Armed Forces Championship to be held in Pensacola Fla March 17 18

By Gary Abbott | March 15, 2000, 12 a.m. (ET)
2000 Armed Forces Wrestling Championship to be held at the Naval Air Station Whiting Field in Pensacola, Fla., March 17-18

The 2000 Armed Forces Wrestling Championship will be held at the Naval Air Station Whiting Field, Building 1417 in Pensacola, Fla., Friday, March 17 and Saturday, March 18.

The best wrestlers from the four branches of the Armed Forces - the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Marines - will battle for individual and team honors. The competition is free of charge for all spectators.

The U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force teams are stationed in Colorado Springs, Colo., while the U.S. Navy team is stationed in Pensacola, Fla. and the U.S. Marine Corps team is stationed in Quantico, Va.

The U.S. Army won both the freestyle and the Greco-Roman competition at the 1999 Armed Forces Wrestling Championship, which was held at the Post Field House in Fort Carson, Colo.

Dual meets will be held, with each of the teams competing against the other three teams. Individual medals will be determined based upon the results at each weight class. Champions in the Greco-Roman division qualify for the Challenge Tournament at the 2000 U.S. Olympic Wrestling Team Trials in Dallas, Texas, June 22-24. This is the first qualifying event for the 2000 Olympic Trials.

The Greco-Roman competition will be held on Friday, March 17, with session times of 10:00 a.m., noon and 3:00 p.m. The Opening Ceremonies are set for 9:00 a.m on Friday, March 17.

The freestyle competition will be held on Saturday, March 18, with sessions held at 9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Awards will be presented mat side after every other weight class for both freestyle and Greco-Roman.

Marcel Cooper was the only double champion at the 1999 tournament (both freestyle and Greco-Roman). He wrestles for the U.S. Marines and won the titles at 152 pounds. Also claiming titles for the U.S. Marines were Dan Hicks who claimed the Greco-Roman title at 213.75 pounds, James Shillow who claimed the freestyle title at 138.75 pounds and Patrick Owens who won the title in freestyle at 167.5 pounds.

The U.S. Army had four 1999 champions in freestyle: Eric Albarracin at 119 pounds, Charles Daniels at 187.25 pounds, Dominic Black at 213.75 pounds and Jason Loukides at 286 pounds. In Greco-Roman, the Army had four individual champions: Dave Nieradka at 127.75 pounds, Glenn Nieradka at 138.75 pounds, Keith Sieracki at 167.5 pounds and Dremiel Byers at 286 pounds.

The U.S. Air Force also had one Greco-Roman champion in Aaron Sieracki at 187.25 pounds. Jacob Hey was the Air Force individual champion in freestyle at 127.75 pounds.

The U.S. Navy had one individual champion in Greco-Roman: Steven Mays at 119 pounds.

The event is always very competitive, as each branch of the U.S. military battles with great pride in their service. Many of the competitors each year are nationally ranked and are top Olympic hopefuls.