C.J. Cramma was Magruder’s best wrestler this past winter, but the Colonels’ junior lost more than he won against a visitor to his home gymnasium during a clinic on April Fools’ Day.
Competing at 113 pounds, Cramma won county and regional crowns and finished third at the Class 4A-3A state tournament to improve on the previous year’s placements of second, third and fourth in each.
But during a free clinic co-sponsored by the Marine Corps’ Sports Leadership Academy at Magruder on April 1, Cramma often partnered with Bethesda-Chevy Chase sophomore Eli Guttentag, who finished third at counties at 120 pounds a year after going 44-1 and winning county and regional titles before finishing third at states as a 106-pound freshman.
“I lost to Guttentag the first time, then we wrestled again and it was tied, and then we found different partners,” said Cramma, who went 41-6 on the year.
“I probably ended up with eight wins and three losses overall, but me and Guttentag kept going back and forth, and he probably beat me three times to two for me.”
But Cramma said he learned more about structure and discipline than focusing on victories and defeat as part of an event co-sponsored by BrainBox Intelligent Marketing in Lexington, Kentucky, an organization which has partnered with the Marines “to do 24 different sports clinics in as many different cities throughout the country with active duty Marines present,” said Rick Ford, a BrainBox official. “We had 130 sign up for the [Magruder location,] and 94 of them showed up, so that’s a pretty good turnout.”
“With the Marines being there, you really get an appreciation for what they do for our country,” said Cramma. “The overall lesson was ‘Do the right things,’ and, ‘Follow a good path,’ and to ‘Be disciplined in everything.’”
Sessions were broken up into four, one-hour technical drills, as well as another, during which the participants scrimmaged against others.
In between the sessions, the wrestlers were addressed for approximately 15 minutes by Marines such as Captain Michael Bell, a 34-year-old South Carroll High graduate from the Marine Corps’ Recruiting Station in Frederick.
“I gave them leadership tips from my 17 years of service,” said Bell, a former high school baseball player. “Sports in every form, especially wrestling, require the same self-discipline it takes to be a successful Marine. By being exposed to the leadership traits we employ, we hope they can become better leaders in their sport.”
Other participating wrestlers included junior Yonas Harris of Northwest, freshman Silas Patton of Damascus, and sophomores Alex Carbonell of Poolesville and Jose Echenoa of Quince Orchard, all of whom competed this year at 106 pounds.
Harris won overtime bouts for the county and regional titles against Carbonell, who finished sixth at states, while Patton beat Echenoa, 5-3, for third at counties before winning their third place regional rematch, 15-8.
The Tao siblings, A.J. (Magruder) and Timothy (Poolesville) joined Quince Orchard’s Rob Wolf, Gaithersburg’s Tim Morrison and assistants Brian Franz (Walter Johnson), Charlie Gabel (Magruder) and Jai Watkins (Sherwood) among the coaches on hand.
“They’re [Marines] really dedicated in the way that they do things,” said Cramma, “and they led us in a great workout.”
Check out the photo gallery for this story!