LAKEWOOD, Ohio --
With Marine Week Cleveland 2012, slated for June 11-17, only weeks away, the Corps is making efforts to build and maintain relationships with local communities before the first boots hit the ground. Aiding in that effort was the Camp Lejeune, N.C. based All Marine Wrestling Team, in town to share their knowledge of Greco-Roman wrestling with over 60 students and coaches from the Cleveland area during a two day clinic at St. Edward High School, May 8-9.
“Greco-Roman style is wrestling from the waist up,” said Cpl. Bobby Phelps, an infantryman currently with the All Marine Wrestling Team. “You’re not allowed to use your legs or go for your opponents legs.”
For many of the young men at the clinic, who ranged in age from five years to 18 years, Greco-Roman wrestling wasn’t as familiar to them as the more widely practiced freestyle wrestling, which allows use of legs.
“We’re focusing on their takedowns and defense,” said Phelps, who has wrestled for the Marine team for a year and a half.
Watching over the clinic was St. Edward High School math teacher, head wrestling coach and former Marine lieutenant Greg Urbas.
Urbas was presented the opportunity to host the clinic at his school by Staff Sgt. Jesse Clark, canvassing recruiter, Recruiting Substation Lakewood, Ohio.
Clark, a Cleveland area native and former member of the All Marine Wrestling Team, has known Urbas since he was the age of some of the clinic participants.
“I’ve known Coach Urbas for years,” said Clark. “I knew since he was a former Marine that he would be happy to help us with the clinic.”
“I’m so glad the kids got to learn from the Marines, I was very excited to host them here,” said Urbas.
Urbas, who served as a Marine officer from 1973 to 1977 and has distinguished himself over his 34 year coaching career by helping guide St. Edward's wrestlers to 16 state titles and 11 national titles, was impressed by the Marine wrestlers.
“These techniques they’re showing the kids are unbelievable,” said Urbas. “It’s world level technique.”
World level technique is exactly what the Marines must have to compete at the level they do.
“The All Marine Wrestling Team competes all over the world in the Senior Open Division,” said Phelps. “The Senior Open Division is open to any wrestler in the world over the age of 18. Your goal competing there is to qualify for the Olympics.”
Judging by the great strides made by wrestlers in the two day clinic, it was a success for all involved.
“The kids definitely got what we were teaching them out there,” said Phelps. “You could tell by how well they did executing the moves after we demonstrated.”
“I learned a lot about Greco-Roman wrestling from the clinic,” said 13 year old clinic participant Michael Carpenter.
With Marine Week approaching, Cleveland area residents can expect to see and hear more about the celebration of community, country and corps coming to their city. For more information about Marine Week, visit www.Marines.mil/MarineWeek