Wrestling still enjoyable for Veterans standout Kevin Pine

By Craig Sesker USA Wrestling | May 06, 2015, 2:18 p.m. (ET)
Three-time Veterans World medalist Kevin Pine, a fixture in the USA Wrestling Veterans division since 2002, won a Veterans Greco-Roman Nationals title on Wednesday in Las Vegas. Robbert Wijtman photo.

LAS VEGAS – Why is 47-year-old Kevin Pine still competing in wrestling?

“It’s a sickness,” Pine said, flashing a smile.

Pine was one of 88 wrestlers who took part in the USA Wrestling Veterans Greco-Roman Nationals as U.S. Open week kicked off on Wednesday morning at the South Point Arena.

Pine earned the Veterans Division C championship at 85 kg/187 lbs. on Wednesday afternoon to repeat as Veterans Greco champion in Vegas.

“Every year, it’s a really competitive tournament,” Pine said. “It’s a great group of guys, and there is always great camaraderie among the wrestlers. It’s one big family – it’s like a big family reunion when we see each other every year.

“We all battle on the mat and then we’re great friends off the mat. We will get together after the tournament and share war stories. It’s a lot of fun.”

Pine, who lives in Las Vegas, said he first started competing in Veterans competitions in 2002.

Pine opened with an 8-0 technical fall over Alvin Riggs of Oregon on Wednesday.

Pine followed with an 8-0 tech over Scott Johnson of Minnesota. Pine used a front headlock to go behind Johnson for the opening takedown. He then followed by hitting a succession of power gut wrenches to earn the quick victory.

Pine clinched the title with a 16-second fall over Aaron Lemmons of California.

Pine is an accomplished wrestler at the Veterans level. He has won a Veterans World silver medal in freestyle wrestling in addition to two Veterans World bronze medals in freestyle.

“Competing at Veterans Worlds, it’s a high quality event,” Pine said. “It’s just a great experience to compete at that level against other people who have a huge passion for wrestling.”

Pine, who now works in fundraising, won a state high school title in his native Washington.

“I wasn’t very good when I first started,” he said. “My first year of wrestling, I never won a match. But as time went on, I started having some success. I was a state champion and then I was a college All-American at Central Washington University. I’ve coached at different levels, and now I’m here.”

Pine continues to wrestle at a high level 13 years after competing in his first Veterans bout.

“The first year I wrestled in this thing, I was 35 years old,” Pine said. “I remember seeing all these old guys in their 40s and 50s that had this fire in their eyes, and I just thought that was the coolest thing. I didn’t see myself wrestling that long, because how is that possible? But I’m still here.

“As long as it’s fun and as long as I’m competitive I will keep on doing it.”

1985 NCAA champion Dan Chaid captured the Veterans Greco title at 130 kg/286 lbs. Chaid is a past Veterans World champion in freestyle.

2014 Veterans World Greco champion Chris Brown won the Veterans Nationals Greco title on Wednesday after capturing the Division E crown at 85 kg/187 lbs.

Returning Veterans double champion Aleksandr Serebrinnikov won the Division B Greco title at 63 kg/138.75 lbs.

Greco champions who also repeated include Michael Tuck, Chad Shilson, Hedj Nelson, Igor Leuskyi, Igor Llin and Bruce Moe.

Veterans Greco-Roman Nationals
May 6, South Point Arena, Las Vegas


A Division – 58 kg
1st Place – Omar Padilla of Greater Heights Wrestling

A Division – 69 kg
1st Place – Ryan Vottero of Air Force Wrestling Club

A Division – 76 kg
1st Place – Cort Petersen of Gillette
2nd Place – Andrew Sanchez of San Ramon Wrestling Club
Round 1 – Cort Petersen (Gillette) pinned Andrew Sanchez (San Ramon Wrestling Club), 2:31
Round 2 - Cort Petersen (Gillette) won by tech fall over Andrew Sanchez (San Ramon Wrestling Club), 8-0

A Division – 85 kg
1st Place – Ernie Vasheresse of Half Moon Bay
2nd Place – Mike Rolland of Gym Cautious
Ernie Vasheresse (Half Moon Bay) pinned Mike Rolland (Gym Cautious), 1:06

A Division – 97 kg
1st Place – Ram McDonnell of Santa Monica Bay Wrestling
2nd Place – Luis Rivera of Gym Cautious
Round 1 – Ram McDonnell (Santa Monica Bay Wrestling) pinned Luis Rivera (Gym Cautious), 1:16
Round 2 – Ram McDonnell (Santa Monica Bay Wrestling) pinned Luis Rivera (Gym Cautious), 1:27

B Division – 58 kg
1st Place – Jason Goldman of Team JGold
2nd Place – Roger Stewart of New York Athletic Club
Round 1 – Jason Goldman (Team JGold) won by tech fall over Roger Stewart (New York Athletic Club), 8-0
Round 2 – Jason Goldman (Team JGold) pinned Roger Stewart (New York Athletic Club), 2:04

B Division – 63 kg
1st Place – Aleksandr Serebrinnikov of Chicago Wrestling Club

B Division – 69 kg
1st Place – John Kokolakis of Connetquot Wrestling Club
2nd Place – Clif Bakhsh of Delaware Intensity
Round 1 – John Kokolakis (Connetquot Wrestling Club) won by tech fall over Clif Bakhsh (Delaware Intensity), 8-0
Round 2 – John Kokolakis (Connetquot Wrestling Club) pinned Clif Bakhsh (Delaware Intensity), 1:19

B Division – 76 kg
1st Place – Matthew Infranca of MO West Championship Wrestling
2nd Place – Ryan Meloche of TEAM FLUFFY
Round 1 - Matthew Infranca (MO West Championship Wrestling) won by tech fall over Ryan Meloche (TEAM FLUFFY), 10-2
Round 2 - Matthew Infranca (MO West Championship Wrestling) pinned Ryan Meloche (TEAM FLUFFY), 3:53

B Division – 85 kg
1st Place – Joaquin Bautista of Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club
2nd Place – Adam Quitt of ashland
Joaquin Bautista (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club) dec. Adam Quitt (ashland), 2-1

B Division – 97 kg
1st Place – Nicholas Lang of Bomb Squad Wrestling
2nd Place – Gerald James of wildcat wrestling club
Round 1 – Nicholas Lang (Bomb Squad Wrestling) pinned Gerald James (wildcat wrestling club), 4:23
Round 2 – Nicholas Lang (Bomb Squad Wrestling) won by injury default over Gerald James (wildcat wrestling club)

B Division – 130 kg
1st Place – Brett Clark of TEAM FLUFFY
2nd Place – Jarad Carson of Bomb Squad Wrestling
Brett Clark (TEAM FLUFFY) dec. Jarad Carson (Bomb Squad Wrestling), 14-7

C Division – 58 kg
1st Place – Michael Tuck of Greater Heights Wrestling
2nd Place – Jeffrey Brewer of N/A
Round 1 – Michael Tuck (Greater Heights Wrestling) pinned Jeffrey Brewer (N/A), 1:31
Round 2 – Michael Tuck (Greater Heights Wrestling) pinned Jeffrey Brewer (N/A), 0:41

C Division – 63 kg
1st Place – Chad Shilson of Minnesota Storm
2nd Place – Quin Dickson of Extreme Wrestling
Round 1 - Chad Shilson (Minnesota Storm) pinned Quin Dickson (Extreme Wrestling), 4:21
Round 2 – Chad Shilson (Minnesota Storm) won by tech fall over Quin Dickson (Extreme Wrestling), 8-0

C Division – 69 kg
1st place – Evgeny Didenko (Chicago Wrestling Club)
2nd place – Andrew Mandell of TeamBob
Evgeny Didenko (Chicago Wrestling Club) won by tech fall over Andrew Mandell (TeamBob), 9-0

C Division – 76 kg
1st Place – Igor Leuskyi of Unattached
2nd Place – Jamie Kirmser of New York Athletic Club
Igor Leuskyi (Unattached) won by tech fall over Jamie Kirmser (New York Athletic Club), 8-0

C Division – 85 kg
1st Place – Kevin Pine of SNWA
2nd Place – Alvin Riggs of LOWELL OSPREY
Kevin Pine (SNWA) won by tech fall over Alvin Riggs (LOWELL OSPREY), 8-0

C Division – 97 kg
1st Place – Ustimov Sergey of Unattached
2nd Place – Scott Herman of Redondo beach
Ustimov Sergey (Unattached) pinned Scott Herman (Redondo beach), 1:02

C Division – 130 kg
1st Place – Tyrone Abercrombie of Quiet Storm
2nd Place – Aza Graham of Liberty Wrestling Club
Tyrone Abercrombie (Quiet Storm) won by tech fall over Aza Graham (Liberty Wrestling Club), 8-0

D Division – 58 kg
1st Place – Angelo Rivera of Laurel Matburners

D Division – 63 kg
1st Place - Rodger Horton of Winfiel

D Division – 69 kg
1st Place – James Kasser of Crush WC
2nd Place – Boyd Fowler of Sunnyvale Wrestling
Round 1 - James Kasser (Crush WC) pinned Boyd Fowler (Sunnyvale Wrestling), 1:20
Round 2 - James Kasser (Crush WC) won by tech fall over Boyd Fowler (Sunnyvale Wrestling), 10-0

D Division – 76 kg
1st place – Igor Llin of Chicago Wrestling Club
2nd Place – Steve Horton of Air Force Wrestling Club
Igor Llin (Chicago Wrestling Club) won by tech fall over Steve Horton (Air Force Wrestling Club), 10-2

D Division – 85 kg
1st Place – John Hanrahan of US Wrestling Club
2nd Place – Curtis Nelson of TEAM FLUFFY
Round 3 - John Hanrahan (US Wrestling Club) pinned Curtis Nelson (TEAM FLUFFY), 4:16

D Division – 97 kg
1st Place – Steve Goss of N/A
2nd Place – Jeff Anderrson of Chicago Wrestling Club
Steve Goss (N/A) dec. Jeff Anderrson (Chicago Wrestling Club), 5-0

D Division – 130 kg
1st Place – Daniel Chaid (Cardinal Wrestling Club)
2nd Place – Sherif Almiggabber of N/A
Daniel Chaid (Cardinal Wrestling Club) won by tech fall over Sherif Almiggabber (N/A), 8-0

E Division – 58 kg
1st Place – Mark LeVasseur of Minnesota Storm

E Division – 63 kg
1st Place – Steve Barkman of Hunterdon Hills Wrestling Club
2nd Place – Keith Stagg of N/A
Round 1 – Steve Barkman (Hunterdon Hills Wrestling Club) dec. Keith Stagg (N/A), 15-8
Round 2 – Steve Barkman (Hunterdon Hills Wrestling Club) won by tech fall over Keith Stagg (N/A), 14-3

E Division – 69 kg
1st Place – Hedj Nelson of Colville USA Wrestling
2nd Place – Christopher Roos of Santa Monica Bay Wrestling Club
Hedj Nelson (Colville USA Wrestling) won by tech fall over Christopher Roos (Santa Monica Bay Wrestling Club), 8-0

E Division – 76 kg
1st Place – Bruce Moe of HillsboroBruce

E Division – 85 kg
1st Place – Chris Brown of MD Eagles Wrestling Club
2nd Place – Peter Haag of Chicago Wrestling Club
Chris Brown (MD Eagles Wrestling Club) pinned Peter Haag (Chicago Wrestling Club), 1:48

E Division – 97 kg
1st Place – Steve Contarino of N/A
2nd Place – Valerii Sorokov of Unattached
Steve Contarino (N/A) dec. Valerii Sorokov (Unattached), 4-3

E Division – 130 kg
1st Place – James Hernandez of Maine