Return to wrestling provides memorable experience for Veterans athlete
Marc Williams has returned to wrestling competition for the first time in over 35 years. Craig Sesker photo.
LAS VEGAS – Marc Williams hails from a town best known for baseball.
But for the native of Williamsport, Pa. – home of the Little League World Series – his sport of choice is wrestling.
And even though he’s 60 years old, wrestling is still in his blood.
So the wrestler who twice qualified for the Pennsylvania state tournament in high school is back competing again for the first time in over 35 years.
Williams placed third in USA Wrestling’s Veterans Nationals Greco-Roman competition at 69 kg/152 lbs. in Division E on Wednesday at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
“It feels great to be out there wrestling again,” Williams said. “I’ve been pretty blessed – I’m healthy, I’m feeling good and I don’t feel 60. Everybody thinks I’m younger than that, and that’s good to hear.”
Williams returned to competition a few weeks ago when he placed second in the Veterans class at USA Wrestling’s Folkstyle Nationals in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Williams opened the tournament on Wednesday with a fall over California’s Robbert Wijtman before losing by fall to California’s Christopher Roos. He then dropped an 11-2 decision in his third bout against Evgeny Minaev.
The Veterans were wrestling on the two mats on the stage that will be used later in the week for the U.S. Senior Open finals.
“It was pretty scary going up there at first,” he said. “All the matches are being shown live on Flowrestling, so that is interesting.”
Williams said he and Wijtman, one of the sport’s top wrestling photographers, were actually chatting before they stepped up there to face each other.
“There is great sportsmanship and great brotherhood among the wrestlers here,” Williams sad. “Everyone is real friendly and nice. There is a lot of respect between the guys here, and that’s great to see.”
Williams also does some coaching for the Bison Legend Wrestling Club at Bucknell University.
“I work with kids and wrestle with them all the time, and I just thought it might be fun to wrestle someone my own age for a change,” Williams said. “It’s really been a fun experience for me.”
Williams, who works as a goldsmith and designs jewelry, said he plans to compete in the Veterans Nationals freestyle event on Thursday.
Williams said he captured a national AAU title in Ames, Iowa when he was in high school.
“I want to win a national title when I’m 16 and when I’m 60,” he said, flashing a smile. “That would be pretty cool."