Army starts out strong to beat the Marines, 32-10 to claim 18th straight Armed Forces Greco-Roman title

By Mr. Gary Abbott - USA Wrestling U.S. Armed Forces Sports

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As expected, the U.S. Army and the U.S. Marine Corps earned the right to battle for the Greco-Roman team title at the Armed Forces Championships. Both teams had won every single match of their first two dual meets, setting up a showdown for the title.


Although Army had a 17-year winning streak at this event, the Marines have developed a number of talented Greco-Roman athletes and were aiming to bring the team title back with them this time around.


Fueled by a strong start in the lightweights, who won the first four matches all with bonus point victories, the Army claimed seven of the 10 matches to win 32-10, and stretched that streak of excellence to 18 years.


SSG Max Nowry, a double champion at the 2018 Armed Forces, came out with a strong 8-0 technical fall at 55 kg over Sgt. Jamone Carter. He was followed by 2017 World Team member Ildar Hafizov, who got the Army team fired up with a pin over LCpl. German Diaz in 1:24.


The next bout proved to be huge. The Marine Corps sent out 2018 Armed Forces champion Sgt Xavier Johnson, a National Team member who is coming off a big second-place finish at the Grand Prix Zagreb Open, a UWW Ranking event a few weeks ago. The Army sent out PVT Hayden Tuma, a talented athlete with extensive age-group World Championships experience. 


Tuma shut the door on the Marines desire to change the momentum, tossing Johnson on the way to an 8-0 technical fall. One of the matches the Marines needed to win, if they hoped to win this year, went to the Army in a big way.


The Army run continued at 67 kg, as 2008 Olympian and two-time World Team member Ellis Coleman kept up the pressure with a 9-0 technical fall over 2nd Lt. Jamel Johnson. The team score after four matches was 17-0, with only six more bouts for the Marines to change the narrative.


Sgt Raymond Bunker of the Marines, who had been a silver medalist in this event a number of times, scored the first Marine Corps win, stopping 2LT Michael Hooker in a 3-3 criteria decision. Bunker has a feisty style of wrestling, and gritted out a big win over Hooker, who boasted four straight gold medals in the event coming in.


At 77kg/169.7 lbs., SGT Vladyslav Dombrovskiy got the Army back on track in an intense battle with 1stLt. Payton Walsh, who has been a National Team member. Dombrovskiy won some key positions and emerged with a 17-7 technical fall. 


At 82kg, in another aggressive match between two warriors, Sgt. John Stefanowicz of the Marines beat. MAJ Jon Anderson of the Army, 4-1, Both were past Armed Forces Greco-Roman champions.


SPC James Souza, who won an Armed Forces title in 2015 when he competed with the U.S. Navy, claimed his first Armed Forces gold as a member of the Army with a powerful 10-0 technical fall over Sgt Vaughn Monreal Berner. With only two bouts to go, there was no doubt about which team would be victorious this year.


In a battle of National Team members, Capt. Daniel Miller of the Marines edged SGT Lucas Sheridan, 2-1. Miller is ranked No. 2 in the nation and Sheridan is No. 3 on the ladder. 


Army big man 2LT Toby Erickson was dominant on top, turning Sgt Trent Osnes multiple times in an 8-0 technical fall to close out the win.


Although this is a dual meet event, individual medals are also awarded. Since all 20 athletes competing in the finals dual were unbeaten, the winner in each of the matches in the Army-Marines dual meet won the gold medal, and the loser claimed the silver medal. Therefore, the Army had seven champions and three runners-up, while the Marines finished with three champions and seven runners-up.


This article will be updated with quotes from athletes and coaches.


In the third-place match, the U.S. Air Force broke open what was expected to be a close battle, winning nine of the 10 matches on the way to a strong 36-8 win over the Navy. In his first year as the Air Force coach, past NCAA champion Dustin Kilgore led the Airmen to a dominant win to close out the Greco-Roman event. 


Freestyle will be held on Sunday, with session times of 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. All of the action is live on TrackWrestling.


ARMED FORCES GRECO-ROMAN CHAMPIONSHIPS

At Fort Bliss, Texas, February 23


First Place - Army 32, Marine Corps 10

55kg/121.2 lbs. – SSG Max Nowry (U.S. Army) tech fall Sgt. Jamone Carter (U.S. Marines), 8-0

60kg/132.2 lbs. – SPC Ildar Hafizov (U.S. Army) pin LCpl. German Diaz (U.S. Marines), 1:24

63kg/138.8 lbs. – PVT Hayden Tuma (U.S. Army) tech fall Sgt Xavier Johnson (U.S. Marines), 8-0

67kg/147.7 lbs. – SGT Ellis Coleman (U.S. Army) tech fall 2nd Lt. Jamel Johnson (U.S. Marines), 9-0

72kg/158.7 lbs. – Sgt. Raymond Bunker (U.S. Marines) dec. 2LT Michael Hooker (U.S. Army), 3-3

77kg/169.7 lbs. – SGT Vladyslav Dombrovskiy (U.S. Army) tech. fall 1stLt. Payton Walsh (U.S. Marines), 17-7

82kg/180.7 lbs. – Sgt. John Stefanowicz (U.S. Marines) dec. MAJ Jon Anderson (U.S. Army), 4-1 

87kg/191.8 lbs. – SPC James Souza (U.S. Army) tech fall Sgt Vaughn Monreal Berner (U.S. Marines), 10-0

97kg/213.8 lbs. – Capt. Daniel Miller (U.S. Marines) dec. SGT Lucas Sheridan (U.S. Army), 2-1

130kg/286.6 lbs. – 2LT Toby Erickson (U.S. Army) tech fall Sgt Trent Osnes (U.S. Marines), 8-0


Third Place - Air Force 36, Navy 8

55kg/121.2 lbs. – Jeffrey Warra (U.S. Air Force) tech fall PO3 Bobby Raines (U.S. Navy), 13-2

60kg/132.2 lbs. – A1C Cordney Chairs (U.S. Air Force) dec. PO2 Angel Oliveras (U.S. Navy), 8-5 

63kg/138.8 lbs. – SSgt Christen Hunt (U.S. Air Force) dec. PO2 Michael Hollingsworth (U.S. Navy) 10-6

67kg/147.7 lbs. – SrA Dakota Ball (U.S. Air Force) pin AA Leandro Rodriguez (U.S. Navy), 0:12

72kg/158.7 lbs. – SrA Brennan Giffin (U.S. Air Force) tech fall PO3 Blake Borges (U.S. Navy), 10-2

77kg/169.7 lbs. – Capt Brandon Mueller (U.S. Air Force) tech fall PO3 Derekston Williams (U.S. Navy) 10-0 

82kg/180.7 lbs. – PO3 Austin Craig (U.S. Navy) tech fall SrA Haydon Codden (U.S. Air Force), 8-0

87kg/191.8 lbs. – A1C Justin Rau (U.S. Air Force) pin FA Marvin Vazquez (U.S. Navy), 1:11

97kg/213.8 lbs. – SrA Diante Cooper (U.S. Air Force) tech fall PO3 Joseph Blaes (U.S. Navy), 8-0

130kg/286.6 lbs. – Capt Karl Oeser (U.S. Air Force) tech fall PO2 Noah Wicks (U.S. Navy), 8-0 


Round Two 


Army 42, Navy 0

55kg/121.2 lbs. – SSG Max Nowry (U.S. Army) tech fall PO3 Bobby Raines (U.S. Navy), 10-0

60kg/132.2 lbs. – SPC Ildar Hafizov (U.S. Army) tech fall PO2 Angel Oliveras (U.S. Navy), 10-0

63kg/138.8 lbs. – PVT Hayden Tuma (U.S. Army) tech fall PO2 Michael Hollingsworth (U.S. Navy), 8-0

67kg/147.7 lbs. – SGT Ellis Coleman (U.S. Army) tech fall AA Leandro Rodriguez (U.S. Navy), 8-0

72kg/158.7 lbs. – 2LT Michael Hooker (U.S. Army) tech fall PO3 Blake Borges (U.S. Navy), 8-0

77kg/169.7 lbs. – SGT Vladyslav Dombrovskiy (U.S. Army) tech fall PO3 Derekston Williams (U.S. Navy), 8-0

82kg/180.7 lbs. – MAJ Jon Anderson (U.S. Army) pin PO3 Austin Craig (U.S. Navy), 0:57

87kg/191.8 lbs. – SPC James Souza (U.S. Army) tech fall FA Marvin Vazquez (U.S. Navy), 11-0

97kg/213.8 lbs. – SGT Lucas Sheridan (U.S. Army) pin PO3 Joseph Blaes (U.S. Navy), 0:29

130kg/286.6 lbs. – 2LT Toby Erickson (U.S. Army) tech fall PO2 Noah Wicks (U.S. Navy), 8-0


Marine Corps 41, Air Force 0

55kg/121.2 lbs. – Sgt. Jamone Carter (U.S. Marines) v SSgt Jeffrey Warra (U.S. Air Force), 9-0

60kg/132.2 lbs. – LCpl. German Diaz (U.S. Marines) tech. fall A1C Cordney Chairs (U.S. Air Force), 9-0

63kg/138.8 lbs. – Sgt Xavier Johnson (U.S. Marines) v SSgt Christen Hunt (U.S. Air Force), 9-0

67kg/147.7 lbs. – 2nd Lt. Jamel Johnson (U.S. Marines) v SrA Dakota Ball (U.S. Air Force), 8-0

72kg/158.7 lbs. – Sgt. Raymond Bunker (U.S. Marines) v SrA Brennan Giffin (U.S. Air Force), 1:41

77kg/169.7 lbs. – 1stLt. Payton Walsh (U.S. Marines) v Capt Brandon Mueller (U.S. Air Force), 10-0

82kg/180.7 lbs. – Sgt. John Stefanowicz (U.S. Marines) v Haydon Codden (U.S. Air Force), 8-0

87kg/191.8 lbs. – Sgt Vaughn Monreal Berner (U.S. Marines) vs. A1C Justin Rau (U.S. Air Force), 8-0

97kg/213.8 lbs. – Capt. Daniel Miller (U.S. Marines) v SrA Diante Cooper (U.S. Air Force), 9-0

130kg/286.6 lbs. – Sgt Trent Osnes (U.S. Marines) v Capt Karl Oeser (U.S. Air Force), 8-0


Round One


Army 40, Air Force 3 

55kg/121.2 lbs. – SSG Max Nowry (U.S. Army) pin SSgt Jeffrey Warra (U.S. Air Force), 1:43

60kg/132.2 lbs. – SPC Ildar Hafizov (U.S. Army) tech. fall A1C Cordney Chairs (U.S. Air Force), 16-2

63kg/138.8 lbs. – PVT Hayden Tuma (U.S. Army) tech. fall SSgt Christen Hunt (U.S. Air Force), 9-0

67kg/147.7 lbs. – SGT Ellis Coleman (U.S. Army) tech. fall SrA Dakota Ball (U.S. Air Force), 8-0

72kg/158.7 lbs. – 2LT Michael Hooker (U.S. Army) v SrA Brennan Giffin (U.S. Air Force), 9-8

77kg/169.7 lbs. – SGT Vladyslav Dombrovskiy (U.S. Army) dec. Capt Brandon Mueller (U.S. Air Force), 9-8

82kg/180.7 lbs. – MAJ Jon Anderson (U.S. Army) tech. fall SrA Haydon Codden (U.S. Air Force), 8-0

87kg/191.8 lbs. – SPC James Souza (U.S. Army) tech. fall A1C Justin Rau (U.S. Air Force), 9-1

97kg/213.8 lbs. – SGT Lucas Sheridan (U.S. Army) tech. fall SrA Diante Cooper (U.S. Air Force), 8-0

130kg/286.6 lbs. – 2LT Toby Erickson (U.S. Army) tech. fall Capt Karl Oeser (U.S. Air Force), 9-0


Marine Corps 39, Navy 1

55kg/121.2 lbs. – Sgt. Jamone Carter (U.S. Marines) tech. fall PO3 Bobby Raines (U.S. Navy), 9-0

60kg/132.2 lbs. – LCpl. German Diaz (U.S. Marines) tech. fakk PO2 Angel Oliveras (U.S. Navy), 8-0

63kg/138.8 lbs. –Sgt Xavier Johnson (U.S. Marines) tech. fall PO2 Michael Hollingsworth (U.S. Navy), 8-0

67kg/147.7 lbs. – 2nd Lt. Jamel Johnson (U.S. Marines) v AA Leandro Rodriguez (U.S. Navy), 9-0

72kg/158.7 lbs. – Sgt. Raymond Bunker (U.S. Marines) dec. PO3 Blake Borges (U.S. Navy), 3-0

77kg/169.7 lbs. – 1stLt. Payton Walsh (U.S. Marines) tech fall PO3 Derekston Williams (U.S. Navy), 8-0

82kg/180.7 lbs. – Sgt. John Stefanowicz (U.S. Marines) tech. fall PO3 Austin Craig (U.S. Navy), 9-0

87kg/191.8 lbs. – Sgt Vaughn Monreal Berner (U.S. Marines) tech. fall FA Marvin Vazquez (U.S. Navy), 8-0

97kg/213.8 lbs. – Capt. Daniel Miller (U.S. Marines) tech. fall PO3 Joseph Blaes (U.S. Navy), 8-0

130kg/286.6 lbs. – Sgt Trent Osnes (U.S. Marines) tech. fall PO2 Noah Wicks (U.S. Navy), 11-2


Individual medalists


55kg/121.2 lbs.

Gold - SSG Max Nowry (U.S. Army)

Silver - Sgt. Jamone Carter (U.S. Marines)


60kg/132.2 lbs. 

Gold – SPC Ildar Hafizov (U.S. Army)

Silver - LCpl. German Diaz (U.S. Marines)


63kg/138.8 lbs.

Gold – PVT Hayden Tuma (U.S. Army)

Silver - Sgt Xavier Johnson (U.S. Marines)


67kg/147.7 lbs.

Gold - SGT Ellis Coleman (U.S. Army)

Silver - 2nd Lt. Jamel Johnson (U.S. Marines)


72kg/158.7 lbs.

Gold – Sgt. Raymond Bunker (U.S. Marines)

Silver - 2LT Michael Hooker (U.S. Army)


77kg/169.7 lbs. 

Gold – SGT Vladyslav Dombrovskiy (U.S. Army)

Silver - 1stLt. Payton Walsh (U.S. Marines)


82kg/180.7 lbs. 

Gold – Sgt. John Stefanowicz (U.S. Marines)

Silver - MAJ Jon Anderson (U.S. Army)


87kg/191.8 lbs. 

Gold – SPC James Souza (U.S. Army)

Silver - Sgt Vaughn Monreal Berner (U.S. Marines)


97kg/213.8 lbs. 

Gold – Capt. Daniel Miller (U.S. Marines)

Silver - SGT Lucas Sheridan (U.S. Army)


130kg/286.6 lbs. 

Gold – 2LT Toby Erickson (U.S. Army)

Silver - Sgt Trent Osnes (U.S. Marines)