National Training Center and Fort Irwin Soldiers kicked, shrimped and struck their way to victory during the post's Warrior Challenge combatives tournament May 9-10 at Freedom Fitness Center.

Eighty-three Soldiers from units across Fort Irwin competed in seven weight classes. It was a large increase in participation from last year, said Sgt. Erick Martinez, tournament organizer. He credited more advertising further in advance with helping increase participation.

"I think it went great," said Martinez said. "It's definitely important for esprit de corps and camaraderie."

Command Sgt. Maj. Nathan Bucker, command sergeant major of the NTC and Fort Irwin, praised the competitors' spirit and performances.

"I am proud of them all," he said. "They've done an outstanding job."

Buckner presented Martinez with an Army Achievement Medal for his efforts organizing the tournament.

Staff Sgt. Steven Naverez, Regimental Support Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, won the lightweight category and said he was happy with his performance. He competed last year in a different weight class and came in second.

"I was definitely more mentally prepared this year," he said.

Naverez said he may compete again next year if he is still assigned to Fort Irwin.

Warrior Challenge 2011 final standings:

1st place: Spc. Frederick Valencia, RSS 11 ACR
2nd place: Staff Sgt. Anabel Avalos, 916th Support Brigade
3rd place: Jorge Vargas

1st place: Staff Sgt. Steven Naverez, RSS 11 ACR
2nd place: Pfc. Austin Desevrenjacquet, 2/11 ACR
3rd place: Staff Sgt. Sovath Keo, RSS 11 ACR

1st place: Spc. Albert Garcia, RSS 11 ACR
2nd place: Jason Smith, 2/11 ACR
3rd place: Sgt. 1st Class Kerine Cooks, RSS 11 ACR

1st place: Sgt. Justin Roswell, 1/11 ACR
2nd place: Staff Sgt. Jon Palmer, 2/11 ACR
3rd place: 2nd Lt. Will Flynn, 2/11 ACR

1st place: Capt. Kyle Yanowski, 2/11 ACR
2nd place: Cpl. Juan Contreras, 1/11 ACR
3rd place: Sgt. Carlos Bernal, 699th Maintenance Company

Light Heavyweight
1st place: Ryan Mann 1/11 ACR
2nd place: Sgt. 1st Class Jeremiah Gaylon, 2/11 ACR
3rd place: Tech Sgt. Matthew Horgan, USAF

1st place: Sgt. Jon Loftin, 2nd Heavy Equipment Transportation Company
2nd place: 2nd Lt. Sean Bolland, MEDDAC
3rd place: Sgt. Feliciano Castillianao, 1/11 ACR