Bunker joins Stefanowicz on World Team - Camp Lejeune Globe: Sports

Bunker joins Stefanowicz on World Team

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Posted: Wednesday, June 19, 2019 1:15 pm

The All-Marine wrestling team has another wrestler on the World Team following Final X: Lincoln which was held at the University of Nebraska on June 15. Sgt. Raymond Bunker defeated the Air Force’s Alex Mossing in two straight rounds to win the 72 kg./158.7 lbs. Greco-Roman division title and make his first World Team. When Bunker won the match, he fell to the mat not in disbelief, but in exhaustion and revelry.

“I was just really exhausted and fell to the floor to catch my breath and soak it all in,” Bunker said, who hasn’t lost a Greco-Roman match all year. “You train so hard for that moment. You can’t really put it into words.”

Bunker is having a year to remember with wins now coming at Final X, the U.S. Open, the Dave Shultz Memorial International tournament and the Armed Forces Championship. He says that being consistent with his training has been a key to success and that it helps having great teammates who build his confidence by repeatedly telling him he will be a world champion. Bunker also believes that All-Marine wrestling team coach Jason Loukides is the best coach in the world.

“Some people only like you when you’re winning, but [coach] is not like that,” Bunker said. “He is the type of coach who is always there for you at your best times and at your worst times. He motivates us to be the best wrestlers and the best Marines we can be, because without the Marine thing you can’t have the wrestling thing.”

Sgt. Bunker’s warrior mentality began as a 10-year-old when he started doing Mixed Marital Arts (MMA) because he was bullied. His MMA background has helped lay the foundation that’s enabled him become a Marine and one of the best wrestlers in the world.

“When I get hit in the face it makes me better,” Bunker said. “It brings out the Marine in me and it brings out that fighting spirit.”

Bunker, who is stationed on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, joins All-Marine teammate Sgt. John Stefanowicz on the World Team. Stefanowicz won at Final X: Rutgers on June 8 to take the 82 kg./180.2 lbs. spot on the World Team which will compete at the World Wrestling Championships in Astana, Kazakhstan Sept. 14-22, 2019.

MCB Camp Lejeune Marine and All-Marine wrestling team member Sgt. Xavier Johnson also made it to Final X: Lincoln by winning the 63 kg./138.7 lbs. Greco-Roman division at the World Team Trials (WTT) Challenge Tournament that was held in Raleigh in May. Johnson, 23, is the youngest of the four Marines who made it to Final X. At Final X: Lincoln, Sgt. Johnson faced an experienced opponent in the Army’s Ryan Mango. Mango was the 2018 and 2019 U.S. Open Champion and beat Johnson in two rounds in the best-of-three match.

“The atmosphere was amazing,” Johnson said. “I love being challenged on the biggest stages and the most important thing is that we represented our military branch properly. I just want to say thank you to the United States Marine Corps because without them I couldn’t do this.”

1st Lt. Jamel Johnson is the other Marine who made Final X after winning the WTT at 67 kg/147.5 lbs. Johnson lost to U.S. Open champion Ellis Coleman of the Army at Final X: Rutgers on June 8.

Final X: Lincoln (Lincoln, Nebraska, June 15) Greco-Roman Results:

72 kg./158.7 lbs.

Rd. 1: Raymond Bunker (U.S. Marine Corps) VPO1 Alex Mossing (Air Force RTC), 3-1

Rd. 2: Bunker VPO Mossing, 7-0

63 kg./138.7 lbs.

Rd. 1: Ryan Mango (U.S. Army WCAP) VSU1 Xavier Johnson (U.S. Marine Corps), 13-2 4:06

Rd. 2: Mango VPO1 Johnson, 6-5

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