The Ramstein Southside Fitness Center hosted the Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Europe sectional wrestling tournament with six teams competing to see which young wrestlers would advance to the European Championship.
The DODDS-Europe wrestling sectional tournament began Feb. 9 at four locations around the continent, with Royal Air Force Alconbury, England; Aviano Air Base, Italy; Ramstein Air Base, Germany; and Patch Army Barracks, Germany; each hosting sectional qualifying rounds for the upcoming European championship schedule to take place today and Saturday in Wiesbaden.
“We hold these competitions to give the wrestlers confidence and motivation. It makes them feel great to know they are part of teams that are constant competitors for the championship,” said Maria Lock, tournament director and mother of two of the Ramstein Royals.
The Ramstein Royals put together a steady team of 28 wrestlers, two in each weight class in hopes of making a team run at their rivals and defending champions, Patch, at the Europeans.
Wrestlers no longer compete as teams at this point in the tournament. They become individual competitors as the tournament progresses. Only 12 competitors will compete from each weight class in Wiesbaden.
The top two finishers in each of the 14 respective weight classes in four regions add up to 112 wrestlers who will advance to the European championship. If there are three or less competitors in the weight class, only the champion of the class will advance.
“It feels great to get a win, even though it was against one of my own teammates. I’m still excited about getting an opportunity to wrestle against the best in the European championship,” said Joseph Ankrom, wrestler for the Ramstein Royals.
The wrestlers of the teams that did not qualify are not all excluded. A committee led by DODDS-Europe athletic director Karen Seadore will consider nominations from coaches and select deserving wild-card entries.
The Ramstein Royals finished the sectional with the most overall first place wrestlers, with 10 of the 14 weight classes, leaving behind the other teams that competed on Ramstein by a considerable margin.
“The best prevailed, but with three of our guys still in the loop, we can still bring the championship home to K-Town if we can best the Royals in the Europeans,” said Tonya Larts, fan of the Kaiserslautern Red Raiders.