The Patriot Four-Style Wrestling Club won the men's junior and senior divisions in the national Sombo wrestling tournament last night at George Mason University.
The Patriot club finished with 62 points in the junior national finals, followed by Navy (33) and Army (32). The club won the senior men's championship in the last match as 125.5-pound Kirk Hoffman won, 3-2, over Cliff Taylor of Navy.
Hoffman had won a championship earlier in the evening in the same weight class in the junior finals. His victory gave the Patriot senior team a 65-63 margin over runner-up Army. The Patriot club is composed of some members of George Mason's wrestling team, plus former collegiate wrestlers from other schools and some practitioners of judo.
The U.S. Marine Corps team, the two-time defending senior men's champion, was third with 44 points.
Sombo, a form of Russian folk-style wrestling, is a combination of various wrestling styles and judo. Judo-type jackets are worn during competition.
Greg Gibson of the U.S. Marines, the only man to have won gold or silver medals in World Cup competition in Greco-Roman, freestyle and Sombo wrestling, easily handled his opponent, Ted Cuneo, with a submission hold in the second period for his third straight national sombo title in the 220-pound class. Gibson, who wrestled in the heavyweight class while at the University of Oregon, is stationed in Quantico, but has competed frequently in recent years in international tournaments.
Gibson, 28, and heavyweight teammate Ron Carlisle are the first Americans to win gold medals in the Russian-dominated Sombo wrestling. They did it at the 1981 World Cup in Spain.
Gibson's main goal is to win a gold medal for the United States in 1984, although he is unsure whether to enter in freestyle or Greco-Roman competition. "It's like a big payback to win that gold," said Gibson. "I'm just trying to pick up knowledge as I go and the work is paying off."
Teammate Craig Pittman, a national Sombo champion at 198 pounds, appreciates Gibson's feats. "He's a good influence for me and our team because he's our workout partner," said Pittman. "We're working with the best in the world."