It’s not all Ramstein-Stuttgart at sectional - but it’s close
Stars and Stripes February 4, 2023
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany – Finding a championship match without a Stuttgart-Ramstein pairing was rare during Saturday’s DODEA Europe’s central sectional tournament.
Even rarer was a title match with neither school represented at Ramstein High School.
In fact, just one weight class managed to accomplish that: 175 pounds. Vilseck’s Garrett Hyten and Hohenfels’ Joel Workman grappled on the mat for supremacy, and Hyten came out on top with a 9-1 major decision.
“It was a tough one,” Hyten said of the final. “I kept walking back and forth saying, ‘I’m the man, I’m the man, I’m the man.’ I went out there and showed that I’m the man.”
The two wrestlers had met the prior week, with Workman producing a pin. Hyten, who has posted an 18-1 record, said that loss helped motivate him when the two hit the floor at Ramstein.
Although the scoreline leaned heavily in Hyten’s favor, Workman did land a few blows on his opponent. Hyten ended up with a bloody nose and a minor injury that caused a short pause in order to get him checked out.
The physicality didn’t surprise Hyten.
“I already knew what to expect,” he said. “(Workman) comes out physical every time. Props to him because he’s a warrior right there.”
Workman, whose brother Jaiden won the DODEA European individual title at 190 last year and who is 18-5 on the year, said he wasn’t buoyed too much by the pin in his previous meeting with Hyten, just like he’s not going to be too down over his loss Saturday.
He knows the big prize comes Feb. 10-11 at the European championships in Wiesbaden, Germany.
The top three finishers in each weight class automatically qualified for the European championships. Coaches from all three meets submitted wild card entrees for the last three spots, as organizers seek to field 12 competitors in each weight class.
“You can’t be cocky,” Workman said. “It’s not over. There’s still one more round (at the Euros).”
The Vilseck grappler, though, will take that confidence going forward. Hyten finished third last year at 175 pounds, and he said he wants to take that next step atop the podium.
“It gives me enough confidence, but I know there’s people out hunting for my name,” Hyten said. “I’m going to take No. 1. Last year I got third, so I’m here for it.”
At 106 pounds, Spangdahlem’s Andrew Molina entered the meet with the same number of losses as Ramstein’s Cole Santos with two, although the Royal wrestler had more wins (12 to Molina’s eight).
While Santos still may have more wins than Molina, the Sentinel can boast of having fewer losses. The two met in the championship match on Saturday, with Molina scoring a 17-12 decision.
“It’s a great feeling to be here,” Molina said. “Honestly, last year, I sucked. Now, I’ve come back (to win sectionals). I’m ready to take Euros.”
Midway through the third and final period, Molina trailed Santos, but he managed to turn things around and enjoyed holding on in the closing second. Molina said he finally could take a breath when the referee blew the final whistle.
“I thought, ‘What would my coaches say?’” Molina said of the last period. “I found the boost, and everything clicked.”
Kaiserslautern’s Daniel Lee didn’t come into the sectional tournament anticipating winning the 120-pound weight class.
Yet at the end of the day, the senior Raider pinned Stuttgart’s Payton Kolesnikov at the 2:54 mark in the title match to claim the highlight of his wrestling career.
“This sectional win is very special for me because this is my last season as a senior, and I really want to end off the season with a win before Euros,” Lee said. “I’ve been working hard, and I’m going to remember this for a long time.
“I just went in there, got in the right mindset, and I was like, ‘Hey, I got this.’”
Lee pointed his single- and doubled-legged takedowns as being successful on Saturday.
With the victory, Lee, who holds a 15-4 record, said it aides his confidence in making the podium next week in Wiesbaden.
“I really want to place in Euros,” Lee said. “I’ll keep working hard to place in Euros.”