MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- They’re lean, mean and green; not Incredible Hulk green, but Marine Corps green, and there here to kick some you know what.
The All-Marine Corps Wrestling Team permanently landed here Jan. 26, and is looking for a few good men to join their ranks and capture some glory for the corps.
Taking over the Area 5 gymnasium here, they will be conducting their training camp trials Feb. 16 – March 9 to determine who can run with the big dogs and be part of the team, said Maj. J. Daniel Hicks, team coach.
“We moved to Lejeune because this is where the Marines are,” said Hicks. “The base wants us here and they’re showing it by providing us this entire facility [Area gym] and they’re getting the information [about joining the team] to Marines here.”
Iraq requires manpower, and the wrestling team is comprised of Marines, but if these Marines are needed for the mission in Iraq, that will always come first, said Hicks.
“It’s a win-win situation. This move helps a lot of units and facilitates us because it makes it easier to get you back to your unit when a deployment is coming up,” said Sgt. Matthew Goodman, a Salisbury, N.C., native and noncommissioned officer of the food service course for 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division. “If your command knows you’re down the street instead of being in Quantico that means the unit will feel better about letting you join the team.”
Creating this ‘win-win’ situation is important, explains Hicks, due to the goals that he is looking to accomplish. “I want two Marines on the 2008 Olympic Wresting Team and three on the 2012 team,”
This year’s focus to get a team together that can accomplish these goals, said Hicks.
“We’ve lost a lot of Marines to deployment so we’re concentrating on rebuilding our ranks,” explains Hicks. “It takes a long time to build an open class wrestler.”
To realize these goals Hicks put in plain words, “my team is going to train harder than anyone in the world, and I can get them to do it because the Marine Corps gives me people who are fit, tough, strong and have heart before they even walk in my door.”
The team trains their wrestlers globally to help overtake the competition, said Hicks. “We’re serious about this and we’re taking our Marines all over the world to find the best competition and when you meet the best, you become the best.”
Only two days into training with the team Cpl. Jan Donnelly, a fire support man, Battery F., 2nd Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, is getting a taste of that experience.
“I grew up wrestling, but these guys are good. It’s a whole different level from what I am used to and I appreciate the opportunity to attend the training camp and try out for the team,” said Donnelly.
Hicks has the background to back up his expectations and get new wrestlers, such as Donnelly, ready for Olympic gold with his three-time Oklahoma state championships, Naval Academy National Collegiate Athletic Association Division One Championship, his seven years on the All-Marine Corps Wrestling Team, eight-time Gold Armed Forces Championships and his two years training at the Colorodo Springs Olympic Training Center.
The team is still looking for wrestlers, but time is running out. To receive more information call 451-2710 to speak to the Varsity Sports office athletic director.