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    Marine team dominates track and field competition at 2011 Warrior Games

    Marine team dominates track and field competition at 2011 Warrior Games

    Photo By Gunnery Sgt. Michael Cifuentes | Lance Cpl. Joshua Wege and Marine veteran Sgt. Jose Gonzales took gold in all four...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Heidi Agostini 

    Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment

    COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - By the end of the track and field meet, fans were not surprised to hear the Marines’ Hymn play during medal presentations at the 2011 Warrior Games, May 17, in Colorado Springs, Colo.

    The Wounded Warrior Regiment’s All-Marine track and field team swept the competition, winning 16 gold medals out of the 20 events. The team also took home 11 silver and six bronze medals.

    “I’m happy to say that today, we’ve located, closed with and absolutely destroyed the other services out here in the track and field competition,” said Lt. Col. John L. Mayer, the regiment’s commanding officer. “We have dominated in the gold, silver and bronze. Clearly the Marines’ Hymn has been playing every single medal presentation. I couldn’t be more excited or more proud of my warriors.”

    Marine veteran Cpl. Peter Park, a Paralympics hopeful from Colorado Springs, set the momentum for the team by winning gold medals in the 800-meter, 100-meter and 200-meter wheelchair race. Lance Cpl. Joshua Wege, from Campbellsport, Wis., scored three gold medals in the 800-meter, 200-meter, 100-meter dash, lower body classification, and a gold for a first place finish as the fourth leg of the 4x100- meter relay. The All-Marine track and field team took all six medals in the men’s shot put sitting and standing event.

    Marine veteran Sgt. Jose Gonzalez, from San Antonio, walked away with a first place finish in the 800-meter, 100-meter, 200-meter open dashes and a gold medal as the first leg of the 4x100 meter relay.

    “The meet was pretty much what I expected,” Gonzalez said. “We did well last year. This year, we had a stronger team coming into this competition. I actually surprised myself, but I knew I had it in me. I knew the competition from last year was going to get better.

    “I’ve always been an athlete,” said Gonzalez, a Uvalde High School graduate. “The Warrior Games give me the opportunity for me to rehabilitate. It takes a lot of stress away. I see all these guys out here with missing limbs that are running races. Their disability doesn’t stop them, so why should it stop me?”

    All-Marine Team track and field coach, Victor Plata, credits his team’s success to consistent training. More than 100 Marines competed for spots on the team. Plata said selecting the top athletes also broadened participant numbers, allowing athletes more time to focus on each event.

    “When they arrived in Colorado, our goal was to make sure they came to competition day in the best shape possible,” Plata said. “We had a number of guys run their personal best. This is high altitude, which is much harder to run your best time, especially in the 800.”

    Marine Cpl. Manuel Jimenez ran his personal best in the 800-meter dash, chopping 17 seconds off his personal best run at sea level.

    “The track meet was outstanding. It exceeded all our expectations,” Plata said. “They gave me a great stable of horses to just point in the right direction. We came in prepared to do our best, and everyone did that. So that fact that we won a lot of the events was just a bonus. Every Marine left this track with their head held high.”



    Date Taken: 05.18.2011
    Date Posted: 05.18.2011 02:29
    Story ID: 70572

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