic Association and No. 30 in the NCAA.
A redshirt freshman, Flournoy was also named CAA Wrestler of the Week.
“He’s a very talented wrestler and has all the skills he needs,” Russell said. “It’s one of those wins that can help you make a big step forward. ... The biggest thing in the last few weeks is just the mental belief in himself.”
Now self-assured, Flournoy has high expectations for the postseason.
He’s been waiting for the CAA championship meet since Feb. 19, when he closed the regular season with a 2-1 victory over Maryland’s Danny O’Malley.
“I’ve got to place top-two [in the CAA] to make it to nationals, and that’s what I want to do,” Flournoy, 19, said. “If I wrestle like I did against [Richardson], why not?”
The CAA tournament is March 9 in Boston and the NCAA Division I championships is March 21-23 in Des Moines, Iowa.
Last season, Virginia Tech’s Chris Moon became the first Fauquier High product to qualify for the NCAA championships.
Flournoy would be the second. He finished his high school career in 2011 with a 172-34 record, a total that ranks fourth in Fauquier High history.
Flournoy has a 14-14 record this season with a 2-4 mark in the CAA, but his transition to college wrestling was interrupted by injury, which had a lingering effect early this winter, he said.
“I wasn’t wrestling well. I was getting tired,” said Flournoy, who wrestled at 135 pounds as a Fauquier senior. “It took a little time to get used to the college pace and level. As the season’s gone on I feel like I’ve gotten comfortable. I’m wrestling as well as I can.”
The 5-foot-6 wrestler posted a 3-5 record last season before first injuring his knee in December 2011. He used an injury redshirt only to tear his meniscus again and have it removed.
“But you could tell even then that he was good,” Russell said. “His potential is really big. He’s still adjusting as a freshman in college and that can be a little tough sometimes, but … I really have high hopes for him the rest of season and the rest of career.”
Flournoy has the fifth most wins on a George Mason team that finished with a 4-16 dual record.
When the Patriots lost to Old Dominion, 25-6, Flournoy scored half their points thanks to his 5-1 victory over Richardson.
“It was as huge win for me; the biggest wins I’ve had so far in college,” said Flournoy, who will likely pursue a business major.
“It shows what I can really do on the college level. … I can wrestle with these [nationally-ranked] kids.”
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Other Fauquier wrestlers in college programs
Chris Moon: Fauquier High product is using a redshirt at Virginia Tech as a junior, but he’s continuing the success he experienced last season with the Hokies. Moon wrestled in a handful of 2012-13 open tournaments as an unattached wrestler (doesn’t contribute to Tech’s teams scores), culminating Feb. 24 with first-place finish at the National Collegiate Open in Richmond. He won the 165-pound championship by going 5-0 and pinning Kent State’s Tyler Buckwalter in the finals. Moon beat Illinois' Jackson Morse in the semifinals (2-1), Hofstra’s Frank Affronti in the quarterfinals (3-0), Rutgers’ Anthony Volpe in the second round (3-1) and Maryland’s Nick LoBue in the first round (9-1). Earlier this season, Moon placed third at the Edinboro Open and third at the Purple Raider Open. Last season, he qualified for the NCAA Division I championships by placing second at 174 pounds during the ACC championships.
Ryan Hunsberger: Like Greg Flournoy, Fauquier graduate Hunsberger is wrestling at George Mason. The redshirt sophomore has a 1-5 record.
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