Army beats Marines, 30-3, sweeping all gold medals to win 16th straight Armed Forces Greco-Roman title

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | Feb. 25, 2017, 3:09 p.m. (ET)
Ildar Hafizov of the Army tosses Randy Duncan of the Air Force at 59 kg. Hafizov went on to win the gold medal at the Armed Forces Championships. Photo by Richard Immel.

JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. – The defending champion U.S. Army won all eight matches to beat the U.S. Marine Corps, 30-3, in the finals dual to capture its 16th straight Armed Forces Greco-Roman title on Saturday. Both teams entered their third-round dual meet with identical 2-0 records.

Six of the Army victories were by technical fall. Perhaps the biggest of the wins came at 98 kg, where Endhyr Meza of the Army scored an impressive 11-3 technical fall over Marine star Daniel Miller, who had pinned his first two opponents in the tournament. Miller had beaten Meza in their past matches.

“I have changed my wrestling style up these last couple of months, trying different things and seeing what works for me and what doesn’t. Coach Ali Asgari is really training with me hard, focusing on getting me better every day. Being able to push out there is a good result of that training,” said Meza.

A pair of past Olympians won their matches for the Army by technical fall in the finals dual, 2008 Olympian Ildar Hafizov at 59 kg and 2012 Olympian Ellis Coleman at 66 kg. Hafizov, who wrestled in the Beijing Olympics for Uzbekistan, shut down Colton Rasche of the Marines, 10-2. Coleman, who wrestled for the USA at the London Olympics, stopped Raymond Bunker, 10-0.

“I felt fine. I felt a little slow, but everybody starts a little slow. I was able to pick my pace up, and wrestle my wrestling style more as the day went on, and have fun at the same time,” said Coleman.

Others scoring technical falls in the finals were Courtney Myers at 80 kg, Lucas Sheridan at 85 kg and Toby Erickson at 130 kg. Army finished with a 3-0 dual meet record to win the title, and the Marines finished 2-1 to place second.

Erickson, who won the U.S. Open heavyweight title in December, was competing in his first Armed Forces Championships.

“This is a unique tournament. We don’t have any of these dual meet tournaments any more. It was one of the more nerve-racking tournaments I’ve had in awhile because you are not only going out there to win it for yourself, but you are also out there to win it for your team. There seems to be more riding on it, a little more bragging rights. It is a lot of fun, a great tournament. It feels incredible to win my first Armed Forces Championship,” said Erickson.

“I thought we wrestled pretty well as a team. We had some a good win at 98 kg with Meza. He got beat by that kid a couple of times and never beat him before. I was excited about how he wrestled today. The Armed Forces is a small tournament but it warms your heart, when you watch these guys from the Services compete. I am happy for our team, and really happy for Meza,” said Army Coach Shon Lewis.

The U.S. Air Force captured third place, winning five of the eight matches to stop the U.S. Navy in their final bout, 21-14. The Air Force finished at 1-2 in dual meets, while the Navy went 0-3.

The Air Force won five straight matches in the middleweights to clinch the victory. Included was a pin by Brandon Johnson at 80 kg and a technical fall by Sherwin Severin at 85 kg.

The wildest match of the tournament came at 75 kg, as Tyler Westlund of the Air Force edged Austin Craig of the Navy, 17-16. The lead changed a number of times, as both wrestlers executed a number of big moves.

Individual medals were awarded in each weight class, based upon the results from each dual meet. The U.S. Army swept all eight gold medals, as they won every match they wrestled on Saturday. Winning gold medals for Army for the second straight year were Myers and Michael Hooker at 71 kg.

Other individual champions for the Army were Hafizov, Coleman, Myers, Sheridan, Meza, Erickson and Dillon Cowan at 75 kg.

The top three placewinners in Greco-Roman at the Armed Forces Championships qualified to compete at the U.S. Greco-Roman World Team Trials in Las Vegas, Nev., April 28-29.

The competition continues on Sunday, with the freestyle competition. The U.S. Army also has a 15-year winning streak in freestyle at the Armed Forces Championships, with the U.S. Marine Corps coming in as the returning second place team. Session I will be held at 10:00 a.m. ET, with Session II set for 1:00 p.m. ET.

All of the action from the Armed Forces Championships is being broadcast live on TheMat.com.

ARMED FORCES CHAMPIONSHIPS
At Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., February 25

Greco-Roman Team Standings

1. U.S. Army, 3-0 record
2. U.S. Marines, 2-1 record
3. U.S. Air Force, 1-2 record
4. U.S. Navy, 0-3 record.

SATURDAY AFTERNOON
ROUND THREE


U.S. Army 30, U.S. Marine Corps 3
59 kg/130 lbs. – SPC Ildar Hafizov (Army) tech. fall 2d LT Colton Rasche (Marines), 10-2
66 kg/145.5 lbs. – SPC Ellis Coleman (Army) tech. fall Sgt Raymond Bunker (Marines), 10-0
71 kg/156 lbs. – SGT Michael Hooker (Army) dec. Sgt JayShon Wilson (Marines), 4-0
75 kg/165 lbs. – SPC Dillon Cowan (Army) dec. Sgt. John Stefanowicz (Marines), 9-3
80 kg/176 lbs. – SGT Courtney Myers (Army) tech. fall Capt. Michael Brant (Marines), 8-0
85 kg/187 lbs/ – SPC Lucas Sheridan (Army) tech. fall LCpl. Vaughan Monreal-Berner (Marines), 8-0
98 kg/215 lbs.– SPC Endhyr Meza (Army) tech. fall 1st Lt Daniel Miller (Marines), 11-3
130 kg/286 lbs. – 2LT Toby Erickson (Army) tech. fall Sgt.Trent Osnes (Marines), 8-0

U.S. Air Force 21, U.S. Navy 14
59 kg/130 lbs.– E-4 Michael Hollingsworth (Navy) dec. SSgt Randy Duncan (Air Force), 8-3
66 kg/145.5 lbs.– SSgt Nate Higgins (Air Force) tech. fall E-4 Randy Bucsok (Navy), 10-2
71 kg/156 lbs.– Lt Brandon Mueller (Air Force) dec. E-5 Bobby Yamashita (Navy), 5-2
75 kg/165 lbs. – A1C Tyler Westlund (Air Force) dec. E-4 Austin Craig (Navy), 17-16
80 kg/176 lbs.– SrA Brandon Johnson (Air Force) pin E-3 Joseph Marques (Navy), 2:23
85 kg/187 lbs.– MSgt Sherwin Severin (Air Force) tech. fall E-4 Daniel Mazzie (Navy), 8-0
98 kg/215 lbs.– E-5 Antonio Harris (Navy) pin A1C Raul Velez (Air Force), 1:00
130 kg/286 lbs. – E-5 Zachahria Manning (Navy) dec. A1C Francisco Mata (Air Force), 5-1

SATURDAY MORNING
ROUND ONE


U.S. Army 33, U.S. Navy 1
59 kg/130 lbs. – SPC Ildar Hafizov (Army) tech. fall-4 Michael Hollingsworth (Navy), 10-0
66 kg/145.5 lbs. – SPC Ellis Coleman (Army) tech. fall E-4 Randy Bucsok (Navy), 8-0
71 kg/156 lbs. – SGT Michael Hooker (Army) tech. fall E-5 Bobby Yamashita (Navy), 10-0
75 kg/165 lbs. – SPC Dillon Cowan (Army) tech. fall E-4 Austin Craig (Navy), 12-4
80 kg/176 lbs. – SGT Courtney Myers (Army) tech. fall E-3 Joseph Marques (Navy), 9-0
85 kg/187 lbs/ – SPC Lucas Sheridan (Army) pin E-4 Daniel Mazzie (Navy), 0:58
98 kg/215 lbs.– SPC Endhyr Meza (Army) tech. fall E-5 Antonio Harris (Navy), 8-0
130 kg/286 lbs. – 2LT Toby Erickson (Army) tech fall E-5 Zachahria Manning (Navy), 8-0

U.S. Marine Corps 23, U.S. Air Force 12
59 kg/130 lbs. – 2d LT Colton Rasche (Marines) tech. fall SSgt Randy Duncan (Air Force), 8-0
66 kg/145.5 lbs. – Sgt Raymond Bunker (Marines) dec. SSgt Nate Higgins (Air Force), 7-3
71 kg/156 lbs.– Lt Brandon Mueller (Air Force) dec. Sgt JayShon Wilson (Marines), 4-1
75 kg/165 lbs. – Sgt. John Stefanowicz (Marines) tech. fall A1C Tyler Westlund (Air Force), 9-0
80 kg/176 lbs.– SrA Brandon Johnson (Air Force) tech. fall Capt. Michael Brant (Marines), 21-12
85 kg/187 lbs.– MSgt Sherwin Severin (Air Force) dec. LCpl. Vaughan Monreal-Berner (Marines), 6-2
98 kg/215 lbs. 1st Lt Daniel Miller (Marines) pin A1C Raul Velez (Air Force), 0:32
130 kg/286 lbs. – Sgt.Trent Osnes (Marines) tech. fall A1C Francisco Mata (Air Force), 14-4

SATURDAY MORNING
ROUND TWO


U.S. Army 30, U.S. Air Force 2
59 kg/130 lbs. – SPC Ildar Hafizov (Army) tech. fall SSgt Randy Duncan (Air Force), 10-0
66 kg/145.5 lbs. – SPC Ellis Coleman (Army) tech. fall SSgt Nate Higgins (Air Force), 10-0
71 kg/156 lbs. – SGT Michael Hooker (Army) dec. Lt Brandon Mueller (Air Force), 6-2
75 kg/165 lbs. – SPC Dillon Cowan (Army) tech. fall A1C Tyler Westlund (Air Force), 9-0
80 kg/176 lbs. – SGT Courtney Myers (Army) tech. fall SrA Brandon Johnson (Air Force), 8-0
85 kg/187 lbs/ – SPC Lucas Sheridan (Army) dec. MSgt Sherwin Severin (Air Force), 3-1
98 kg/215 lbs.– SPC Endhyr Meza (Army) tech. fall A1C Raul Velez (Air Force), 9-0
130 kg/286 lbs. – 2LT Toby Erickson (Army) tech. fall A1C Francisco Mata (Air Force), 9-0

U.S. Marine Corps 34. U.S. Navy 2
59 kg/130 lbs. – 2d LT Colton Rasche (Marines) pin E-4 Michael Hollingsworth (Navy). 1:53
66 kg/145.5 lbs. – Sgt Raymond Bunker (Marines) tech. fall E-4 Randy Bucsok (Navy), 12-2
71 kg/156 lbs.– Sgt JayShon Wilson (Marines) dec. E-5 Bobby Yamashita (Navy), 7-3
75 kg/165 lbs. – Sgt. John Stefanowicz (Marines) tech. fall E-4 Austin Craig (Navy), 8-0
80 kg/176 lbs.– Capt. Michael Brant (Marines) tech. fall E-3 Joseph Marques (Navy), 8-0
85 kg/187 lbs.– LCpl. Vaughan Monreal-Berner (Marines) tech. fall E-4 Daniel Mazzie (Navy), 10-1
98 kg/215 lbs. 1st Lt Daniel Miller (Marines) pin E-5 Antonio Harris (Navy), 1:21
130 kg/286 lbs. – Sgt.Trent Osnes (Marines) pin E-5 Zachahria Manning (Navy), 0:33

Individual Medalists


59 kg/130 lbs.
Gold– SPC Ildar Hafizov (Army)
Silver - 2d LT Colton Rasche (Marines)
Bronze - E-4 Michael Hollingsworth (Navy)

66 kg/145.5 lbs.
Gold – SPC Ellis Coleman (Army)
Silver - Sgt Raymond Bunker (Marines)
Bronze - SSgt Nate Higgins (Air Force)

71 kg/156 lbs.
Gold – SGT Michael Hooker (Army)
Silver - Lt Brandon Mueller (Air Force)
Bronze - Sgt JayShon Wilson (Marines)

75 kg/165 lbs.
Gold – SPC Dillon Cowan (Army)
Silver - Sgt. John Stefanowicz (Marines)
Bronze - A1C Tyler Westlund (Air Force)

80 kg/176 lbs.
Gold– SGT Courtney Myers (Army)
Silver - SrA Brandon Johnson (Air Force)
Bronze - Capt. Michael Brant (Marines)

85 kg/187 lbs.
Gold – SPC Lucas Sheridan (Army)
Silver - MSgt Sherwin Severin (Air Force)
Bronze - LCpl. Vaughan Monreal-Berner (Marines)

98 kg/215 lbs.
Gold – SPC Endhyr Meza (Army)
Silver - 1st Lt Daniel Miller (Marines)
Bronze - E-5 Antonio Harris (Navy)

130 kg/286 lbs.
Gold – 2LT Toby Erickson (Army)
Silver - Sgt.Trent Osnes (Marines)
Bronze - E-5 Zachahria Manning (Navy)