JBM-HH hosts combatives tournament
April 26, 2013
JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. News traveled quickly across Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall April 18. By mid-afternoon, many had learned that a U.S. Army Band flutist had advanced into the championship round of the 5th annual Joint Force Headquarters-National Capital Region and Military District of Washington Combatives Tournament at the Fort Myer Fitness Center gymnasium.
Jokingly introduced as "the most vicious flute player in the U.S. Army," Staff Sgt. Megan Lomonof placed second in the combined fly-lightweight division. She was defeated by Senior Airman Michael McDonnell, who clinched the victory with an arm bar submission in the final 60 seconds of the six-minute championship match.
Faring better than Lomonof was combative heavyweight Sgt. Michael Pegg of H Company, The Old Guard, who defeated fellow JBM-HH soldier Spc. Jonathan Grondel of JBM-HH's 529th Regimental Support Company.
Six championship matches capped a solidly-booked day of hand-to-hand combat. In attendance for the late afternoon title bouts were JFHQ-NCR/MDW Commanding General Maj. Gen. Michael S. Linnington, Command Sgt. Maj. David O. Turnbull and JBM-HH Commander Col. Fern O. Sumpter and Command Sgt. Maj. Earlene Y. Lavender, who watched McDonnell end Lomonof's chance of a combative title with a submission hold during the final minute in a close-to-the-vest title match.
"I knew this was going to be a real tough match," said McDonnell, who is with 32nd Intelligence Squadron at Fort Meade. "I just pulled an arm out at the end, but for the most part, she was up the entire time. We were playing 50-50, which is kind of her guard of choice, so I definitely was at a disadvantage. I got lucky at the end; I just muscled up an arm."
Lomonof, who is an accomplished purple belt in Brazilian Ju-Jitsu, advanced throughout the day toward the title bout and was grateful for the chance to grapple on home turf.
"I didn't even know word was getting around until right before this [championship bout]," a surprised Lomonof said after the tournament where 42 service members entered. "I was just doing my thing - this is what I do. It is good that people are supporting not just me but women in the military and the band members, as well.
"It was very strategic at the beginning. I saw him pull guard earlier, and I think he expected me to as well," she said about the title match.
"With the rules, you take a two-point penalty if you pull guard. This was the first double-guard pull match of the entire tournament, so whoever came out first gets two points. He was up two points, and I got a [three-point] sweep. He went for broke at the end and went for that arm bar exactly as he should have, and I wasn't able to stop him, and he got the win."
In the heavyweight championship match, the five-foot, nine-inch, 245-pound Pegg, who is assigned to 3d U.S. Infantry Division (The Old Guard) H Company, 1st Battalion, returned to the combatives mats after a year absence and never let up off the throttle during his tournament run.
"The first takedown of the match was a little sloppy, but once I gained dominate position, I knew I could control him," Pegg said of his final bout against Grondel. "I really didn't know what submission [hold] I was going to go for; I was kind of waiting for him to give me something. When we re-set in the middle, he gave me his open collar, so I took advantage of that."
In other matches involving JBM-HH personnel, welterweight Pfc. Michael Sands of D Company, 1st Battalion, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment defeated Sgt. Erik Johnsen of Fort Meade's 781st Military Intelligence Battalion. In the light heavyweight title match, The Old Guard's Pfc. Denzel Davis was on the losing end of a grapple against Air Force TSgt. Joseph Matulewicz of Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling.
Before the trophy presentations to champions and runners-up, JFH-NCR/MDW command leaders saluted the warriors, and Turnbull told the crowd and finalists "the glory goes to the man or woman who enters the ring, so the glory is all to you and congratulations."
Linnington acknowledged tournament planners and JBM-HH hosts before sharing his admiration for the finalist fighters and all who took part.
"I've got a ton of respect for each and every one of you that competed," the general commented. "I also want to thank your chains of command for giving you the time to work out and train for the competition."
Defending combative champ Staff Sgt. Matthew Bray of B Company, U.S. Army Element South Troop Command, Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, earned the 2013 middleweight title over Cpl. John Taber, Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling. In the cruiserweight match, Fort Meade Sgt. Kevin Kent defeated Sgt. 1st Class John Kim.