A turning of the tides – that is what U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Raymond Bunker believes this weekend’s Armed Forces Wrestling Championship could signify if the Marines can win, ending the Army’s 18-year winning streak in the process.
“As a program, we are always trying to make that next jump, and the next jump is beating Army and showing the world that the Marine Corps is number one and that it’s a new era,” Bunker said.
Sgt. Josh Medina said losing to the Army in past years has just been fuel for the Marines.
“Knowing that we have been losing to them, that keeps our drive going,” Medina said.
According to Bunker, the Armed Forces Championship features “super matches” where some of the country’s top wrestlers go head-to-head in the team-oriented event.
Last year, the Army defeated the Marines 32-10 in the Greco-Roman final before winning the freestyle title over the Marines 33-9 to continue their run of championships. Five Marines won both a silver medal and a gold medal in the freestyle and Greco-Roman competitions a year ago.
This year’s tournament will pit U.S. Greco-Roman National Team members up against one another. The Army has four wrestlers who are number ones on the national team, whereas the Marines have two number ones, Bunker and Staff Sgt. John Stefanowicz.
The Olympics may be the premier wrestling event of 2020, but the Armed Forces Wrestling Championship is right up there for the Marines.
“This is a really big event for USA wrestling and Greco-Roman wrestling in the United States,” Bunker said. “To win, it would be great for the Marine Corps wrestling family. It all comes down to walking the walk, going out there and doing it.”
“It’s the biggest,” Medina said. “It’s our goal as a team. This is what we’ve all been brought here to do.”
The competition begins on Saturday at Naval Base Kitsap, Washington and concludes Sunday. The tournament's live video stream will be viewable at www.trackwrestling.com.