Lakenheath’s Witt Hennig, rear, brings down Ramstein’s Colton Lucas on his way to taking the 190-pound title at the DODEA-Europe wrestling championships, in Wiesbaden, Germany, Feb. 11, 2023.

Lakenheath’s Witt Hennig, rear, brings down Ramstein’s Colton Lucas on his way to taking the 190-pound title at the DODEA-Europe wrestling championships, in Wiesbaden, Germany, Feb. 11, 2023. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

Ramstein returned to wrestling royalty last season, winning the program’s first outright European championship since 2013.

Now, everybody, including Division I powerhouse and annual rival Stuttgart, is gunning for that team title.

The Royals aren’t the only defending champions looking to repeat on the mats this winter.

A handful of individual winners are back, with some staying at the same weight and others dropping or going up classes.

Here’s a look at the DODEA European wrestling scene, as based off responses from coaches:


The Dragons are hoping to send another representative to Wiesbaden after accomplishing that feat last year.

In fact, coach Edison Vega said the goal is to get multiple grapplers there and shoot for a Division III title.

To do so, he said Alconbury will build a team culture, helping each other during good times and bad.


The Lions roared mightily in 2022-2023, winning the Division III European crown by 2.5 points.

Three European qualifiers return this season, including two placers. Deacon Smith went 27-3 last season and wrestled his way to the 138-pound title bout. He had a 5-0 lead after the final’s first period before losing in a pin.

Richele Reyes posted a 17-9 record last campaign, including a 3-3 record during the European tournament at 120 pounds. She took sixth in the weight class.

Markuss Grebesz also made it to Euros at 157, finishing his season with a 14-8 record.

Outside of those three, AFNORTH’s roster is filled with newcomers.


The Ankara program is back on the mat for the first time in a decade with a team, although an individual competed in 2019 and 2020.

The Trojans aren’t coming back with just a handful of athletes, either. Coach Anothy Peters mentioned nine grapplers will hit the mats this season. Of those nine, four are Americans, two are Italians, and the other three are from Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Georgia.

Some come with experience. Senior Gabe Udelhoven wrestled in Texas before his transfer overseas.


The Saints have a lot of inexperience this season, but the veterans they have are strong.

Five Aviano wrestlers advanced to Euros last February, starting with Jevan Smith. The senior took fifth place at 150 pounds.

The other returning European qualifiers are senior Aaron Smith, junior Paige Rogers and sophomores Cruz Cottingham and Tyler Mellon.

Also back for the Saints are senior Aaron Smith and sophomores Gabriel Boyle, Jaylon Roberts and Andre Ulu.

Two seniors, Antonio Brown and Samuel Stone, transferred into Aviano, while junior Wyatt McGowen and sophomore Sulaekha Ulat have joined the Saints. The freshmen cohort is led by Alejandro Gonzalez and Nicolas Portan.


The Buccaneers have seven returners and 12 newcomers, and they are hoping to get back to the European tournament under new coach Mark Dube.


The Tigers are coming off a third-place finish in Division III last year, but both European qualifiers are gone.

Still, John Murphy’s squad has plenty of returners with Cooper Avera at 113 pounds, Brady Carroll at 132, Preston Mitchell at 144, Ethan Koekenberg at 150, Julian Yazzie at 165 and Brian David at 285.

New to the team are Emmitt Stewart at 120, Hector Proano at 138, Sawyer Baxter at 150 and Logan Preston at 157.


Coach Duke Allen said he’s got a good turnout this campaign, with a good combination of returners and a couple of transfers with stateside experience.

Four of the five coming back have European tournament experience. Junior Jaden Calixto finished third at 106, sophomore Braxden Gransbery was fourth at 126, junior Freeman Allen was fifth at 190 and junior Uno Tate qualified at 120.

Sophomores Joshua Kim and Miles Wiggins are expected to make an impact this season as well.


The Lancers experienced great success in 2022-2023, winning three European titles.

Back from that squad are two of those champions, as well as three other European qualifiers.

Senior Witt Hennig went 18-0 at 190 en route to a European title, and he looks set to drop to the 175 weight class. Fellow senior Lucius Bowman, who went 15-3 last campaign and won at 157, will be moving up a weight class this season to 165.

Senior Sophia Yorko qualified for Euros at 150, going 19-7. Junior Micah Rothas went 19-7 at 106 to advance to Wiesbaden and will be wrestling at 120 this year, and sophomore Logan Conrad made it to Euros at 113 after an 11-7 campaign and is competing at 126 this winter.

Other returners are senior Elijah Hutton at 175 and sophomores Markus Bowman (157), Ryan Ladnier (132), Matthew Mihalyi (157), Zachary Stutzman (132) and Kahle Zerbe (138).

Leading the roster additions are sophomore Wesson Roney, a transfer from Ramstein who is competing at 175, and junior Peyton Caranta, a transfer from Montgomery Catholic Preparatory School in Montgomery, Ala., who will grapple at 120.


The Royals are looking to continue to build off the program’s foundation, which culminated in a European title. Having numerous European placers come back will aid in that goal.

Cole Santos won the European title at 106 pounds last year and will hope to add another title to his belt. Nathan Rutlege was one step shy of a European title by losing the 157 title bout. Liam Horne and Jayden Andrews came in third place at 120 and 132 pounds, and Lucas Hollenbeck and Alex Belote took fourth at 157 and 285.

Other European qualifiers back are Liberty Snyder, Camren Carlson, Isaac Martinez, Matt Rutlege and Cameron Ritter.

Transferring into the program this winter are Frank Lozano, Kydan Echard, Jackson Eves and Roman Eves.


Coach Luke Spencer paints this season as a growing year for the Admirals, who he said lacks traditional leadership.

The Admirals have three European qualifiers coming back. Senior Donovan Lenhard took bronze in Wiesbaden last February at 285 and will be looking to go higher up the podium this winter.

Juniors Anthony Romero at 144 and Quen Kirkconnell at 106 are the other two European qualifiers. Romero competed at 126 last season.

Fellow junior Ronald Ryder also returns for Rota.

The Admirals have a pair of freshman newcomers on whom Spencer is high. The coach described Jonathan King as an inexperienced but strong and explosive wrestler, and he added that Aowyn Anderson has a strong desire to improve.


The Spartans aren’t holding back expectations this season. They are planning to take 15 athletes to the European championships, according to coach Bridget Clevinger.

Four already have made that trip to Wiesbaden. Luigi Patalano came in second at 165 last season and is grappling at 175 this winter. Kayson Boos took fourth at 138 last campaign and is looking to take a step up, while Will Bush also is competing at a higher weight (215) after a fourth-place finish at 190 in 2022-2023.

Donovan Traylor is moving up to 150 after qualifying at 144 last year.

Other returners are Teddy Tintera (120), Julyan Serrano-Garcia (126), Walker Cilberti (132), Ryan Cassem (138), Lara Mijatov (150), Ethan Simmons (190) and Paul Lacastu (215).


New coach Doug Whitehouse admits he doesn’t know what to expect from DODEA competition heading into the season.

What he does anticipate is getting four Sentinels into European competition this campaign.

Spangdahlem has four returners – Jeffrey House, Greyson Doiron, Caleb Truscott and Cohen Mendiola. New to the squad are Troy Truscott, Oscar Diaz, Zachary Siegwart, Sara Paulk, Eli Hudson, Trenton Hudson and Isabella Parker.


For the first time in a decade, the Panthers didn’t get at least a share of the Division I European championship.

To get back on top, they are relying on a mix of seasoned athletes and a bunch of up-and-comers.

Zachary Call leads the returning European contingent after winning the title at 144 last year. He is competing at 150 this season.

Sophomore Kamryn Lopez made a deep tournament run at 106 before taking fourth. Aiden Morgan is jumping up to 132 following his close loss in last year’s 126 title bout. Peyton Kolenikov is skipping to 138 after a fourth-place finish at 120 and senior Jack Gruver has his aim on winning at 190 after taking third last February.

Alex Samler (157) has European experience, too.

Also coming back are Jackson Coleman (126), Kenneth Lee (138), James Prudhomme (144), Aidan Hickey (144), Andrew Morrow (150), Dane Westberry (157), C.J. Hickey (165), Daniel Greer (175), Sharif Elmas (175) and Connor Hutchinson (215).


The Cougars have plenty of reasons to be excited, bringing back three European qualifiers from last season.

Coach Kelly Stacy has 21 newcomers to the squad, including three that have experience, to go along with the four total returners. He said numerous freshmen have shown drive and passion to grow, and he also expressed excitement about an incoming junior.

Names to watch out for are Mitchell Horrigan at 120, Diego Cerda at 126, Paul Sturtevant at 144, Arthur Shore at 215 and Josh Gaspard at 285.


The Falcons will be banking on Garrett Hyten, Christopher Wissemann, Jude Cruz, Kiana Kauanoe and Jayden Freeman to lead the squad to the top.

Hyten came in third at 175 at last campaign’s European championships, while Wissemann came in fourth at 113. Cruz fell in the 120 final. Freeman was third at 138.

Juniors Darrien Claire, Jeornuel Albino Ruiz, King Evans, Samuel Bangerter, Colton Faulkenberry, Deshun Thompson, Donald Chase, Gabriel Guerrero and Vic Tapong and senior Jaiden Draco Benitez round out the upperclassmen on the roster.


The Warriors came in third place at last year’s tournament, and they are looking to improve upon that finish.

To do that, wrestlers such as like Munro Davis and John Ruland will play a key role. Davis cruised to victory at 120, while Ruland climbed to the top at 285.

Jacob Lane also brings back plenty of success from 2022-2023, when he earned runner-up honors at 144.

Other returners include Alex Brookhart, Ethan Bradley, Samia Calloway, Elam Dunton, Ethan Gerst, Hunter Luneke, Wyatt Massey and Cristian Varela.

author picture
Matt is a sports reporter for Stars and Stripes based in Kaiserslautern, Germany. A son of two career Air Force aircraft maintenance technicians, he previously worked at newspapers in northeast Ohio for 10 years and is a graduate of Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism.

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