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Gamers To the End
Rick Reilly
February 05, 2007
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February 05, 2007

Gamers To The End

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Four. Luis Castillo isn't just a good wrestler, he's the captain of the 2003--04 team at Mattawan ( Mich.) High. Wait! He's not just the captain, he's the winner of the team's leadership award.

And wrestling is only where it starts. He's a break-dancing, bungee-jumping, joke-telling machine in a crew cut. "The all-American kid," the grown-ups call him. And it makes you wonder: How many people know he was born in Mexico?

Five. It's 2000, and 17-year-old Jason Corbett takes his mark at the ancient Panathenaic Stadium in Athens. The timer is ready and—bang!—Corbett's off. Of course, there's no official time for his run because there's nobody in the stands and it's his buddy holding the watch.

He's not in a track meet, he's on a trip with some Casper, Wyo., high school classmates. But, hey, that's not going to stop Corbett from running or having a good time. Nothing stops Corbett. He swallows life whole—track, snowboarding, fly-fishing and hunting. The kid has all the warning signs of a thrillaholic and loves anything to do with the outdoors. Maybe that's why he ended up in the only place big enough for him: Alaska.

SO WHAT do these five athletes have in common? They were all killed in Iraq during a two-week period in January.

Air Force Senior Airman Loncki, 23, was killed by a car bomb near Al-Mahmudiyah.

Army Captain Freeman, 31, was killed by insurgents disguised as American soldiers in Karbala.

Army Private First Class Falter, 25, died as a result of that same ambush.

Marine Lance Corporal Castillo, 20, died from wounds suffered while on patrol in Al Anbar province.

Army Specialist Corbett, 23, died of injuries from small-arms fire suffered while on patrol in Karmah.

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