Army edges Marines, 21-20, to claim its 19th straight Armed Forces Greco-Roman team title

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

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The U.S. Army and the U.S. Marine Corps battled in one of the closest and most intense dual meets in recent memory, but when it all worked itself out, the Army won its 19th straight Armed Forces Greco-Roman title with a razor-thin 21-20 victory over the U.S. Marine Corps at Naval Base Kitsap.

This dual meet had intense emotion, as well as some quite unexpected results. Both teams won five matches. Each team had at least one upset special. It is truly hard to say which match was the difference, but two bouts for the Army stood out as they happened.

The Army scored a key win at 77 kg, when SGT Vladyslav Dombrovskiy of the U.S. Army edged Capt. Payton Walsh, 9-6. According to Dombrovskiy, it was his first win over Walsh, after dropping a number of previous battles. Dombrovskiy took a lead in the first period, and held strong in the second, not allowing Walsh to get back into the match.

While his victory at 97kg was expected, SGT Lucas Sheridan’s headlock pin of Sgt Vaughn Monreal Berner in 1:33 gave key bonus points that helped the team win. Sheridan normally battles Capt. Daniel Miller of the Marines, but Marine head coach Jason Loukides bumped Miller up to heavyweight, also bumping Monreal Berner up to 97 kg to face Sheridan. Dominant all day, Sheridan pinned all three of his opponents in the first period.

On the Marines side, a key upset win came at 63 kg, when Sgt Xavier Johnson defeated 2019 World Team member SGT Ryan Mango, 6-5. Johnson secured the lead with some explosive wrestling, and a late rally by Mango fell just short at the end.

The other win of note for the Marines came in the final match at 130 kg as Miller stopped 1LT Toby Erickson, 4-1. Army led 20-17 going into the bout. Erickson had won three previous Armed Forces titles at this weight class, and had a considerable size and weight advantage over Miller. Erickson scored first to lead 1-0, but Miller tied it up 1-1 on a passivity and led on the tiebreaker. Another passivity point and a takedown gave Miller his final tally. By scoring a point, Erickson gave Army one team point, which gave Army the one-point edge in the final team score.

Coming in, Army had three past World and/or Olympic team members, while the Marines has two. Both teams had six athletes in the lineup who had already qualified for the Olympic Trials. Everybody knew it would be close, and both teams delivered with an entertaining show full of scoring and drama.

Joining Dombrovsky and Sheridan as Army winners in the dual were SSG Max Nowry (55 kg), SPC Ildar Hafizov (60 kg) and PVT Alejandro Sancho (67 kg). Nowry and Hafizov secured technical falls.

Joining Johnson and Miller as winners for the Marines against Army were Sgt. Raymond Bunker (72 kg), SSgt. John Stefanowicz (82 kg) and 1stLt Terrance Zaleski (87 kg). All three won by technical falls.

The Army swept its morning matches with a 45-0 victory over the host U.S. Navy, then a 47-5 win over the Air Force 47-5.

The Marines also won their two duals with dominance, a 43-9 win over the Air Force and a 42-1 victory over the Navy, 42-1.

Claiming third place in the team race was the U.S. Air Force, which won six of the seven matches contested in a 34-11 win over the U.S. Navy.

All of the individual champions were either from the Army or the Marines, based upon who won their match in the dual meet. Nowry, Hafizov, Sancho, Dombrovskiy and Sheridan were Army champions, while Johnson, Bunker, Stefanowicz, Zaleski and Miller were Marine Corps champions. Repeating as Armed Forces Greco-Roman champions were Nowry, Hafizov, Bunker, Dombrovskiy, Stafanowicz and Miller.

The highest placed Senior U.S. Greco‐Roman athlete, per weight category, winning a gold or silver medal, who has yet to qualify, will qualify for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials ‐ Wrestling at Penn State in University Park, Pa., April 4-5.

Seven wrestlers earned Olympic Trials qualifications based upon these rules: Punching their tickets to Penn State were three from the Marine Corps, three from the U.S. Army and one from the U.S. Air Force.

Olympic Trials qualifiers from the Marines were Sgt Josh Medina (55 kg), Capt. Colton Rasche (60 kg) and 1stLt Terrence Zaleski (87 kg). Advancing to the Olympic Trials for the Army were 2LT Michael Hooker (72 kg), SGT Vladyslav Dombrovskiy (77 kg) and SPC Dillon Cowan (82 kg). Earning a spot in the Olympic Trials for the Air Force was SrA Diante Cooper (97 kg)

The Armed Forces Championships in men’s freestyle and women’s freestyle will be held on Sunday, with the first session starting at 11:00 a.m. Pacific time. The Army is also on a 18-year winning streak in men’s freestyle, but are expected to face another tough challenge from the Marines in that style as well.

All of the action is available live and on demand on Trackwrestling.

2020 ARMED FORCES WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIPS
At Naval Base Kitsap, Wash.

ROUND THREE

U.S. Army 21, U.S. Marine Corps 20
55kg/121.2 lbs. – SSG Max Nowry (U.S. Army) tech. fall Sgt Josh Medina (U.S. Marine Corps), 9-0
60kg/132.2 lbs. – SPC Ildar Hafizov (U.S. Army) tech. fall Capt. Colton Rasche (U.S. Marine Corps), 8-0
63kg/138.8 lbs. –Sgt Xavier Johnson (U.S. Marine Corps) dec. SGT Ryan Mango (U.S. Army), 6-5
67kg/147.7 lbs. – PVT Alejandro Sancho (U.S. Army) dec. 1st Lt. Jamel Johnson (U.S. Marine Corps), 7-4
72kg/158.7 lbs. –Sgt. Raymond Bunker (U.S. Marine Corps) tech. fall 2LT Michael Hooker (U.S. Army), 11-0
77kg/169.7 lbs. – SGT Vladyslav Dombrovskiy (U.S. Army) dec. Capt. Payton Walsh (U.S. Marine Corps), 9-6
82kg/180.7 lbs. – SSgt. John Stefanowicz (U.S. Marine Corps) tech. fall SPC Dillon Cowan (U.S. Army), 8-0
87kg/191.8 lbs. – 1stLt Terrence Zaleski (U.S. Marine Corps) tech. fall SGT George Hooker (U.S. Army), 9-0
97kg/213.8 lbs. – SGT Lucas Sheridan (U.S. Army) pin Sgt Vaughn Monreal Berner (U.S. Marine Corps), 1:33
130kg/286.6 lbs. –Capt. Daniel Miller (U.S. Marine Corps) dec. 1LT Toby Erickson (U.S. Army). 4-1

U.S. Air Force 34, U.S. Navy 11
55kg/121.2 lbs. – E4 Teron Woodson (U.S. Navy) won by forfeit
60kg/132.2 lbs. – SrA Cordney Chairs (U.S. Air Force) dec. E4 Bobby Raines (U.S. Navy), 6-5
63kg/138.8 lbs. – A1C Cooper Hunt (U.S. Air Force) won by forfeit
67kg/147.7 lbs. – SSgt James Culp (U.S. Air Force) tech. fall E6 Cory Asato (U.S. Navy), 8-0
72kg/158.7 lbs. – 2d Lt Dane Robbins (U.S. Air Force) dec. E5 Robert Yamashita (U.S. Navy), 2-1
77kg/169.7 lbs. – Capt Brandon Mueller (U.S. Air Force) won by forfeit
82kg/180.7 lbs. – 2d Lt Alex Mossing (U.S. Air Force) tech. fall E5 Austin Craig (U.S. Navy), 8-0
87kg/191.8 lbs. – SrA Justin Rau (U.S. Air Force) pin E6 Kyle Fox (U.S. Navy), 0:40
97kg/213.8 lbs. – SrA Diante Cooper (U.S. Air Force) pin E6 Mark Saunders (U.S. Navy), 0:40
130kg/286.6 lbs. – E3 Reggie Williams (U.S. Navy) tech. fall Capt Karl Oeser (Hurlburt Field), 9-0

ROUND TWO

U.S. Army 39, U.S. Air Force 5
55kg/121.2 lbs. – SSG Max Nowry (U.S. Army) won by forfeit
60kg/132.2 lbs. – SPC Ildar Hafizov (U.S. Army) pin SrA Cordney Chairs (U.S. Air Force), 0:17
63kg/138.8 lbs. – SGT Ryan Mango (U.S. Army) tech. fall A1C Cooper Hunt (U.S. Air Force), 10-0
67kg/147.7 lbs. – PVT Alejandro Sancho (U.S. Army) tech. fall SSgt James Culp (U.S. Air Force), 8-0
72kg/158.7 lbs. – 2LT Michael Hooker (U.S. Army) tech. fall 2d Lt Dane Robbins (U.S. Air Force), 8-0
77kg/169.7 lbs. – SGT Vladyslav Dombrovskiy (U.S. Army) dec. Capt Brandon Mueller (U.S. Air Force), 5-3
82kg/180.7 lbs. – SPC Dillon Cowan (U.S. Army) tech. fall 2d Lt Alex Mossing (U.S. Air Force), 13-4
87kg/191.8 lbs. –SrA Justin Rau (U.S. Air Force) dec. SGT George Hooker (U.S. Army), 7-4
97kg/213.8 lbs. – SGT Lucas Sheridan (U.S. Army) pin SrA Diante Cooper (U.S. Air Force), 0:40
130kg/286.6 lbs. – 1LT Toby Erickson (U.S. Army) tech. fall Capt Karl Oeser (Hurlburt Field), 8-0

U.S. Marine Corps 42, U.S. Navy 1
55kg/121.2 lbs. – Sgt Josh Medina (U.S. Marine Corps) tech. fall E4 Teron Woodson (U.S. Navy), 9-0
60kg/132.2 lbs. – Capt. Colton Rasche (U.S. Marine Corps) tech. fall E4 Bobby Raines (U.S. Navy), 8-0
63kg/138.8 lbs. – Sgt Xavier Johnson (U.S. Marine Corps) won by forfeit
67kg/147.7 lbs. – 1st Lt. Jamel Johnson (U.S. Marine Corps) tech. fall E6 Cory Asato (U.S. Navy), 9-0
72kg/158.7 lbs. – Sgt. Raymond Bunker (U.S. Marine Corps) tech. fall E5 Robert Yamashita (U.S. Navy), 16-4
77kg/169.7 lbs. – Capt. Payton Walsh (U.S. Marine Corps) won by forfeit
82kg/180.7 lbs. – SSgt. John Stefanowicz (U.S. Marine Corps) tech. fall E5 Austin Craig (U.S. Navy), 9-0
87kg/191.8 lbs. – 1stLt Terrence Zaleski (U.S. Marine Corps) tech. fall E6 Kyle Fox (U.S. Navy), 8-0
97kg/213.8 lbs. – Sgt Vaughn Monreal Berner (U.S. Marine Corps) tech fall E6 Mark Saunders (U.S. Navy), 8-0
130kg/286.6 lbs. – Capt. Daniel Miller (U.S. Marine Corps) tech fall E3 Reggie Williams (U.S. Navy), 8-0

ROUND ONE

U.S. Army 45, U.S Navy 0
55kg/121.2 lbs. – SSG Max Nowry (U.S. Army) tech. fall E4 Teron Woodson (U.S. Navy), 8-0
60kg/132.2 lbs. – SPC Ildar Hafizov (U.S. Army) tech. fall E4 Bobby Raines (U.S. Navy), 8-0
63kg/138.8 lbs. – SGT Ryan Mango (U.S. Army) won by forfeit
67kg/147.7 lbs. – PVT Alejandro Sancho (U.S. Army) pin E6 Cory Asato (U.S. Navy), 0:34
72kg/158.7 lbs. – 2LT Michael Hooker (U.S. Army) tech. fall E5 Robert Yamashita (U.S. Navy), 9-0
77kg/169.7 lbs. – SGT Vladyslav Dombrovskiy (U.S. Army) won by forfeit
82kg/180.7 lbs. – SPC Dillon Cowan (U.S. Army) tech. fall E5 Austin Craig (U.S. Navy), 9-0
87kg/191.8 lbs. – SGT George Hooker (U.S. Army) tech. fall E6 Kyle Fox (U.S. Navy), 8-0
97kg/213.8 lbs. – SGT Lucas Sheridan (U.S. Army) pin E6 Mark Saunders (U.S. Navy), 0:27
130kg/286.6 lbs. – 1LT Toby Erickson (U.S. Army) pin E3 Reggie Williams (U.S. Navy), 1:02

U.S. Marine Corps 35, U.S. Air Force 9
55kg/121.2 lbs. – Sgt Josh Medina (U.S. Marine Corps) won by forfeit
60kg/132.2 lbs. – Capt. Colton Rasche (U.S. Marine Corps) dec. SrA Cordney Chairs (U.S. Air Force), 5-1
63kg/138.8 lbs. – Sgt Xavier Johnson (U.S. Marine Corps) tech. fall A1C Cooper Hunt (U.S. Air Force), 11-0
67kg/147.7 lbs. – 1st Lt. Jamel Johnson (U.S. Marine Corps) tech. fall SSgt James Culp (U.S. Air Force), 10-0
72kg/158.7 lbs. – Sgt. Raymond Bunker (U.S. Marine Corps) tech. fall 2d Lt Dane Robbins (U.S. Air Force), 9-1
77kg/169.7 lbs. – Capt. Payton Walsh (U.S. Marine Corps) tech. fall Capt Brandon Mueller (U.S. Air Force), 9-0
82kg/180.7 lbs. – SSgt. John Stefanowicz (U.S. Marine Corps) dec. 2d Lt Alex Mossing (U.S. Air Force), 6-3
87kg/191.5 lbs. – 1stLt Terrence Zaleski (U.S. Marine Corps) tech. fall SrA Justin Rau (U.S. Air Force), 10-1
97kg/213.8 lbs. –SrA Diante Cooper (U.S. Air Force) pin Sgt Vaughn Monreal Berner (U.S. Marine Corps), 2:24
130kg/286.6 lbs. – Capt. Daniel Miller (U.S. Marine Corps) tech. fall Capt Karl Oeser (Hurlburt Field), 8-0

Team Standings
1. U.S. Army, 3-0 record
2. U.S. Marine Corps, 2-1 record
3. U.S. Air Force, 1-2 record
4. U.S. Navy, 0-3 record

Individual medalists

55kg/121.2 lbs.
Gold - SSG Max Nowry (U.S. Army)
Silver - Sgt Josh Medina (U.S. Marine Corps)

60kg/132.2 lbs.
Gold - SPC Ildar Hafizov (U.S. Army)
Silver - Capt. Colton Rasche (U.S. Marine Corps)

63kg/138.8 lbs.
Gold - Sgt Xavier Johnson (U.S. Marine Corps)
Silver - SGT Ryan Mango (U.S. Army)

67kg/147.7 lbs.
Gold - PVT Alejandro Sancho (U.S. Army)
Silvere - 1st Lt. Jamel Johnson (U.S. Marine Corps)

72kg/158.7 lbs.
Gold - Sgt. Raymond Bunker (U.S. Marine Corps)
Silver - 2LT Michael Hooker (U.S. Army)

77kg/169.7 lbs.
Gold - SGT Vladyslav Dombrovskiy (U.S. Army)
Silver - Capt. Payton Walsh (U.S. Marine Corps)

82kg/180.7 lbs.
Gold - SSgt. John Stefanowicz (U.S. Marine Corps)
Silver - SPC Dillon Cowan (U.S. Army)

87kg/191.8 lbs.
Gold - 1stLt Terrence Zaleski (U.S. Marine Corps)
Silver - SrA Justin Rau (U.S. Air Force)

97kg/213.8 lbs.
Gold - SGT Lucas Sheridan (U.S. Army)
Silver - SrA Diante Cooper (U.S. Air Force)

130kg/286.6 lbs.
Gold - Capt. Daniel Miller (U.S. Marine Corps)
Silver - 1LT Toby Erickson (U.S. Army)

New U.S. Olympic Team Trials qualifiers
55 kg - Sgt Josh Medina (U.S. Marine Corps)
60kg - Capt. Colton Rasche (U.S. Marine Corps)
72kg - 2LT Michael Hooker (U.S. Army)
77kg - SGT Vladyslav Dombrovskiy (U.S. Army)
82kg - SPC Dillon Cowan (U.S. Army)
87kg - 1stLt Terrence Zaleski (U.S. Marine Corps)
97kg - SrA Diante Cooper (U.S. Air Force)