Ramstein gets hold of title in U.S. Forces Europe wrestling
WIESBADEN, Germany — Ramstein collected four of the six Greco-Roman gold medals awarded Sunday to complete a runaway victory in the two-day U.S. Forces Europe wrestling championships.
Combined with the three golds the Rams won in Saturday’s freestyle event, Sunday’s haul gave Ramstein 124 points, far ahead of runner-up Wiesbaden’s 47.
Ramstein’s Jay Field was the only wrestler to collect double gold. The 132-pounder topped James Tomko of Darmstadt for the freestyle crown on Saturday and won his Greco-Roman gold uncontested on Sunday.
Sunday’s other Ramstein winners were Lydell Scott at 163, Lorenzo Peterson at 211 and Bryant Ward at 264. Like Field, Scott’s Greco-Roman title was uncontested, but that’s not surprising in the thinly populated universe of Greco-Roman wrestling. Only 11 wrestlers were prepared to take to the mat on Sunday, compared to 60 or so for Saturday’s freestyle matches.
If practice makes perfect, Sunday’s 11 might have to settle for being slightly imperfect. Many of the discipline’s military practitioners in Europe rarely get a chance to test the skills of their upper-body-only style against live opposition.
“We don’t have a team,” said Darmstadt 145-pound silver medalist Jacob Oppeltz. “The only time I get to wrestle Greco-Roman is at tournaments.”
Even though he doesn’t have a practice partner, William Klamm of Darmstadt didn’t show much rust in pinning Ramstein’s Zach Morano in 45 seconds of the first round Sunday. The 185-pound U.S. Forces champion said he’s wrestling from memory.
“I rely on past experience,” he said, “and a sense of timing.”
For Klamm, much of that past experience consists of Montana state tournaments.
“We have three or four state Greco-Roman tournaments every year,” he said. “AAU, U.S.A.W. (U.S. Amateur Wrestling), things like that.”
Like Klamm, Aviano 145-pounder John Julian finished off the podium Saturday. Julian placed fourth and Klamm fifth in freestyle before each struck Greco-Roman gold Sunday.
Unlike Klamm, though, Julian has workout partners. Even though they’re a lot bigger than he is, Klamm says his height disadvantage helps his developing Greco-Roman skills.
“They force me to wrestle more upright,” the volunteer coach for Aviano High School’s wrestling team said, “because I can’t shoot (for inside position) on them.”
With a gold medal to end his season, Julian, who arrived at Aviano last June, can now ponder his future in Greco-Roman.
“I fell into it kind of by default,” he said. “Now they want me to go out for Greco. They think I’m better at it.”