APRIL 15, 2016, IOWA CITY, Iowa – Marines with the All-Marine Wrestling Team competed at the 2016 U.S Olympic Wrestling Trials in Iowa City, April 9-10.
Men and women across America competed at various tournaments throughout the year to qualify to go to the trials. Only the best of the best make it to the Olympic trials and contend for a spot on the U.S. wrestling team for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Four Marines, Capt. Bryce Saddoris, 1st Lt. Michael Brant, 1st Lt. Daniel Miller and Lance Cpl. Eric Fader, qualified to go to the trials representing the AMWT.
Marine competed in a different weight class. Saddoris wrestled in the 145-pounds weight class, Brant in the 176-pounds class, Miller in the 215-pounds class and Fader in 286-pounds class.
The Marines competed in Greco-Roman style wrestling. Greco-Roman is one of three primary styles of wrestling, where two wrestlers try to gain control over their opponent through the use of throws, locks and clinching techniques. Holds below the waist are not permitted and only the upper body can be used.
The AMWT head coach, Jason Loukides, has led the Marines to consecutive victories and coached Saddoris to become the champion in more than one Armed Forces Championship and other tournaments like the U.S. Open and World Championships.
“I want to thank my support staff, coaches and family,” said Capt. Bryce Saddoris, team captain of the AMWT. “I’ve had great leaders who have supported me and saw my worth and the worth to the Marine Corps by being able to come out here and represent them. No matter if I win or lose, it’s the people behind me that keep me going.”
The All-Marine sports teams are the image of the Marine Corps to those who haven’t met Marines before. Every team member on any of the sports teams is a Marine first and an athlete second.
“I joined the Marine Corps not to wrestle but to be a Marine and lead them,” said Saddoris. “I found myself in a unique position, and I’m glad to be able to wrestle and represent the Marine Corps at the same time.”
The team trains year-round. Wrestling is known as a very competitive and tough sport. Most practices consist of hours of conditioning, techniques and mat practice.
“This is one of the greatest sports,” said Lance Cpl. Eric Fader, member of the AMWT. “There is a lot of hard work and preparation that goes in to what we do. Every step is a step to success. No matter if I win or lose a match I feel better knowing that I’ve learned something. Being a Marine makes me even more motivated to keep going because the pride of the Marine Corps rest on my shoulders.”
The All-Marine Wrestling team host tryouts every year to pick its team members. Those who are on the team this year have to try out again.
The All-Marine team is looking for individuals that are good Marines, have a wrestling background in either Greco-Roman or freestyle and are ready to work hard.
“The Marine Corps itself is already a brotherhood and sisterhood,” said Saddoris. “Being a part of the wrestling team here only adds to that. This is one of the best communities to be in. The mentality of Marines is second to none and that’s the type of people I wanted to surround myself with just hard charging, hard-working, disciplined type of people and that’s what the Marine Corps is about.
“For people who are looking and possibly want to go into the Marine Corps it’s definitely a great life. I’m definitely proud to be a Marine no matter what job I’m doing,” added Saddoris. “My Marines are the hardest working individuals that you’ll ever meet. They fight to not only be great Marines in their jobs but also great wrestlers on the team.”
More than 200 male and female wrestlers competed in the trials for a chance at one of the nine to 18 Olympic slots in freestyle and Greco-Roman. Out of the four Marines, none were able to qualify for a slot. The Marines all look forward to the coming years especially 19-year-old Fader, one of the youngest competitors at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Wrestling Trials.