News: Company A seizes HQSPTBn. Commander’s Cup Challenge
Story by Pfc. Nikki Phongsisattanak
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — Security Company, along with Companies A, B and I, all with Headquarters and Support Battalion, faced off in a grappling tournament for the final event of the HQSPTBn. Commander’s Cup Challenge on the battalion parade field aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, June 29.
Each company brought their best grapplers to ground fight, but in the end it was Company A who won the tournament, making them champions this year and providing them their fourth trophy in the series of 13 sports tournaments hosted by HQSPTBn.
Company I came into the final event with one victory. Security Company and Company B came into the final event tied with four victories, and Company A trailed behind the leaders with three victories.
“These events boost up morale,” said Pfc. Eric Kirby, an administrative specialist with Company I, who attended the event to cheer on his peers. “It instills some competition in the Marines, and it’s a good way to bring out the best in everybody. It’s cool. It’s good to see no matter what rank you are, you can take each other on.”
Marines cheered and shouted as they watched their company team run through a line of exercises before meeting an opposing team in the grappling circle. Fighters could be eliminated by submission or by being pushed out of the ring. Company A succeeded, walking away undefeated and earned their fourth victory, which led to a three-way tie between them, Security Company and Company B.
“It was a phenomenal outcome,” said Lt. Col. David G. Bardof, HQSPTBn. commander. “Twelve months of competition with hundreds of Marines taking part in these events, and it comes down to a three-way tie between the companies. How do you get better competition than that?”
The fate of each team laid in the hands of the company commanders during the three-way sudden-death match between Capt. Wayne Shew with Company B, 1st Lt. John McJunkin with Security Company, and 1st Lt. Robert Collinsworth with Company A.
“Alpha company has got this one,” said Lance Cpl. Michael Cross, a financial technician, with Company A, who also participated in the final event. “(1st Lt. Collinsworth) is going to knock ’em out.”
The match started with the three commanders on their stomachs facing away from each other. As soon as the match began, Shew and McJunkin locked arms. Collinsworth saw the two were so focused and waited for right time to strike. With lightning speed Collinsworth blitz his dueling opponents and pushed them both out of the ring to snatch an easy victory. Cross’ prediction literally played out the way Cross called it.
Hundreds of Marines participated in these events in the past twelve months, and for it to come down to a three-way tie is exceptional, said Bardorf.
“The goal of the Commander’s Cup Challenging is building the unity between the companies and making the battalion itself a more cohesive unit,” said Bardorf. “The Marine tested their skills amongst their peers, they had their Marines out here watching and supporting them. The intent of the Commander’s Cup was met today.”