The All-Marine Wrestling team hosted its second free tournament of the year at Goettge Memorial Field House, Aug. 3. The Lejeune Open, a tournament for active duty Marines and Sailors, served as a way to scout potential future All-Marine wrestlers and to give former wrestlers an opportunity to get back into the sport.
Pvt. Kalik Battle took first in the 149 lbs. weight class by knocking off Lance Cpl. Johnathan Dulin in the final as Cpl. Jeremy Jarvis won the 159 lbs. weight class by taking down Cpl. Luke Irons in the championship match. In the 169 lbs. division, Lance Cpl. Nicholas Jongereel defeated Cpl. Cam Stadler in the final.
In the 179 lbs. class, Cpl. Samuel Johnson was the champion as Pfc. Joshua Jernagin got second. Lance Cpl. Salem Harsh defeated Sgt. Brandon Francik to take the 189 lbs. weight class as 2nd Lt. Courtney Freeman defeated Cpl. Arthur Walthour in the 250 lbs. division final.
Jason Loukides, All-Marine Wrestling Team head coach, was sitting mat side along with All-Marine wrestlers who helped organize, officiate and score the double-elimination tournament.
One Marine wrestler who was discovered by the team as a competitor in last year’s Lejeune Open was Sgt. Josh Medina.
“It’s been life-changing,” Medina said of becoming an All-Marine wrestler. “It’s really great to be around Coach Loukides and some of the great athletes that are in the room. It’s truly inspiring to be with them every day and to workout with them.”
Medina drove 13 hours from Pennsylvania to participate in the tournament last year. He ended up winning his weight class, which began his relationship with Coach Loukides and the All-Marine program.
Medina believes the tournament serves as a similar opportunity for other Marines interested in showcasing their talent in front of the All-Marine team.
“We are trying to give the opportunity to some of these guys that are still chasing that dream of being a world champion,” Medina said. “It just depends on what you show when you come here. We have the open mats every Tuesday. If you show up to these events and show us that you want to be a part of us, then we are going to give you that chance.”
For the more than 50 participants that competed in Saturday’s tournament, the goal was to show that they have the drive and determination to compete for a spot on the All-Marine team. The prospect is no small task.
“It’s competitive every single day,” said Medina of the environment on the All-Marine team. “You are the number one guy one week, and the next thing you know you got somebody else working harder than you, and then you lose your spot. It’s always competitive, but it makes us all better.”
It is that competitive nature that has enabled the All-Marine wrestling program to be so successful. Its members also know that with the territory comes the opportunity to win major titles.
“If you get that #1 spot, you’re almost guaranteed to be bringing home some hardware, getting to put your name out there, getting to put the All-Marine wrestling name out there, qualifying and hopefully making it to the big tournaments like the worlds, because that’s all we are looking for,” said Medina, who is a member of the Puerto Rican national team. “We are looking for Marines that could possibility be that next person to win a world title.”
The All-Marine wrestling team has two World Team members in Sgt. John Stefanowicz and Sgt. Raymond Bunker. Both won bronze medals at the international Pytlasinski Memorial in Warsaw, Poland, Aug. 2-4. Bunker and Stefanowicz will compete at the 2019 World Wrestling Championship in Kazakhstan, Sept. 14-22.
The All-Marine wrestling team hosts open mats every Tuesday evening from 1730 to 1830 at AS-612 Agan Street, Marine Corps Air Station New River.
1st – Pvt. Kalik Battle
2nd – LCpl. Johnathan Dulin
3rd – LCpl. Eric Clark
1st – Cpl. Jeremy Jarvis
2nd – Cpl. Luke Irons
3rd – Cpl. Trent Thomas
1st – LCpl. Nicholas Jongereel
2nd – Cpl. Cam Stadler
3rd – Pfc. Thomas Hinz
1st – Cpl. Samuel Johnson
2nd – Pfc. Joshua Jernagin
3rd – Pvt. Antwan Wrodlaw
1st – LCpl. Salem Harsh
2nd – Sgt. Brandon Francik
3rd – Cpl. Nathaniel Hamel
1st – 2nd Lt. Courtney Freeman
2nd – Cpl. Arthur Walthour
3rd – LCpl. Carson Raymond