Stuttgart, Ramstein top two in Kaiserslautern Wrestle Off

by Robert Baldwin
contributing writer

Kaiserslautern wrestler Josh Caal looks for a way out of trouble at the seven-team tournament in Kaiserslautern on Saturday. — Photo by Steven Barriger

On the strength of superb team depth and seven first-place finishes, Stuttgart outlasted a field of seven in the Kaiserslautern Wrestle Off on Saturday, Feb. 2. Stuttgart accumulated 246 points to runner-up Ramstein’s 213.

Once again, the featured performers came from the same household. Stuttgart brother and sister-act McKinley and Benjamin Fielding dominated the field at 106 and 138 pounds. Benjamin is the returning European champion as a senior. Sister McKinley is a sophomore and considered one of the favorites to win in that division in the upcoming Sectionals. McKinley defeated outstanding Ramstein junior John Odom for the title while Benjamin beat Logan Campbell of Ramstein for his title.

Ramstein’s lone title came at 132 pounds where Christian Griffith defeated Josh Robles of Hohenfels while the Royals Brian McKinney placed third.

Matthew Oroskovich was the runner up at 113 pounds, falling to Carson Hicks of Spanghalem. Eli Rothas was second at 126, Marcus Bradley was third at 145, Oliver Seelig fourth at 152, Owen Peterson third at 170, while Caleb Hill and Gabe Davis were second and third at 182. Nick Scherzer placed third and Carl Wilcox fourth at 285.

Ramstein came in first in the two round robin weight classes. Nick Mooney defeated the field at 195 and Theodore Ward did the same at 220.

Kaiserslautern’s points came at 138 where Napolean Cox placed fourth and at 160 where Christian Forker was the runner up to Gregory Sanchez of Stuttgart.

Kaiserslautern coach Brian Daly knew that Stuttgart was the team to beat.

“Stuttgart really has a strong program,” Daly said. “They have the numbers and they start them wrestling when they are young.” Their dominance was evident by the number of wrestlers who scored Saturday.

Daly said one of the frustrations overseas is the lack of mat time for the athletes. In the States, they get more dual meets. But because of the travel issues here, the wrestlers usually just grapple once a week.

Now it is on to sectionals at three different locations. Ramstein will be competing in Brussels and Kaiserslautern in Stuttgart. The third venue is Vicenza. The top three performers in each weight class will advance to the championships in Wiesbaden.

“That third place match is now very important,” Daly said, alluding to the fact that three get to go. There are also three wildcard spots for wrestlers who deserve to go but for some reason did not qualify.