CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- "Being named Marine Athlete of the Year is an honor I don’t take lightly," said the wrestler. "I know there were a lot of people that were considered and me being chosen to win feels great, it also just comes down to my hard work and everything coming to fruition to be able to be chosen."
Capt. Bryce Saddoris, a ground supply officer with the 2nd Marine Logistics Group, member of the All Marine Wrestling Team and, now, 2015 Marine Athlete of the Year, started wrestling at the age of four, going on to compete from middle school to college before joining the Marine Corps. He most recently competed in the 2015 World Championship in Las Vegas, where he came in 8th place.
"I’ve been on and off the All Marine Wrestling Team since 2011; I’ve done various training schools, but spent a majority of my time being able to compete," said Saddoris. "That’s because I’ve had great leadership that saw my potential and they afforded me the opportunity to come here and represent the Marine Corps in that fashion."
Being a part of the team on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune helped Saddoris immensely with growing as not only as a wrestler, but as a leader.
Saddoris credits his hard work to seeing the Marines around him on the team giving their all in training.
"I’ve been truly blessed to have amazing training partners; most training partners have varied from private-first classes to captains," said Saddoris. "Along with all the coaching, that has been the direction that this program has gone from our previous coach until now, they pretty much have helped shaped my entire career."
With the Olympic trials for wrestling coming up in April and a chance to represent the United States and the Marine Corps as an Olympian, Saddoris and the All Marine Wrestling Team have been hard at work training to compete this year in Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Summer Olympics.
"This year’s an Olympic year, so it’s a very big year and a lot of people that retired prior to this year are probably coming back to try to make an Olympic team to be an Olympian," said Saddoris. "Being able to be a Marine and go and represent the Marine Corps and the United States in the Olympics is a dream that I’ve had since I first put on wrestling shoes."
Saddoris hopes his and his team’s efforts inspire others who want to compete like them.
"We on a daily basis interact with a quarter million youth wrestlers that have the same mentality and the same characteristics that we want in our future leaders and those athletes could be future Marines," said Saddoris. "Having the Marine Corps wrestling team represent and go around and have that exposure to them and show them the opportunities that they have post high school, really pays a lot of dividends."