In The Hunt? Yes Sir
Aspiring Marine Wrestling Well
Posted: January 22, 2013
HARRISONBURG – Every day at the Grottoes Exxon where his father and stepmother work, Morgan Forloines can expect a visit from a Vietnam veteran seeking out his morning cup of coffee.
The Spotswood High School 145-pound wrestler became quickly captivated by the veteran’s willingness to share stories with him, even a tragic one where he said he was seriously injured in a deadly helicopter accident.
“He’s not very mobile, but he talks to me all the time and has been a major influence,” said Forloines, a 5-foot-9 junior. “...Even with all the bad stuff that’s happened to him, he still loves it.”
Forloines, the likely No. 2 seed in the Valley District tournament at Turner Ashby on Feb. 2, plans to join the Marines and get into law enforcement afterward, hoping to someday be a state trooper. He’s already taking a criminal justice class at Massanutten Technical Center.
Why a state trooper?
“Well, it’s one of the hardest things in law enforcement,” said Forloines, who proudly wears Marine sweatshirts and hats around school. “You’re not restricted to one certain area. It’s more of an adventure. I’d rather be out doing something than be stuck behind a desk for the rest of my life.”
A few of his wrestling matches have certainly been more adventurous than SHS coach Chris Grefe would like. But Forloines, who turned 18 on Dec. 28, has clearly emerged as a leader and is currently the only wrestler with a winning record at Spotswood, going a modest 13-10 (5-1 in the district).
“He drives me crazy sometimes. I mean, he’s just – it’s very awkward the way he wrestles sometimes,” Grefe said. “But he’s very scrappy. So sometimes when he gets into a bad position, he finds a way to get out of it and is able to win some matches. Not sure how good of a quality that is, but he’s able to pull it out most of the time.”
Forloines was the first to admit that he’s prone to “stupid mistakes,” such as lifting his leg when he shouldn’t or making himself susceptible to reversals that cost him in a recent major decision win by Broadway’s 145-pounder, Brandon Gill, the likely No. 1 seed. Gill (31-10) also won a one-point bout against Forloines – who played wide receiver/defensive back in football – in early December at Harrisonburg.
“My goal is to get him and go on to regionals and do good there,” said Forloines.
On a slightly bigger but still inexperienced SHS team – 10 wrestlers, including last year’s first female district champion, lightweight Lenee Figliola – Forloines has been a welcome presence in the wrestling room.
“If anybody has tried to step up and be a leader, it’s been him,” Grefe said.
Forloines hasn’t shrunk from challenges on the mat this season, and his career aspirations do not suggest he will.
He said his military drive stems from a long bloodline of Marines, including a female cousin who recently graduated from high school and all of his great-uncles on his father’s side, two of whom fought in Vietnam. Three family members are currently Marines. His dad, Tim, was in the Army briefly before a boot camp injury forced him out.
“Most children like to switch [career paths], but as far as I can remember, like as far back as the fifth grade…he kind of got hooked on [the Marines],” Tim Forloines said. “He’s been training since the 10th grade.”
One viewing of the movie “Black Hawk Down,” a 2001 drama about the Somali civil war, hooked Morgan Forloines at a young age.
“Ever since then, that’s what I wanted to do,” he said. “All my friends know it. I’m always wearing Marine stuff.”
His teammates also know his renewed commitment to wrestling, after taking a year off last season to focus on academics. When snow first cancelled a Blazers practice this season, Forloines rounded up the troops.
“He messaged the team to get out and do some kind of workout,” Grefe said. “…I think he’s done it a couple times. If he’s going to go run, he’ll call people to try to get people to run with.”
Semper Fi, indeed.