Mason Wrestlers reload for another GMC title run

Junior Sam Libby and senior Logan Kopfler square off in a practice session.  

Divy Bose | The Chronicle

The Mason Comets wrestlers are back on the mat and they have high expectations to pin down another Greater Miami Conference championship. 

The Comets will hit the mats with several newcomers. Thirty-three percent of the team consists of first year wrestlers, making this season one of development and potential surprises. Head coach Nicholas Maffey aspires for this season to be full of growth for the young Comets to continue their success in the conference.

“Since Mason’s inception to the GMC, it has been ‘The Great Mason Comets Show’ in wrestling, winning 11 of the last 12 league titles,” Maffey said. “However, our opponents are worthy and have shown huge improvements over the last few years.”

The varsity lineup has experienced an overhaul after losing seniors like Owen Amburgy and Dominic Ditullio, who placed fourth and sixth at state respectively. One of the returning varsity members, junior Sam Libby, has taken on a position of leadership. 

Libby is one of the team’s standouts after finishing first in the 132 pound weight class in the GMC last year. Now competing in the 152 pound weight class, Libby said he hopes that stepping into a higher role will help him improve on the mat and contribute to the team’s overall success.

“It’s so cool to see my teammates look up to me now as an essential team leader,” Libby said. “We have a great shot at state and I have progressed so far from last year’s matches.” 

Apart from the leadership from returning team members, Maffey said that new legacies will be built this year. The youth side of the team this season consists of two freshmen, Josh Ullom and Lucas Lippeatt, who are expected to see some varsity action this year. 

“There’s nothing more fun than watching young guys step up and become superstars,” Maffey said. “This year we will see more than a few wrestlers become household names.” 

In addition to rising underclassmen, the seniors are still expected to have a major impact this season. Skylar Horn, a third-year varsity wrestler, is a returning state qualifier and GMC champion in the 285 pound weight class. The Comets will rely on Horn to bring consistency and stability to a team filled with many newcomers. Maffey said that Horn has improved significantly and is looking to have an even stronger finish than his junior season.

“[Horn] is currently ranked 10th in the State,” Maffey said. “But he has been putting great effort in the room to make that final push to be one of eight guys standing on the podium at the State event.”

The team will be counting on upperclassmen leaders like Libby and Horn to carry some of that load. The shared leadership dynamic between these two wrestlers gives the team a competitive edge as they not only motivate each other to put in the work, but the team as a whole. Libby said the two’s competitive energy and drive is contagious to the rest of the team.

“The combination of Skylar and I helps push the team to the next level because if the team sees us improving, they follow and want to improve with us,” Libby said. “We’re pushing the team in a new direction and going the extra mile for the team.”

This season marks an unusual challenge for the Comets as they won’t be relying on as much star power of the past, like Amburgy and Ditullio, but instead on every single member to contribute as a team. Maffey said he hopes that the collective talent, along with the team’s youth stepping up, can bring the team success this season.

“We are not rebuilding the team, we are reloading the team,” Maffey said. “Our motto this year is “Community. Driven. Initiative, since it ultimately takes a community to win.”