Recruiting Station Twin Cities Commanding Officer Maj. Kenneth Gawronski presented Richard Carlson with the Forrest M. Peterson MVP Award during the All-Marine Wrestling Camp awards ceremony July 30.
Camp coordinators named Carlson, an Arden Hills, Minn., native, the MVP out of 120 athletes from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and the Dakotas attending the six-day wrestling clinic.
“This was the last thing I expected when I signed up to attend,” Carlson said. “It’s a huge honor.”
Carlson, who wrestles out of Mounds View High School at 182 pounds, also said he’s looking forward to trying out some of the moves he learned at the camp during the upcoming season.
“It was a combination of hard work, wrestling talent, but most importantly, he gave 100 percent at all times,” said Gawronski, a 35-year-old Liberty, Mo., native. “The competition was steep, but we believe the award went to the right person.”
Recruiting Station Twin Cities hosted the camp to promote academic and athletic excellence. Throughout the event, Marines taught various intermediate and advanced free-style and Greco-Roman techniques. Camp attendees also received daily conditioning workouts and classes intended to strengthen their mental resolve for matches.
“My favorite part was interacting with the Marines and wrestlers from surrounding states,” said Carlson, who plans to continue his wrestling career at college next year. ”No matter how much time you spend sharpening your skills there’s always room for improvement.”
Gawronski named the Forrest M. Peterson MVP Award after former 9th Marine Corps District Commanding Officer Col. Jeffery Peterson’s son, Forrest, who died in a car accident last year. Forrest’s life accomplishments are highlighted in Peterson’s book titled “A Pocket Full of Seeds.”
In the chapter "Seeds of Toughness and Perseverance," Peterson describes how his son decided to attend the University of Virginia's 2009 summer wrestling camp, following their move to Virginia. Two days into the camp, Forrest called his mother and was considering coming home. Apparently, he was one of only two young men at the camp who hadn’t at least qualified for their respective state tournament. He was a little outclassed experience-wise and was taking a bit of beating. His mother’s first reaction was to come rescue him, but his father, a former wrestler himself, convinced his son to stick it out.
Forrest returned to the camp the following year after going 21-11 as the 160-pound varsity wrestler for his new high school. Not only did he do better, he received the camp’s MVP award and was looking forward to a very promising senior season. Unfortunately, he would never get that chance.
While reflecting on that life lesson in his book, Peterson wrote "He [Forrest] had successfully sowed the seeds of perseverance and toughness." To that end, the Forrest M. Peterson MVP Award was established to recognize the wrestler who gave his all throughout the camp.
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