Army seeks to defend titles at Armed Forces Championship

By Mr. Gary Abbott Armed Forces Sports

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The 2018 Armed Forces Wrestling Championships are set for Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, N.C., Feb. 24-25.

This event features Greco-Roman and freestyle teams from four branches of the U.S. military battling for team titles, and individual medals. Traditionally, some of the nation’s best international wrestlers have been members of U.S. military wrestling programs and have competed in this event.

The 2017 Armed Forces Championships were held at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurt, N.J., where the U.S. Army won both the Greco-Roman and freestyle team titles, and continued a 16-year streak of capturing the team titles.

The competition features dual meets, where all four military teams compete against each other. The results of these dual meets determine the final team standings. Individual medalists are also recognized in each weight class, based upon the results at that weight class in the dual meets. 

Many people enjoy watching the Armed Forces Championships, which are highly competitive, and where the athletes compete for honor and pride in their service branch. There is also a tremendous level of respect and camaraderie between these athletes, who are active duty members of the U.S. military serving their nation.

Rosters from the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force have been submitted. In some cases, athletes may wrestle in both styles, or the team may present a different athlete in Greco-Roman than in freestyle. 

The event will feature the 10 new World Championships weight classes in each discipline of international wrestling, which is an increase from the eight weight classes contested for many years.

In Greco-Roman, four 2017 Armed Forces champions are in the tournament. 2LT Toby Erickson of the U.S. Army returns at 130kg/286.6 lbs. The other three returning Greco-Roman champions, all from the U.S. Army program, will be in new weight classes this year, SPC Ildar Hafizov at 60kg/132.2 lbs., SPC Ellis Coleman at 72kg/158.7 lbs. and 2LT Michael Hooker (Wisconsin Army National Guard) at 77kg/169.7 lbs.

In freestyle, five 2017 Armed Forces champions appear on their team’s roster. Capt. Daniel Miller of the U.S. Marine Corps returns at 97kg/213.8 lbs. The other four returning freestyle champions, all from the U.S. Army, are at new weights this year, SPC Michael Fuenffinger at 61kg/134.4 lbs., SGT Ryan Mango at 65kg/143.3 lbs., SPC Isaac Dukes at 74kg/163.1 lbs. and 1LT Matt Brown at 79kg/174.1 lbs.

SGT Vladyslav Dombrovskiy of the U.S. Army, who was an Armed Forces freestyle champion in 2017, is entered this year in Greco-Roman at 82kg/180.7 lbs.

The U.S. Army team rosters includes a pair of Olympians, SPC Ellis Coleman, who wrestled for the United States in 2012 London Games, and SPC Ildar Hafizov, who represented Uzbekistan at the 2008 Beijing Games. Both Hafizov and Coleman were also on the 2017 U.S. World Team. 

Also on the Army roster is 2LT Matthew Brown, who was an NCAA Div. I champion for Penn State in 2015. He is joined in the Army program by SPC Mike Fuenffinger, won two Div. III national titles for Augsburg and SPC Isaac Dukes, who was a Div. III national champion for Case Western Reserve.

The top three placewinners in Greco-Roman qualify to compete at the U.S. Greco-Roman World Team Trials in Tulsa, Okla., June 21-22.

The Greco-Roman competition will be held on Saturday, February 24, with session times of 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. The freestyle competition is set for Sunday, February 25, with session times of 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

USA Wrestling will partner with Armed Forces Sports to provide a free live web stream of the event.

2018 ARMED FORCES WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIPS
At MCB Camp Lejeune, N.C., Feb. 24-25

U.S. Army Roster 
Greco-Roman
55kg/121.2 lbs. – SGT Max Nowry (Fort Carson, Colo.)
60kg/132.2 lbs. – SPC Ildar Hafizov (Fort Carson, Colo.)
63kg/138.8 lbs. – SGT Ryan Mango (Fort Carson, Colo.)
67kg/147.7 lbs. – 1LT Marco Lara (Fort Carson, Colo.)
72kg/158.7 lbs. – SPC Ellis Coleman (Fort Carson, Colo.)
77kg/169.7 lbs. – 2LT Michael Hooker (Wisconsin Army National Guard) 
82kg/180.7 lbs. – SGT Vladyslav Dombrovskiy (California Army National Guard) 
87kg/191.8 lbs. – SGT Courtney Myers (Fort Carson, Colo.)
97kg/213.8 lbs. – SPC Mason Koshiyama (Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.)
130kg/286.6 lbs. – 2LT Toby Erickson (Fort Carson, Colo.)
Men’s Freestyle
57kg/125.6 lbs. – SGT James Hicks (Fort Bragg, N.C.)
61kg/134.4 lbs. – SPC Michael Fuenffinger (Fort Carson, Colo.)
65kg/143.3 lbs. – SGT Ryan Mango (Fort Carson, Colo.)
70kg/154.3 lbs. – PFC Connor Myers (Colorado Army National Guard)
74kg/163.1 lbs. – SPC Isaac Dukes (Fort Carson, Colo.)
79kg/174.1 lbs. – 1LT Matt Brown (State College, Pa.)
86kg/189.5 lbs. – SGT Versean Ponds (Fort Bragg, N.C.)
92kg/202.8 lbs. – SGT Courtney Myers (Fort Carson, Colo.)
97kg/213.8 lbs. – SGT Panagiotys Gounaridis (Fort Sill, Okla.) 
125kg/275.5 lbs. – PFC Jacob Mitchell (Fort Carson, Colo.)
Women’s Freestyle Roster 
55kg/121.2 lbs. – Samantha Klingel (Fort Carson, Colo.)
Delegation
Coach – Shon Lewis (Fort Carson, Colo.)
Asst. Coach – SGT Spencer Mango (Fort Carson, Colo.)
OIC – SFC Glenn Garrison (Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.)
Medical – Kyle Eckert (Fort Carson, Colo.)
Service Rep. – Claudia Berwager (Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa.) 

U.S. Marine Corps Roster
Greco-Roman 
55kg/121.2 lbs. – Cpl. Nicholas Quillen (Camp Butler, Okla.)
55kg/121.2 lbs. – Cpl. Jamone Carter (Miramar, Calif.)
60kg/132.2 lbs. – Sgt. Xavier Johnson (Camp Lejeune, N.C.)
63kg/138.8 lbs. – 1s Lt. Colton Rasche (Camp Lejeune, N.C.)
67kg/147.7 lbs. – LCpl. German Diaz (Camp Lejeune, N.C.)
67kg/147.7 lbs. – 2nd Lt. Jamel Johnson (Camp Lejeune, N.C.)
72kg/158.7 lbs. – Sgt. Raymond Bunker (Camp Lejeune, N.C.)
77kg/169.7 lbs. – 1st Lt. Payton Walsh (Camp Lejeune, N.C.)
82kg/180.7 lbs. – Sgt. John Stefanowicz (Camp Lejeune, N.C.)
87kg/191.8 lbs. – 2nd Lt. Terrence Zaleski (Camp Lejeune, N.C.)
87kg/191.8 lbs. – Cpl. Vaughn Monreal Berner (Camp Lejeune, N.C.)
97kg/213.8 lbs. – Capt. Daniel Miller (Camp Lejeune, N.C.)
130kg/286.6 lbs. – Sgt. Trent Osnes (Camp Lejeune, N.C.)
130kg/286.6 lbs. – Cpl. Eric Fader (Camp Lejeune, N.C.)
Men’s Freestyle
57kg/125.6 lbs. – Cpl. Nicholas Quillen (Camp Butler, Okla.)
57kg/125.6 lbs. – Cpl. Jamone Carter (Miramar. Calif.)
61kg/134.4 lbs. – Sgt. Xavier Johnson (Camp Lejeune, N.C.)
61kg/134.4 lbs. – 1s Lt. Colton Rasche (Camp Lejeune, N.C.)
65kg/143.3 lbs. – LCpl. German Diaz (Camp Lejeune, N.C.)
65kg/143.3 lbs. – 2nd Lt. Jamel Johnson (Camp Lejeune, N.C.)
70kg/154.3 lbs. – Sgt. Raymond Bunker (Camp Lejeune, N.C.)
70kg/154.3 lbs. – Sgt. Sidney Logan (MCAS, Hawaii)
74kg/163.1 lbs. – Sgt. Jayshon Wilson (Camp Lejeune, N.C.)
79kg/174.1 lbs. – 1st Lt. Payton Walsh (Camp Lejeune, N.C.)
86kg/189.5 lbs. – Sgt. John Stefanowicz (Camp Lejeune, N.C.)
86kg/189.5 lbs. – 2nd Lt. Terrence Zaleski (Camp Lejeune, N.C.)
93kg/205.0 lbs. – Cpl. Vaughn Monreal Berner (Camp Lejeune, N.C.)
97kg/213.8 lbs. – Capt. Daniel Miller (Camp Lejeune, N.C.)
125kg/275.5 lbs. – Sgt. Trent Osnes (Camp Lejeune, N.C.)
125kg/275.5 lbs. – Cpl. Eric Fader (Camp Lejeune, N.C.)
Delegation
Coach – Jason Loukides (Camp Lejeune, N.C.)
Service Rep – Jim Medley (Quantico, Va.)

U.S. Navy Roster 
Greco-Roman
55kg/121.2 lbs. – PO3 Bobby Raines (Naval Hospital Yokosuka, Japan) 
60kg/132.2 lbs. – PO2 Schulyer Swanton (NAVSUPPACT Naples, Italy)
65kg/143.3 lbs. – LTJG Nathaniel Giorgio (USCG AIRSTA, Atlantic City, N.J.)
67kg/147.7 lbs. – SN Derekston Williams (USS NIMITZ Bremerton, Wash.)
72kg/158.7 lbs. – PO2 Bobby Yamashita (CFA Yokosuka, Japan) 
77kg/169.7 lbs. – PO3 Austin Craig (USS NIMITS Bremerton, Wash.)
82kg/180.7 lbs. – PO3 Joseph Marques (NS Norfolk, Va.)
87kg/191.8 lbs. – PO2 Antonio Harris (Ocean Side, Cali.)
97kg/213.8 lbs. – SN James Connaghan (NSA Bahrain) 
130kg/286.6 lbs. – PO3 Logan Rena (Port Hueneme, Cali.)
Men’s Freestyle
57kg/125.6 lbs. – PO2 Schulyer Swanton (NAVSUPPACT Naples, Italy) 
61kg/134.4 lbs. – LTJG Nathaniel Giorgio (USCG AIRSTA, Atlantic City, N.J.)
65kg/143.3 lbs. – PO3 Malcom Harris (USS Zumwalt, San Diego, Calif.)
70kg/154.3 lbs. – PO3 Jordan Ditro (USS Dwight D Eisenhower) 
74kg/163.1 lbs. – PO2 Blake Borges (San Diego, Calif.)
79kg/174.1 lbs. – PO3 Austin Craig (USS NIMITS Bremerton, Wash.)
86kg/189.5 lbs. – PO3 Joseph Marques (NS Norfolk, Va.)
92kg/202.8 lbs. – PO2 Antonio Harris (Ocean Side, Calif.)
97kg/213.8 lbs. – SN James Connaghan (NSA Bahrain) 
125kg/275.5 lbs. – PO3 Logan Rena (Port Hueneme, Calif.)
Women’s Freestyle
55kg/121.2 lbs. – PO3 Genesis Ramirez (USS JOHN C, STENNIS)
Delegation
Coach – CPO Alejandro Delapena (Benton City, Wash.)
Asst. Coach – PO1 Jesse Delapena (Benton City, Wash.)
Medical – LT Ronald Fenton (NBK NBHC Bangor) 
Service Rep. – James Senn (CNIC HQ Washington DC)

U.S. Air Force Roster
Greco-Roman
55kg/121.2 lbs. – SSgt Randy Duncan (RAF Middenhall, UK) 
60kg/132.2 lbs. – SSgt Tyler Knepper (RAF Lakenheath, UK) 
63kg/138.8 lbs. – SrA Christen Hunt (Peterson AFB, Colo.)
67kg/147.7 lbs. – A1C Brandon Dyke (F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo.)
72kg/158.7 lbs. – A1C Brennan Giffin (Barksdale AFB, La.)
77kg/169.7 lbs. – Capt Brandon Mueller (Kirtland AFB, N.M.)
82kg/180.7 lbs. – Amn Noah Perdue (Barksdale AFB, La.)
87kg/191.8 lbs. – MSgt Shewin Severin (F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo.)
97kg/213.8 lbs. – SrA Jorge Hernandez (Hurlburt Field AFB, Fla.)
130kg/286.6 lbs. – SrA Eric Laposky (Barksdale AFB, La.)
Men’s Freestyle 
57kg/125.6 lbs. – SrA Joey Garza (Elhmdorf-Richardson AFB, Alaska)
61kg/134.4 lbs. – A1C Taylor Mercier (Holloman AFB, N.M.)
65kg/143.3 lbs. – A1C Dakota Ball (Holloman AFB, N.M.)
70kg/154.3 lbs. – A1C Brennan Giffin (Barksdale AFB, La.)
74kg/163.1 lbs. – SrA Sidney Blackwood (Nellis AFB, Nevada)
79kg/174.1 lbs. – Capt Brandon Mueller (Kirtland AFB, N.M.)
79kg/174.1 lbs. – TSgt Ryan Vottero (Langley-Eustis AFB Wyo.)
86kg/189.5 lbs. – Amn Noah Perdue (Barksdale AFB, La.)
92kg/202.8 lbs. – SrA Jorge Hernandez (Hurlburt Field AFB, Fla.)
97kg/213.8 lbs. – A1C Raul Veliz (F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo.)
125kg/275.5 lbs. – SrA Eric Laposky (Barksdale AFB, La.)
Delegation
Coach – Floyd Winter (Bel Air. Maryland) 
Asst. Coach – TSgt Ryan Vottero (Langley-Eustis AFB, Va.)
Project Manager – Kim Lissner (JBMDL, N.J.)
Medical – Lt Lauren Foy (JBMDL, N.J.)

Event Schedule (ET) 

Saturday, February, 24 (Greco-Roman Matches) 
10:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Opening Ceremonies 
11:00 a.m. – First Session: Army vs Navy; USMC vs USAF
Second Session: (30 Minutes after first session) Army vs USAF; USMC vs Navy
3:00 p.m. – Third Session: Army vs USMC; Navy vs USAF

Sunday February, 25 (Freestyle Matches) 
11:00 a.m. – First Session: Army vs Navy; USMC vs USAF
Second Session: (30 Minutes after first session) Army vs USAF; USMC vs Navy
3:00 p.m. – Third Session: Army vs USMC; Navy vs USAF

2017 Armed Forces Greco-Roman champions
59 kg/130 lbs. – SPC Ildar Hafizov (Army)
66 kg/145.5 lbs. – SPC Ellis Coleman (Army) 
71 kg/156 lbs. – SGT Michael Hooker (Army) 
75 kg/165 lbs. – SPC Dillon Cowan (Army) 
80 kg/176 lbs. – SGT Courtney Myers (Army) 
85 kg/187 lbs. – SPC Lucas Sheridan (Army) 
98 kg/215 lbs. – SPC Endhyr Meza (Army) 
130 kg/286 lbs. – 2LT Toby Erickson (Army) 

2017 Armed Forces Freestyle Champions 
57 kg/125.5 lbs. – PFC Mike Fuenffinger (Army)
61 kg/134 lbs. – SGT Ryan Mango (Army)
65 kg/143 lbs. – SPC Ellis Coleman (Army)
70 kg/154 lbs. – SPC Isaac Dukes (Army)
74 kg/163 lbs. – 2LT Matthew Brown (Army)
86 kg/189 lbs. – SGT Vlad Dombrovskiy (Army)
97 kg/213 lbs. – 1st Lt Daniel Miller (Marines)
125 kg/275 lbs. – SPC Endhyr Meza (Army)