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Lakenheath wrestler Joseph Glenk pins Kaiserslautern's Hunter Wiles during the northern sectionals at RAF Lakenheath, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017.

Lakenheath wrestler Joseph Glenk pins Kaiserslautern's Hunter Wiles during the northern sectionals at RAF Lakenheath, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017. (William Howard/Stars and Stripes)

Lakenheath wrestler Joseph Glenk pins Kaiserslautern's Hunter Wiles during the northern sectionals at RAF Lakenheath, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017.

Lakenheath wrestler Joseph Glenk pins Kaiserslautern's Hunter Wiles during the northern sectionals at RAF Lakenheath, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017. (William Howard/Stars and Stripes)

The match clock ticks down as Kaiserslautern's Evan Mackie and Lakenheath's Preston Booth try to turn a tie score into a win during the Northern wrestling sectionals at RAF Lakenheath, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017.

The match clock ticks down as Kaiserslautern's Evan Mackie and Lakenheath's Preston Booth try to turn a tie score into a win during the Northern wrestling sectionals at RAF Lakenheath, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017. (William Howard/Stars and Stripes)

Bitburg wrestler Kurt Nacionales works for a pin against SHAPE's Alex Kimberly during the northern sectionals at RAF Lakenheath, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017.

Bitburg wrestler Kurt Nacionales works for a pin against SHAPE's Alex Kimberly during the northern sectionals at RAF Lakenheath, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017. (William Howard/Stars and Stripes)

SHAPE's Sean Kilrain tries to pin Lakenheath's Joseph Medina during the Northern wrestling sectionals at RAF Lakenheath, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017.

SHAPE's Sean Kilrain tries to pin Lakenheath's Joseph Medina during the Northern wrestling sectionals at RAF Lakenheath, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017. (William Howard/Stars and Stripes)

SHAPE's Alex Kimberly fights for a pin against Lakenheath's Ethan Boren during the Northern wrestling sectionals at RAF Lakenheath, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017.

SHAPE's Alex Kimberly fights for a pin against Lakenheath's Ethan Boren during the Northern wrestling sectionals at RAF Lakenheath, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017. (William Howard/Stars and Stripes)

Kaiserslautern wrestler Conner Mackie works against Lakenheath's Kyle Boren for a hard-earned pin during the Northern wrestling sectionals at RAF Lakenheath, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017.

Kaiserslautern wrestler Conner Mackie works against Lakenheath's Kyle Boren for a hard-earned pin during the Northern wrestling sectionals at RAF Lakenheath, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017. (William Howard/Stars and Stripes)

Lakenheath's Joseph Glenk works against Brussels wrestler Chris Hale during the Northern sectionals at RAF Lakenheath, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017.

Lakenheath's Joseph Glenk works against Brussels wrestler Chris Hale during the Northern sectionals at RAF Lakenheath, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017. (William Howard/Stars and Stripes)

Bitburg's Ceth Haney pins AFNORTH wrestler Liam Snider during the Northern wrestling sectionals at RAF Lakenheath, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017.

Bitburg's Ceth Haney pins AFNORTH wrestler Liam Snider during the Northern wrestling sectionals at RAF Lakenheath, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017. (William Howard/Stars and Stripes)

Kaiserslautern wrestler Kevin Larson shoots against Alconbury's Vivian Newcomer during the northern wrestling sectionals at RAF Lakenheath, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017.

Kaiserslautern wrestler Kevin Larson shoots against Alconbury's Vivian Newcomer during the northern wrestling sectionals at RAF Lakenheath, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017. (William Howard/Stars and Stripes)

Lancer wrestler Eli Rothas works against Kaiserslautern's Zahn Delgado in the 106-pound weight class during the Northern wrestling sectionals at RAF Lakenheath, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017.

Lancer wrestler Eli Rothas works against Kaiserslautern's Zahn Delgado in the 106-pound weight class during the Northern wrestling sectionals at RAF Lakenheath, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017. (William Howard/Stars and Stripes)

Brussels' Oumar Toure tries to escape from Lakenheath's Jacob Brown during the Northern wrestling sectionals at RAF Lakenheath, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017.

Brussels' Oumar Toure tries to escape from Lakenheath's Jacob Brown during the Northern wrestling sectionals at RAF Lakenheath, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017. (William Howard/Stars and Stripes)

Wrestlers warm-up at RAF Lakenheath high school during the Northern wrestling sectionals, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017. The Lancers invited Division I foes Kaiserslautern and SHAPE, Bitburg and AFNORTH from Division II and Division III Alconbury and Brussels to battle it out for places at the DODEA-European wrestling championships.

Wrestlers warm-up at RAF Lakenheath high school during the Northern wrestling sectionals, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017. The Lancers invited Division I foes Kaiserslautern and SHAPE, Bitburg and AFNORTH from Division II and Division III Alconbury and Brussels to battle it out for places at the DODEA-European wrestling championships. (William Howard/Stars and Stripes)

RAF LAKENHEATH, England ― More than once, commanding shouts from wrestling coaches were drowned out Saturday by the deafening roar of fans and families during the northern wrestling sectional.

The Lancers invited Division I foes Kaiserslautern and SHAPE, Bitburg and AFNORTH from Division II and Division III Alconbury and Brussels to battle it out for places at the DODEA-European wrestling championships.

“There’s no team points involved. It’s basically a single wrestler on the mat trying to qualify and earn a top three finish to go to Europeans,” Lakenheath wrestling Coach Jorge Rodriguez said. “When you go to a big tournament like that it’s not about quantity, it’s about quality.”

Many matches in the northern sectional resulted in nail-biting bouts, forcing the competitors to truly earn a top-three spot. But the shortage of wrestlers in some weight classes made it so simply making an appearance was good enough to place.

Some wrestlers were simply in a class of their own.

Lancer senior J.P. Krussick won a match in 27 seconds and said he’s prepared for who he’ll meet at the European tournament.

“I’m pretty confident,” said Krussick, who’s wrestling at 170 pounds. “I’m going to focus on what I know they do, practice against it and just work hard.”

Lakenheath proved itself a tough contender again this year with 12 wrestlers qualifying for the European tournament.

“It seems to me that every year we improve more than other teams because of the way we train,” Rodriguez said. “I instill discipline, dedication and passion. Without passion you can’t have the other two.”

Eight wrestlers from Kaiserslautern, six from SHAPE, two from Bitburg, five from Brussels and two from AFNORTH qualified. Others might get invites via wild-card entries, but that’s yet to be determined.

howard.william@stripes.com


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