Cobwebs go, titles come at U.S. Forces Europe wrestling
March 9, 2009
MIESAU, Germany — Sunday was a day for knocking off rust and crowning freestyle and team champions as the two-day U.S. Forces Europe wrestling champions wrapped up.
"I haven’t wrestled competitively since 1991," 211-pound champion Dustin Ruland of Kaiserslautern said after he won both of his matches Sunday. "My strategy was, ‘Don’t die.’"
Ruland, who skipped Saturday’s Greco-Roman event here to take a youth team to a multi-community meet in Spangdahlem, didn’t come close to dying. He won his first match with a 58-second pin of Heidelberg’s William Meyer.
In his second match, he trailed Greco-Roman champ Reginald Newsome of K-town in the late going when he reversed Newsome and picked up back points in the final minute to win 9-8. Newsome, who flattened Meyer in 16 seconds Sunday to earn the meet’s quickest-pin award, nearly broke free for the escape that would have tied the match, but Ruland held onto a leg until the final buzzer.
Also ending a long layoff Sunday was Logan Spencer of Kaiserslautern.
"This was my first match in the last five years," said Spencer, who didn’t wrestle Saturday in winning the 145-pound Greco-Roman gold medal unopposed and was guaranteed the 145-pound freestyle medal Sunday also because of lack of opposition. To get some matches, he moved up to 163 on Sunday but was outgunned by Nicholas McDonald of Kaiserslautern 13-0 and pinned in 1:27 by the man voted the meet’s most outstanding wrestler, nine-time All-Air Force performer Steve Horton of Ramstein.
"He just kept his head underneath and didn’t try anything," Horton said after polishing off Spencer. "He told me he just wanted to hang on as long as he could."
Horton, a seven-year member of the Air Force World Class Athlete Program who placed third in the Veteran’s Division World Greco-Roman championships in Russia last fall, was the only wrestler here to win double gold against opposition as he led Ramstein to the team title.
Other double-gold winners — Spencer and 264-pound king Joshua DuBois of Baumholder — had no opponents in at least one of the competitions.
DuBois, who works with the Baumholder High School team, was unopposed Saturday and flattened fellow Baumholder grappler Aaron Gates in 3:05 on Sunday.
"I usually get around one or two matches a tournament," DuBois said about the lack of competitors his size, "but when the soldiers get back, there’ll be more matches."
In addition to Ruland at 211, 185-pound champion Tate Ashton of Spangdahlem also skipped Saturday’s Greco-Roman event to coach a youth team. Aside from the benefits his decision paid to the youngsters on his team, skipping Saturday also proved an effective energy-saving strategy.
Ashton, from Gillette, Wyo., pinned all three challengers he faced Sunday — Ramstein’s Douglas Jensen in 5:06, Ramstein’s Roger Reed in 22 seconds and Miesau’s Jared Chumly in 36 seconds.
The quick falls were just fine with Ashton, who also was chipping away rust here.
"I’m not in such good shape," said the three-falls-and-they’re-out champion.