The sound of jump ropes smacking the ground and faint music blaring from headphones filled the air as most wrestlers focused on getting in the zone for the Camp Lejeune Open Wrestling Tournament hosted by the All-Marine Wrestling Team at Goettge Memorial Field House aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Saturday.
A total of 70 wrestlers participated and were sectioned into nine different weight classes. Folkstyle wrestling and high school rules were implemented. The number of wrestlers nearly doubled last year’s event.
The competition had two wrestling mats which allowed two matches to go on at once. Each match consisted of three rounds, with the first round lasting two minutes and the following two rounds one minute. If the match was tied by the third round, overtime of one minute was granted.
The referees and score keepers were members of the All-Marine Wrestling Team. This allowed them to strategically select who they thought was worthy of being given a chance to make the team.
Terence Zaleski, All-Marine wrestler, was hopeful that the competition would attract a good variety of athletes. Being new to the team, Zaleski was excited to experience an open-mat talent call.
“This is a good opportunity for us to scout out Marines for our team,” said Zaleski. “If we see what we like we will invite them back for a match with us.”
Jed Flores, participant, has been wrestling since he was 6 years old and wrestled for San Francisco State University. Flores won his first match against Garret Pauly. Pauly stood well over six feet, towering over Flores which lead to what the audience thought was an unfair advantage, but his height was not a challenge for Flores.
“When I saw him, I thought ‘oh crap’,” said Flores. “We had fun and we are both out here to have some fun, but hey, if the coaches offered me a spot, I would be more than happy and honored to join the team.”
Flores went on to dominate the 170-178 lb. weight class and walked away with the championship title.
Dominic Munoz won the 206-219 lb. weight class. With 11 years of wrestling under his belt, he has learned how to channel his passion into success.
“I’ve competed in tournaments like this before, each time improving and placing higher,” said Munoz. “I felt pretty confident. Winning is an option and it’s all about how bad the other person wants it.”
Although competition and being the best is what gets most Marines going, not all the participants wrestled for the spotlight.
Sammy Pena decided last minute that he wanted to break out his old high school wrestling skills and hit the mat.
“This is something fun to do,” said Pena. “Wrestling is a good stress reliever.”
With the busy schedules and continued deployments of team members, the All-Marine Wrestling Team is constantly looking for talent.
The team hosts an All-Marine Wrestling open-mat event every week on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 5 p.m. in the Area 5 gym aboard Camp Lejeune.
For more information and a complete list of winners, visit www.facebook.com/AllMarineWrestling.