Knox combatives team makes top 10 in All-Army tournament

-A A +A
By The Staff


Turret Sports Editor


The Fort Knox combatives team, comprised of 14 Soldiers, traveled to Fort Benning last weekend to compete in the annual All-Army tournament.

Accompanied by instructors Jason Keaton and Sam Bailey, Knox placed ninth out of 62 teams.

Or maybe it was eighth—depending on the source. According to tournament releasing authorities, Knox finished ninth. However, Knox’s coaches and administrator David Wright tracked the team’s points throughout the tournament and determined that Knox had 180 points, whereas the team ranked ahead of Knox had just 178 points.

“There’s only 15 points that separate the top 11 teams, so it was really close,” said Bailey.

Regardless of placement or awards, the coaches were pleased with the team’s performance and outcome. 

“We did pretty good, but I’m not 100 percent happy with our performance,” said Keaton. “I felt like some of the guys physically were ready but mentally they were unprepared. Overall we had a good team, we did okay.

“If we had more time to prepare, then we would’ve been a different team. Some of the guys seemed hesitant on a few things and some had to rely on their natural ability, so if we would’ve had a few more months to train that we would’ve been in the top.”

The three-day tournament, which began Sept. 17 with weigh-ins, recorded the participation of 324 Soldiers from across the Army, with some traveling from as far away as Japan and Iraq. The tournament featured seven female fighters, up from four last year, and two in 2007—none made it through the opening rounds.

Combatives is a form of mixed martial arts taught to Soldiers to improve their unarmed fighting skills, prepare them for hand-to-hand combat, and help develop their warrior ethos. It combines martial arts, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, boxing, wrestling, grappling, and other fighting techniques.

After the preliminary rounds in seven weight classes concluded Friday, contenders moved on to pankration ruled bouts. On Sunday only 28 competitors were standing, prepared to fight for first, second, third, and fourth places in their respective weight classes.

“(Shawn) Pretat did really well,” said Bailey of the Knox flyweight competitor who placed fourth. “He beat the guy who beat him last year. Pretat epitomizes a warrior.”

Bailey explained that two members of Knox’s All-Army team suffered injuries which prevented them from moving up in the competition. Luke Bubenzer, who won second place in the middleweight class, replaced Jon Palmer. Jason Rodman was the other withdrawal by Knox.

“Rodman injured his foot during training,” explained Bailey. “The last fight he was in, the guy was a good wrestler and it aggravated his injury, so he had to withdrawal. Rodman would’ve gotten third place if he was able (to continue).”

All but three of Knox’s representative won at least one bout in the tournament.

“Every year there are much better fighters. Our team, this year, did a much better job of working as a team and didn’t give up, even the guys who dropped down in the losers brackets, they continued to fight,” Bailey said. “That was where we got a lot of our points — from those who lost the first match and they just started fighting harder.”

At 2 p.m. on Sunday, Knox was ranked fourth with two fighters preparing to enter the final bouts. By 8 p.m., Knox had dropped down the chart.

“We didn’t get as many points in the final rounds and other teams did,” explained Keaton.

The final team standings were calculated by the total number of points accumulated by each team’s 14 individual fighters. The official standing of Knox’s rank has yet to be determined.

Following are the tournament results. The team standings are what were released before further consideration and examination of team points.

Team Standings

1st - Fort Campbell, Ky.

2nd - 3rd Infantry Division

3rd - Fort Riley, Kan.

4th - Fort Lewis, Wash.

5th - 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team

6th - Fort Benning, Ga.

7th - Fort Hood, Texas

8th - 3rd Special Forces Group

9th - Fort Knox, Ky.

10th - 75th Ranger Regiment

Flyweight — 125 pounds

1st - Joe Clark, Fort Lewis, Wash.

2nd - Nate Ford, Fort Benning, Ga.

3rd - Grover Muirheid, Fort Campbell, Ky.

4th - Shawn Pretat, Fort Knox, Ky.

Lightweight — 140 pounds

1st -  Ken Laird, Fort Carson, Colo.

2nd - Neil Chitwood, SROTC Battalion, Capital University, Bexley, Ohio

3rd - Keith Bach, 3rd Infantry Division

4th - Kenton Stenrose, Fort Stewart, Ga.

Welterweight — 155 pounds

1st - Pedro Lacerda, 75th Ranger Regiment

2nd -  Michael Robinson, Fort Jackson, S.C.

3rd - Matthew McGee, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade

4th - Donnie Bowen, Fort Campbell, Ky.

Middleweight — 170 pounds

1st - Jacob South, 95th Division

2nd - Walter Bubenzer, Fort Knox, Ky.

3rd - Jonas Bray, Fort Benning, Ga.

4th - Raymond Pintor, Tripler Army Medical Center, Hawaii

Cruiserweight — 185 pounds

1st - Larry McCord, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment

2nd - Colton Smith, 3rd Infantry Regiment, Old Guard

3rd - Andrew McLauchlan, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team

4th - Daniel Midget, Fort Benning, Ga.

Light Heavyweight — 205 pounds

1st - John Gendron, 75th Ranger Regiment

2nd - Jared Roy, Fort Detrick, Md.

3rd - Rich Miranda, 3rd Special Forces Group

4th - Guillermo Villa, Tripler Army Medical Center, Hawaii

Heavyweight — over 205 pounds

1st - Brandon Sayles, 3rd Infantry Division

2nd - Nathan Freeman, 3rd Infantry Division

3rd - Lonnie Kincaid, Fort Riley, Kan.

4th - Ryan McCracken, Fort Hood, Texas.