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.
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.
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.