Story by Cpl Naomi May on 07/19/2019US Marines attended the US Marine Corps Cadet and Junior National Championships in Fargo, North Dakota, July 14-19, 2019.
Marine Corps Recruiting Command partnered with USA Wrestling (USAW) to support student-athletes, coaches and their communities, to inform young people about opportunities within the Marine Corps, and to continue to foster the fighting spirit that Marines and athletes share.
"One of the reasons that we value the partnership is the shared ethos that the Marines and the wrestling community has together," said Ryan Johnson, the director of corporate partnerships for USA Wrestling. "We talk also about the fighting spirit, being something that every wrestler has to dig deep at times to win those tough matches or to find a way to score points late in the match, which really ties in directly with what the Marine Corps has to do on a daily basis."
The championships, known as the largest wrestling tournament in the world, presented opportunities for 5,397 wrestlers aged 13-18 and from all weight classes to compete for a national title.
USA Wrestling, a representative of the United States Olympic Committee, is the central organization that coordinates amateur wrestling programs throughout the nation. The organizations has more than 226,000 members. It charters over 4,500 wrestling clubs and sanctions over 2,100 local, state, regional and national competitions.
"These wrestlers are here to achieve greatness, to compete and to push themselves to their limits," said Col. David M. Fallon, the commanding officer of 9th Marine Corps District. "They have worked so hard, sacrificed so much and done an enormous amount of training to get here. They have fought their own battles against complacency and indifference. The United States Marines respects those efforts."
Throughout the event, Marines distributed branded items at athlete registration, presented awards to winning wrestlers, presented the National colors during the National Anthem and shared their core values with athletes and coaches.
Fallon, as well as 1st Lt. Stephanie Simon, a wrestler who competed in the cadet championships in 2011, also gave remarks to the tournament attendees.
"Once I became a Marine, I started noticing the same things that are true of wrestlers, are true of Marines," Simon emphasized. "Wrestlers are mentally tough, disciplined and physically fit team players who refuse to give up. All the tools needed to be a successful Marine are all the tools needed to become a champion in the sport of wrestling."
The Marine Corps continues to support USA Wrestling to increase awareness and positive perception of the Corps while also reinforcing Marine values of honor, courage and commitment, to young athletes and dedicated coaches.
"Eventually, all of these wrestlers here will leave their shoes in the center of the mat and look for what comes next the next challenge, the next opportunity for greatness," Fallon said. "We want them to think of the US Marine Corps as an option for what comes next."