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Hundreds participate in first Joe Kap Memorial tournament in Bristol

A color guard marches onto the mat before the start of the Joe Kap Memorial Tournament earlier this month in Bristol. (Photo courtesy John Benoit)

Hundreds of wrestlers ages 6 to 13 – boys and girls — participated in the first Joe Kap Memorial youth wrestling tournament at Bristol Eastern High on Sunday.

The tournament is named in honor of the late Joseph Kapacziewski, a former Bristol Eastern High wrestler and U.S. Army Ranger, who died in January at the age of 40 in Texas.

Portions from the tournament went to No Greater Sacrifice, a non-profit organization dedicated to investing in the children of our nation’s fallen and wounded service members by providing scholarships and resources to improve their quality of life through higher education.

The late Joe Kapacziewski wrestled at Bristol Eastern and became an Army Ranger.

Kapacziewski joined the U.S. Army after graduating from Bristol Eastern in 2001. He served in the Army with distinction for more than 15 years in 3rd Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Ranger Special Troops Battalion, and Regimental Headquarters Company.

After Joe was severely wounded in an ambush in northern Iraq in 2005, he persevered through a difficult and lengthy recovery and overcame near-impossible odds to become the first Ranger to return to combat with a prosthetic leg.

Kapacziewski continued to lead as a squad leader and platoon Sergeant, ultimately deploying a total of 11 times in support of the Global War on Terrorism.

Young wrestlers get ready to compete in the Joe Kap Memorial tournament in Bristol earlier this month (Photo courtesy John Benoit)

An honor guard presented the colors before the tournament began as the national anthem was sung.

Kapacziewski was inducted into the Connecticut Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2013.

Results 2023 Joe Kap Memorial Tournament

The national anthem was sung before the start of the Joe Kap tournament in Bristol. (Photo courtesy John Benoit)


The color guard stands at attention before the Joe Kap tournament in Bristol. (Photo courtesy Ted Ozkowski)

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of Connecticut Wrestling Online. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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