Published on February 26th, 2016 | by The Kitsap Scene0
NBK hosts 2016 Armed Forces Wrestling Championship
By Petty Officer 2nd Class Cory Asato
Navy Public Affairs Support Element, Det. Northwest
BREMERTON, Wash. – The 2016 Armed Forces Wrestling Championship was held at Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton between Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force teams, Feb. 20-21.
The tournament was held over two days as the services were pitted against each other Saturday in Greco-Roman style wrestling and Sunday for Freestyle. The men’s division had 16 weight classes between the two styles and women’s had just one for Freestyle.
Every service has different application requirements and preparations for the tournament.
It’s definitely a true honor to represent and compete for the Navy,” said Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Bobby Yamashita, a Northglenn, Colorado native stationed with Naval Air Station Pensacola and All-Navy Sports 71kg Greco-Roman wrestling athlete. “I truly cherish these moments and never take it for granted.”
Both USS America (LHA 6) and USS Nimitz (CVN 68) had two Sailors qualify for the Navy’s wrestling team, who’ve spent more than a month training at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor in preparation for the tournament with 10 other Sailors.
“The bond wrestlers have is special, and different from most sports. Anyone who’s been on a wrestling team would agree,” said Airman Lance Jeffries, a Loveland, Colorado, native stationed with USS Nimitz (CVN 68) and All-Navy Sports 74kg Freestyle wrestling athlete.
The tournament was held on two mats with the same format throughout both days. Army wrestled Navy while the Marine Corps took on the Air Force. Army faced Air Force for the second period.
Army took its 15th consecutive title for both Greco-Roman and Freestyle wrestling with nine individual champions.
Navy tied with Air Force for third place in Freestyle with Machinist’s Mate 3rd Class James Souza, a Puyallup, Washington, native stationed with USS America (LHA 6), earned double silver medals in the 85kg Greco-Roman wrestling weight class and 86kg Freestyle and Operations Specialist 3rd Class Abril Ramirez, an El Paso, Texas, native stationed with USS Halsey (DDG 97) earned a silver medal in the 63kg women’s Freestyle weight class.
“My opponent was incredibly skilled,” said Ramirez. “My twin sister, who’s on deployment now with USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), and I are planning to come out to the team next year.”
Other Sailors on the All-Navy team shared their motivation for the upcoming year, counting 362 days until the 2017 Armed Forces Championship with a renewed vigor.
“Did not achieve what I set out to do, but I’m still proud of this experience,” said Joseph K. Blaes, a Scott Plains, New Jersey, native stationed with HSC-4 and and All-Navy Sports 98kg Greco-Roman wrestling and 97kg Freestyle athlete. “I not only competed against some of the best guys in the world, but also got to compete at the senior level, which not many wrestlers get the opportunity to do.”
“I still gave it absolutely everything I had and left it all out there,” said Blaes. “Now I know what to expect next year for the team.”
Chief Navy Diver Alejandro Delapena closed the day with remarks for the team after the tournament.
“While some of you are returnees from last year’s team, the rest of you now know what it takes to be here,” said Delapena. “It all starts now. How bad you want it? We only have a month to prepare together, so the rest of the year is up to you to make those sacrifices and dedicate yourself—make yourself a champion.”
For more information on the All-Navy Sports wrestling team, visit: https://www.facebook.com/All-Navy-Wrestling-Team-172423636238080/?fref=ts.
For more information on how to apply to All-Navy Sports, visit: http://www.navyfitness.org/all-navy-sports/navy-sports-application.
For more information on Armed Forces Sports, visit: http://armedforcessports.defense.gov/.
For more information on the event, visit: http://www.teamusa.org/USA-Wrestling/Features/2016/February/17/Armed-Forces-Championships-in-Washington-State-this-weekend.