Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune sports community comes together during 2018 - Camp Lejeune Globe: Sports

Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune sports community comes together during 2018

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Posted: Thursday, December 27, 2018 8:00 am

When I joined The Globe staff in February, I didn’t know what to expect covering the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune sports beat. In my first column back when it was known as “Inside Lejeune Sports,” I promised that there always would be a story to be told and a new perspective to be addressed. If there is anything that I learned in my 10 months working on MCB Camp Lejeune, it’s that the local community is important.

At the start of my time at The Globe, I remember covering Leon Spinks’ induction into the Jacksonville-Onslow Sports Commission Hall of Fame in April. Spinks was one incredible boxer back in the day. He even took down champion Muhammad Ali, proudly representing his Marine Corps roots. Regardless of his fame, Spinks will always be a United States Marine.

The runs that take place throughout the year are extremely important for the base. The Grand Prix Series events occur once every couple of months during the year. Active-duty service members, veterans and civilians run at different locations on a Marine Corps installation.

The massive amount of Semper Fit events that took place this year showed the important role that fitness plays in a military community. The group exercise classes are like one giant family and everyone knows each other.

All of these sporting events are great at MCB Camp Lejeune, but life for the Lejeune community and the surrounding areas changed when Hurricane Florence came roaring through North Carolina, causing catastrophic damage to people’s homes, places of work, recreational facilities and lives this past September. However, if someone thought this would stop the MCB Camp Lejeune community from getting back up, they would have thought wrong. Lejeune soccer player Broden Wilhemsen said it best: “There was no physical activity and time for yourself throughout this recovery process when you are focused on your community.”

And the Devil Pups fall sports seasons finished remarkably considering the chaos they faced in their personal lives due to the hurricane. Lejeune High School soccer appeared in the East Regional final for the first time since 2004.

The LHS tennis team made the trip to the East Regional final for the first time in program history. The Devil Pups cross-country boys and girls won regional titles for a fourth consecutive year.

Lejeune football might not have won a game this season, but the boys on that team were turned into men under the direction of head coach Jim Gardiner and his assistant coaches.

In November, after being rescheduled by Hurricane Florence, the High Intensity Tactical Training Championship took place on MCB Camp Lejeune. Elite Marines from across the country gave it their all, testing their fitness best.

Certainly, 2018 was a year to remember on MCB Camp Lejeune and MCAS New River. Marines are competitive, and the bar is raised for 2019. Have a safe and happy end to the rest of 2018, Marines.

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