Wrestlers from the Army’s World Class Athlete Program Wrestling Team are on Fort Stewart, cross-training for the upcoming U. S. Wrestling Olympic Trials in April.
The WCAP provides soldier-athletes the support and training to compete in national and international competitions leading to the Olympic and Paralympic games, while maintaining a military career and representing the U.S. Army.
The WCAP Wrestling Team won the team trophy for the 12th consecutive year during the U.S. Senior Nationals/Trials in December in Las Vegas.
Capt. Jonathan Anderson, the officer in charge of the WCAP Wrestling Team and men’s Greco-Roman style wrestler, said the team of 23 athletes, including five women, are all world champion wrestlers and Olympians.
“But most of all we have soldiers,” he said. “We are soldiers first and foremost and any time we get a chance to give back to other Army units, we try and do that.”
He said the team came here to train, adding the facilities at Fort Stewart offer a good location for his squad while also offering soldiers here the opportunity to grapple with the team members and learn combat techniques.
“We will be talking about what it takes to be a warrior and a soldier athlete and what it takes to achieve your goals,” Anderson said.
He credited 3rd ID Garrison Commander Col. Townley Hedrick for much of his wrestling success.
Anderson wrestled in high school, then at West Point and met Hedrick while at Fort Benning where he started Army combative and wrestling.
He said Hedrick was pivotal in getting him on a rigid training regime.
“I ended up winning the 2010 All Army Combative Championships,” he said.
He said Hedrick supported all his personal and military goals and opened doors for him to be able to get into the WCAP and become a world champion.
Anderson said he and Hedrick came up with a mantra – “Conceive, believe, achieve and win”
“CBA,” he said, adding the Army is all about acronyms. “It was CBA, win. And at the point I am now it is time to achieve. I have conceived a vision, believed it and now it’s time to achieve it and do the same for these soldiers.”
World bronze medalist Capt. Leigh Provisor said she is proud to be among the few female wrestlers for WCAP and that her teammates, men and women, are professional and respectable toward each other, exemplifying what the Army is all about.
She admits she never thought wrestling would be her sport.
“Wrestling was the absolute last thing that I chose in high school,” she said. “I came from a tougher background and I think that people with an edge to them and people who like a challenge and want to build their character choose sports like wrestling. I wasn’t aware of the opportunities I would receive joining a boys team in high school, but it did take me to college under a scholarship as well as all over the world representing the United Sates and the U.S. Army. It has been a tremendous blessing.”
Hedrick said he grew up wrestling. He said he became involved with Army wrestling when combat tactics from the World War II era were replaced by newer hand-to-hand, martial arts style tactics.
He said Anderson is a model soldier and fantastic wrestler so he helped him achieve his goal of making the Olympic trials. He said Anderson used his personal time to compete nationally and internationally, helping earn a spot with WCAP.
“It is neat for Fort Stewart, which has such great fitness facilities, to have these guys here.”