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Midshipman Competes in University World Wrestling Championship

Posted on: September 03, 2013 08:00 EDT by MC1 Tony Spiker

While Midshipman 1st Class Joe Locksmith’s home state of Florida has a history of being strong in Greco Roman wrestling, his own introduction to the sport as a high school freshman was not all that promising.  He relied on skills that work well in the collegiate style – also called folkstyle – of wrestling traditionally practiced in the U.S., and was thrown, heels over head, to his back. 

However, the in-your-face, brawling toughness the Greco Roman style inspires in young wrestlers appealed to Locksmith’s tenacity and set him on a path that would lead him to the University World Championships in Kazan, Russia, in July 2013.

“For a few tournaments in a row, I was actually scared to enter.  I didn’t want to get thrown and get hurt,” said Locksmith.

Despite his hesitation, something clicked with Locksmith and he has excelled at the sport ever since.

“My favorite part of wrestling is getting in the guy’s face, and Greco forces you to do that,” said Locksmith.  “Your opponent can’t run from you at all.  You think about old Greek Warriors, guys who had to fight face-to-face. There was no running away.  I like that.”

As a high school senior he was a USA Wrestling All American after taking second place at the Junior National Tournament.  In May of this year he was named the University National Champion, earning him the opportunity to represent the U.S. at the University World Championship. 

“Greco Roman wrestling is all about balance and controlling tie-ups, and that’s where he is strongest on his feet. At folkstyle, that’s what he does the best,” said Jay Antonelli, assistant coach for the Navy Wrestling team.

Locksmith plans to take some of the lessons he learned at the world championship and apply them towards the upcoming season, where he has his mind set on becoming an NCAA All American.

“He’s got a real good shot at it,” said Antonelli. “He’s got to eliminate a lot of his mistakes, but wrestling at this high of a level really helps with his confidence and coming back and wrestling at a collegiate level.”

“One of the biggest things that I took away from this summer was learning to wrestle in the moment, not get too caught up in the idea that I must win,” said Locksmith. “When that happens I tend to get nervous and make mistakes.  However, when I wrestle Greco, I just have so much fun that I am only thinking about the next move – I am fully in the match.  I need to apply that to my folkstyle wrestling.”

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