George Mason University

News at Mason

Going to the mat for what he knows and doesn't know

March 8, 2019   /   by Damian Cristodero

Senior heavyweight wrestler Matt Voss doesn't mind when someone challenges his views. He says it motivates him to keep learning.

Voss, ranked 16th nationally among heavyweights with a 28-5 record, is trying to become the first Mason wrestler to reach All-American status since 1995. Photo courtesy of Mason Athletics.

Matt Voss likes to talk with strangers. 

The George Mason University senior will walk up to anyone on campus and strike up a conversation, mostly about religion and faith—but, really, about anything. 

“It’s just a random exercise,” Voss said. “If I was just always around people like me, I don’t know if I would ever learn how to answer tough questions.” 

The trait has served Voss well in the classroom, and it will serve him well in the future, he believes, if, as a double major in communication and religious studies, he decides to one day enter the seminary. 

As for his other avocation, well, that is as much a challenge for his body as his mind. 

Voss, a heavyweight on Mason’s Division I wrestling team, is ranked 16th nationally, as of March 7, putting him in prime position to earn All-American status at the NCAA tournament March 21-23 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

Mason has not had an All-American wrestler (earned with a top-eight finish at the tournament) since senior 126-pounder Matt Finacchio in 1995. 

“It would be pretty awesome,” said Voss, who won 28 of 33 matches this season using quickness and stamina that is not the norm among heavyweights. “It would be great to show the growth the program has had over the last few years, and it would be pretty cool for me to do it in my last year and go out with a bang.” 

“He really pushes the guys on the team to accomplish bigger and better things, to push them out of their comfort zones and do more than they expect they can,” Mason coach Frank Beasley said. “He leads by example every day.” 

Voss came to Mason from Edgewood, Washington, outside Tacoma, where he was a two-time state champion. 

While he has flourished on the mat, Voss said the diversity of Mason’s campus, with faculty who care about their students, and students who enjoy intellectual wrestling, has lead him to expand his worldview. 

“I’ve been challenged by people who believe different things than I do,” Voss said. “It’s made me think about what I believe more and why I believe it.” 

“He sustains an authentic open-mindedness that is the key to learning,” said Randi Rashkover, associate professor of religious studies. “Matthew understands that to be a fine student one must combine a strong work ethic with a tireless sense of curiosity and admiration for the subject-matter one wants to engage.” 

Which brings us back to Voss’ campus conversations, and how he said he dives into research if there is a question, about God, faith or whatever, that he cannot answer. 

“Sometimes it’s humbling,” he said. “Sometimes, it’s, like, ‘Wow, there’s a lot of what I don’t know.’ It motivates me to keep learning.” 

Mason is hosting the Eastern Wrestling League championships on Saturday, March 9 at EagleBank Arena. Click here for more information.