Army wins first five bouts on way to 27-15 win over the Marines for 19th straight Armed Forces freestyle title

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

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Defending champion Army won the first five matches of the championship finals, and went on to defeat the U.S. Marine Corps, 27-15 for its 19th straight men’s freestyle title at the Armed Forces Championships, held at Naval Base Kitsap on Sunday.

Especially helpful to the cause were a pair of technical falls in the first two matches from Lillashawn Coleman at 57 kg and Leslie Fuenffinger at 61 kg.

Coleman, competing in his first Armed Forces event, blasted Sgt. Josh Medina of the Marines, 10-0. Fuenffinger, who won an Armed Forces individual gold medal in freestyle for the fourth straight year, took care of Capt. Colton Rasche, 12-2, giving the Army an 8-1 lead right off the bat.

The next three Army wrestlers also won their matches, SPC Ivan Lopouchanski (65 kg), SGT Isaac Dukes (70 kg) and 2LT Michael Hooker (74 kg), stretching the Army lead to a very comfortable 17-4 lead at the halfway point. Army coach Shon Lewis noted that in order to win, his troops needed to come out strong right away.

Lopouchanski had to defeat one of his former athletes and his former coach in his match, with a 5-2 decision over 1st Lt. Jamel Johnson. Lopouchanski started his college career at UNC-Greensboro, where Marine Corps coach Jason Loukides was head coach and Johnson was his teammate. After UNC-G dropped wrestling, Lopouchanski transferred to Purdue, where he was an All-American. Johnson joined the U.S. Army team, and switched over to the U.S. Marines when Loukides became the All-Marine coach.

Dukes won a barnburner over 2019 Greco-Roman World Team member Sgt. Raymond Bunker, 10-8. Every time Dukes seemed to take control, Bunker battled back to close the gap. A four-point takedown with 40 seconds left gave Dukes a 10-4 lead, but gutsy Bunker added four more points before time ran out on his comeback.

It may have been Hooker’s 5-4 win over LCpl Ali Marciano that really locked in the Army win. Hooker, a three-time Greco-Roman champion and two-time freestyle champion in this event in previous years, suffered a cut which stopped the bout numerous times. He battled through the adversity and ended up one point ahead of a close match.

The Marines staged a mini-comeback with three straight wins in the middleweights, giving the team life and a chance to change their fortune.

Avenging a loss from the Greco-Roman finals, Capt. Payton Walsh came on strong with two second-period takedowns to defeat SGT Vladyslav Dombrovskiy at 79 kg.

The Marines then made a big jump with a pair of technical fall shutout wins, as SSgt. John Stefanowicz (U.S. Marine Corps) put away SPC Dillon Cowan 11-0 at 86 kg and 1stLt Terrence Zaleski closed out SGT George Hooker,12-0 at 92 kg. With just two matches left, the Marines had a mathematical chance to win the dual meet.

That rally was crushed quickly at 97kg/213.8 lbs., when Army SGT Lucas Sheridan hit a four-point takedown and nailed three straight turns for a powerful 11-0 technical fall over Sgt Vaughn Monreal Berner. Over the two day tournament, Sheridan scored four pins and two fast technical falls to dominate all opponents.

With the match already decided, the Marines did not send out heavyweight Daniel Miller, who was wrestling up a weight all weekend, forfeiting to SPC Jacob Mitchell, who has now won three straight Armed Forces freestyle gold medals.

Third place went to the U.S. Air Force, which secured a dominant 36-12 win over the U.S. Navy in the third-place dual meet. The Air Force won the first five contested bouts, and ultimately had four technical falls and two pins in the dual meet.

Nine of the 10 gold-medal winners were from either the Army or the Marines. Army champions included Coleman, Fuenffinger, Lopouchanski, Dukes, Sheridan and Mitchell. U.S. Marine Corps individual champions were Walsh, Stefanowicz and Zaleski. The only champion from another service branch was Alex Mossing of the U.S. Air Force, who won the gold at 74 kg with a 3-0 record for the day.

There were three wrestlers who won “double titles,” taking gold in both freestyle and Greco-Roman the same year: Army star Sheridan and Marine Corps stars Stefanowicz and Zaleski.

The Army has now won 19 straight Armed Forces titles in both Greco-Roman and freestyle, but the Marine Corps is getting closer, and the battles were intense all weekend.

There were three women’s weight classes contested, as both the U.S. Army and the U.S. Navy entered three women athletes. Army swept the three women’s matches, which were held prior to the final men’s dual meets.

At 50 kg., five-time Senior World Team member SSG Whitney Conder took a blast double leg to a pin in just 10 seconds over E3 Mariam Gabra. The Army got another fast pin at 53 kg, as SPC Samantha Klingel needed just 54 seconds to stop E4 Sydney Stephens. The third win came from 2019 Final X runner-up Randyll Beltz, with a 10-0 technical fall over E3 Brianna Zamora.

ARMED FORCES WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIPS
At Naval Base Kitsap, Wash.

Men’s freestyle results

ROUND THREE

U.S. Army 27, U.S. Marine Corps 15
57kg/125.6 lbs. – PFC Lillashawn Coleman (U.S. Army) tech fall Sgt Josh Medina (U.S. Marine Corps), 10-0
61kg/134.4 lbs. – SPC Leslie Fuenffinger (U.S. Army) tech. fall Capt. Colton Rasche (U.S. Marine Corps), 12-2
65kg/143.3 lbs. – SPC Ivan Lopouchanski (U.S. Army) dec. 1st Lt. Jamel Johnson (U.S. Marine Corps), 5-2
70kg/154.3 lbs. – SGT Isaac Dukes (U.S. Army) dec. Sgt. Raymond Bunker (U.S. Marine Corps), 10-8
74kg/163.1 lbs. – 2LT Michael Hooker (U.S. Army) dec. LCpl Ali Marciano (U.S. Marine Corps), 5-4
79kg/174.1 lbs. –Capt. Payton Walsh (U.S. Marine Corps) dec. SGT Vladyslav Dombrovskiy (U.S. Army), 4-2
86kg/189.5 lbs. – SSgt. John Stefanowicz (U.S. Marine Corps) tech. fall SPC Dillon Cowan (U.S. Army), 11-0
92kg/202.8 lbs. –1stLt Terrence Zaleski (U.S. Marine Corps) tech. fall SGT George Hooker (U.S. Army), 12-0
97kg/213.8 lbs. – SGT Lucas Sheridan (U.S. Army) tech fall Sgt Vaughn Monreal Berner (U.S. Marine Corps), 11-0
125kg/275.5 lbs. – SPC Jacob Mitchell (U.S. Army) won by forfeit

U.S. Air Force 36, U.S. Navy 13
57kg/125.6 lbs. – A1C Cooper Hunt (U.S. Air Force) pin E4 Teron Woodson (U.S. Navy), 1;46
61kg/134.4 lbs. – A1C Shadrach Zarwie (U.S. Air Force) tech. fall E4 Bobby Raines (U.S. Navy), 12-2
65kg/143.3 lbs. – A1C Joe Roberts (U.S. Air Force) tech. fall E6 Cory Asato (U.S. Navy), 11-1
70kg/154.3 lbs. – 2d Lt Dane Robbins (U.S. Air Force) tech. fall E5 Robert Yamashita (U.S. Navy), 12-2
74kg/163.1 lbs. – 2d Lt Alex Mossing (U.S. Air Force) won by forfeit
79kg/174.1 lbs. – 2d Lt John Hagey (U.S. Air Force) E4 tech. fall Justin Cox (U.S. Navy), 10-0
86kg/189.5 lbs. – E5 Austin Craig (U.S. Navy) pin SrA Brennan Giffin (U.S. Air Force), 2:07
92kg/202.8 lbs. – SrA Justin Rau (U.S. Air Force) pin E6 Kyle Fox (U.S. Navy), 1:03
97kg/213.8 lbs. – E6 Mark Saunders (U.S. Navy) inj. dft. over SrA Diante Cooper (U.S. Air Force), 2:11
125kg/275.5 lbs. – A1C Dagen Kramer (U.S. Air Force) pin E3 Reggie Williams (U.S. Navy), 6:00

ROUND TWO

U.S. Army 35, U.S. Air Force 9
57kg/125.6 lbs. – PFC Lillashawn Coleman (U.S. Army) tech. fall A1C Cooper Hunt (U.S. Air Force), 10-0
61kg/134.4 lbs. – SPC Leslie Fuenffinger (U.S. Army) tech. fall A1C Shadrach Zarwie (U.S. Air Force), 10-0
65kg/143.3 lbs. – SPC Ivan Lopouchanski (U.S. Army) pin A1C Joe Roberts (U.S. Air Force), 3:54
70kg/154.3 lbs. – SGT Isaac Dukes (U.S. Army) tech. fall 2d Lt Dane Robbins (U.S. Air Force), 10-0
74kg/163.1 lbs. – 2d Lt Alex Mossing (U.S. Air Force) pin 2LT Michael Hooker (U.S. Army), 3:51
79kg/174.1 lbs. – SGT Vladyslav Dombrovskiy (U.S. Army) tech. fall 2d Lt John Hagey (U.S. Air Force), 11-0
86kg/189.5 lbs. – SPC Dillon Cowan (U.S. Army) tech. fall SrA Brennan Giffin (U.S. Air Force), 14-4
92kg/202.8 lbs. – SrA Justin Rau (U.S. Air Force) dec. SGT George Hooker (U.S. Army), 14-9
97kg/213.8 lbs. – SGT Lucas Sheridan (U.S. Army) tech. fall SrA Diante Cooper (U.S. Air Force), 10-0
125kg/275.5 lbs. – SPC Jacob Mitchell (U.S. Army) pin A1C Dagen Kramer (U.S. Air Force), 1:12

U.S. Marine Corps 43, U.S. Navy 2
57kg/125.6 lbs. – Sgt Josh Medina (U.S. Marine Corps) tech. fall E4 Teron Woodson (U.S. Navy), 12-2
61kg/134.4 lbs. – Capt. Colton Rasche (U.S. Marine Corps) tech fall E4 Bobby Raines (U.S. Navy), 10-0
65kg/143.3 lbs. – 1st Lt. Jamel Johnson (U.S. Marine Corps) tech. fall E6 Cory Asato (U.S. Navy), 10-0
70kg/154.3 lbs. – Sgt. Raymond Bunker (U.S. Marine Corps) tech. fall E5 Robert Yamashita (U.S. Navy), 10-0
74kg/163.1 lbs. – LCpl Ali Marciano (U.S. Marine Corps) won by forfeit
79kg/174.1 lbs. – Capt. Payton Walsh (U.S. Marine Corps) pin E4 Justin Cox (U.S. Navy), 0:35
86kg/189.5 lbs. – SSgt. John Stefanowicz (U.S. Marine Corps) pin E5 Austin Craig (U.S. Navy), 4:41
92kg/202.8 lbs.– 1stLt Terrence Zaleski (U.S. Marine Corps) tech fall E6 Kyle Fox (U.S. Navy), 10-0
97kg/213.8 lbs..– Sgt Vaughn Monreal Berner (U.S. Marine Corps) tech. fall E6 Mark Saunders (U.S. Navy), 12-0
125kg/275.5 lbs. – Capt. Daniel Miller (U.S. Marine Corps) tech. fall E3 Reggie Williams (U.S. Navy), 22-11

ROUND ONE

U.S. Army 45, U.S. Navy 3
57kg/125.6 lbs. – PFC Lillashawn Coleman (U.S. Army) tech. fall E4 Teron Woodson (U.S. Navy), 12-0
61kg/134.4 lbs. – SPC Leslie Fuenffinger (U.S. Army) pin E4 Bobby Raines (U.S. Navy), 2:09
65kg/143.3 lbs. – SPC Ivan Lopouchanski (U.S. Army) pin E6 Cory Asato (U.S. Navy), 0:30
70kg/154.3 lbs. – SGT Isaac Dukes (U.S. Army) tech fall E5 Robert Yamashita (U.S. Navy), 14-2
74kg/163.1 lbs. – 2LT Michael Hooker (U.S. Army) won by forfeit
79kg/174.1 lbs. – SGT Vladyslav Dombrovskiy (U.S. Army) tech. fall E4 Justin Cox (U.S. Navy), 11-1
86kg/189.5 lbs. – SPC Dillon Cowan (U.S. Army) tech fall E5 Austin Craig (U.S. Navy), 10-0
92kg/202.8 lbs. – SGT George Hooker (U.S. Army) tech fall E6 Kyle Fox (U.S. Navy), 12-2
97kg/213.8 lbs. – SGT Lucas Sheridan (U.S. Army) pin E6 Mark Saunders (U.S. Navy), 0:35
125kg/275.5 lbs. – SPC Jacob Mitchell (U.S. Army) pin E3 Reggie Williams (U.S. Navy), 5:59

U.S. Marine Corps 31, U.S. Air Force 13
57kg/125.6 lbs. –A1C Cooper Hunt (U.S. Air Force) tech. fall Sgt Josh Medina (U.S. Marine Corps), 11-0
61kg/134.4 lbs. – Capt. Colton Rasche (U.S. Marine Corps) tech. fall A1C Shadrach Zarwie (U.S. Air Force), 10-0
65kg/143.3 lbs. – 1st Lt. Jamel Johnson (U.S. Marine Corps) tech. fall A1C Joe Roberts (U.S. Air Force), 12-1
70kg/154.3 lbs. –2d Lt Dane Robbins (U.S. Air Force) dec. Sgt. Raymond Bunker (U.S. Marine Corps), 8-8
74kg/163.1 lbs. – 2d Lt Alex Mossing (U.S. Air Force) tech. fall LCpl Ali Marciano (U.S. Marine Corps), 17-6
79kg/174.1 lbs. – Capt. Payton Walsh (U.S. Marine Corps) tech. fall 2d Lt John Hagey (U.S. Air Force), 13-2
86kg/189.5 lbs. – SSgt. John Stefanowicz (U.S. Marine Corps) tech fall SrA Brennan Giffin (U.S. Air Force), 10-0
92kg/202.8 lbs.– 1stLt Terrence Zaleski (U.S. Marine Corps) tech. fall SrA Justin Rau (U.S. Air Force), 11-0
97kg/213.8 lbs..– Sgt Vaughn Monreal Berner (U.S. Marine Corps) pin SrA Diante Cooper (U.S. Air Force), 3:59
125kg/275.5 lbs. – Capt. Daniel Miller (U.S. Marine Corps) tech. fall A1C Dagen Kramer (U.S. Air Force), 10-0

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 medals

57kg/125.6 lbs.
Gold - PFC Lillashawn Coleman (U.S. Army)
Silver - A1C Cooper Hunt (U.S. Air Force)

61kg/134.4 lbs.
Gold - SPC Leslie Fuenffinger (U.S. Army)
Silver - Capt. Colton Rasche (U.S. Marine Corps)

65kg/143.3 lbs.
Gold - SPC Ivan Lopouchanski (U.S. Army)
Silver - 1st Lt. Jamel Johnson (U.S. Marine Corps)

70kg/154.3 lbs.
Gold - SGT Isaac Dukes (U.S. Army)
Silver - 2d Lt Dane Robbins (U.S. Air Force)

74kg/163.1 lbs.
Gold - 2d Lt Alex Mossing (U.S. Air Force)
Silver - 2LT Michael Hooker (U.S. Army)

79kg/174.1 lbs.
Gold - Capt. Payton Walsh (U.S. Marine Corps)
Silver - SGT Vladyslav Dombrovskiy (U.S. Army)

86kg/189.5 lbs.
Gold - SSgt. John Stefanowicz (U.S. Marine Corps)
Silver - SPC Dillon Cowan (U.S. Army)

92kg/202.8 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 - Sgt Vaughn Monreal Berner (U.S. Marine Corps)

125kg/275.5 lbs.
Gold - SPC Jacob Mitchell (U.S. Army)
Silver - Capt. Daniel Miller (U.S. Marine Corps)

Women’s freestyle results

50 kg/110 lbs.
SSG Whitney Conder (U.S. Army) pin E3 Mariam Gabra (U.S. Navy), 0:10
Gold – SSG Whitney Conder (U.S. Army)
Silver - E3 Mariam Gabra (U.S. Navy)

53 kg/116.5 lbs.
SPC Samantha Klingel (U.S. Army) pin E4 Sydney Stephens (U.S. Navy), 0:54
Gold – SPC Samantha Klingel (U.S. Army)
Silver - E4 Sydney Stephens (U.S. Navy),

76 kg/167.5 lbs.
SPC Randyll Beltz (U.S. Army) tech. fall E3 Brianna Zamora (U.S. Navy), 10-0
Gold – SPC Randyll Beltz (U.S. Army)
Silver - E3 Brianna Zamora (U.S. Navy)