News: Bulldog wrestlers place high at ‘King of the Mats’ Open Tournament
Story by Staff Sgt. Christopher Blakeslee
FORT STEWART, Ga.- The Fort Stewart Bulldog Wrestling Team stormed the mats once again in an attempt to establish their dominance as the premier wrestling team in the area at Richmond Hill’s high school during the King of the Hill Open Wrestling Tournament, Feb. 1, 2013.
Medals and individual glory were on the minds of the grapplers, with ages ranging from 4-12. The teams, represented from around the Coastal Empire, included wrestlers from South Effingham, Bulloch, Citadel, Camden, Effingham, Savannah Christian, Glynn Coastal, Richmond Hill and - of course - Fort Stewart.
“We have a good team this year, a novice team, but one built on a solid foundation,” said Lt. Col. Geoffrey Van Epps, an assistant coach with the Fort Stewart Bulldogs and the commanding officer of 1-3 Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division. “We’re a young team with a lot of heart, guts and determination. But there’s a lot of competition here today, so we shall see how it goes.”
From the very first whistle being blown, the Bulldog's position of dominance was a long drawn-out battle, one met with fierce resistance from all the competitors.
“I won my first match,” said Bulldog wrestler Gabriel Gonzalez , the son of Sgt. Joshua Gonzalez, a soldier assigned to 5th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1ABCT. “The competition is really tough today. None of the other kids want to lose. We're going to fight from the minute the whistle blows until the end.”
While every child who competed showed the utmost level of respect and class for their opponents during their matches, the real winners of this tournament were the parents, coaches and fans. It was the audience who was treated to a rare, yet spectacular, display of athleticism, courage and determination by all the grapplers involved.
Notable Bulldog placers include:
6U Group 1: 2nd Malachi Blakeslee
6U Group 4: 4th Joedan Wilson
5th Brayden Slabinski
8U Group 5: 2nd Anthony Blakeslee
8U Group 6: 3rd Michael Gold
8U Group 8: 3rd Gabriel Gonzalez
8u Group 9: 4th Jose Rodriguez
10U Group 11: 3rd J’calab Wilson
10U Group 12: 4th Ryan Van Epps
10U Group 13: 3rd Jackson Van Epps
12U Group 16: 2rd Josh Rodriguez
12-14U Group 19: 2nd Travelle Blakeslee
12-14U Group 20: 3rd Travon Blakeslee