USAFA, Colo. -- In its final dual of the regular season, the Air Force wrestling team earned a 35-9 victory over Western Wrestling Conference foe Northern Colorado Sunday afternoon at Clune Arena. With the win, the Falcons close out their dual slate with an 11-4 record and 2-3 mark in the WWC.
Northern Colorado (1-10, 0-5) got out to a quick 3-0 lead in the team scoring with a decision at 157 pounds, but the Falcons quickly pushed ahead with a fall from sophomore Jesse Stafford (Loomis, Calif.) in a time of 3:57. Senior Clay Gable (Dallastown, Pa.), competing in his first dual meet of the season, was up next for Air Force, earning a 7-3 decision in his return to action.
Junior Devin Hightower (Colorado Springs, Colo.) turned in an impressive performance at 184 pounds, winning a 16-1 technical fall, while senior Josh Mohr (Pewaukee, Wis.) added a 12-3 major decision at 197 pounds to push the Falcons' lead to 18-3.
The Bears got back on the board with a decision by Henry Chirino in the heavyweight bout, but Air Force picked up another victory at 125 pounds, as 10th-ranked Josh Martinez (Fr., Colorado Springs, Colo.) scored a 17-1 technical fall. At 133 pounds, sophomore Dylan Hyder (Yelm, Wash.) tacked on the second fall of the day for the Falcons, pinning his opponent with just two seconds remaining in the first period.
Northern Colorado earned another decision in the 141-pound match, while senior captain Cole VonOhlen (Jackson, Minn.) wrapped up the match with a dominant performance at 149 pounds. Ranked third in the nation, VonOhlen racked up a 13-4 advantage less than a minute and a half into his match before scoring a fall, his 14th of the season, with 1:23 on the clock in the first period.
"I thought it was a great way to end the regular season," said Air Force head coach Joel Sharratt. "The guys went in and competed with heart and spirit, so we're proud to send our seniors off that way. Clay Gable back in the lineup was nice to see, and Logan Burch having an opportunity to compete there was positive. Cole VonOhlen, who's done everything we've asked of him, finished it in style, going out and scoring all those points in a minute and a half, and finishing with his signature hold."
"Now we're gonna get 10 guys ready to send them to the conference tournament," continued Sharratt. "That's kind of what the whole season is about. The practice is over, now the real matches begin."
With the regular season complete, the Falcons will now prepare to head to the 2013 NCAA West Regional, being held this year in Laramie, Wyo., on March 9.
157: Mitchell Polkowske (UNC) dec. Logan Burch, 17-11
165: Jesse Stafford (AF) fall Iver Sandoval, 3:57
174: Clay Gable (AF) dec. Jesse Nielsen, 7-2
184: Devin Hightower (AF) tech fall Keith Johnson, 16-1 (6:17)
197: Josh Mohr (AF) maj. dec. Cody McAninch, 12-3
285: Henry Chirino (UNC) dec. Bentley Alsup, 8-4
125: No. 10 Josh Martinez (AF) tech fall Abe Fox, 17-1 (6:54)
133: Dylan Hyder (AF) fall Brandon Gallagher, 2:58
141: Nick Adams (UNC) dec. Carter McElhany, 6-3
149: No. 3 Cole VonOhlen (AF) fall Nick Alspaugh, 1:37