GREELEY, Colo. -- The Air Force Academy wrestling team won eight of ten matches to run away with a 31-6 Big 12 dual win over the University of Northern Colorado, Sunday afternoon, Feb. 24, at Bank of Colorado Arena. The Falcons (7-6, 3-5 Big 12) won the final six matches, including the last three by bonus points.
Air Force's bonus point wins included a pair of pins, one from senior co-captain Alex Mossing at 157 lbs. It was his third dual pin in a row, and his team-best eighth of the season. The other was from junior Randy Meneweather at 174 lbs., his sixth of the year. Sophomore Jacoby Ward had the other bonus point win, taking an 8-0 major decision at 165 lbs.
This marks the fifth straight season Air Force has finished .500 or better in duals. The Falcons also defeated two teams that were at one point ranked in the top-25 (Fresno State & Utah Valley), while five of the six dual defeats came against opponents ranked in the top-25.
The dual began at 184 lbs., as UNC (4-10, 0-8 Big 12) took the opener by close 2-0 decision. Senior co-captain Anthony McLaughlin then had the biggest upset of the day, as he defeated No. 15 Jacob Seely at 197 lbs. The veteran used a big third period takedown to secure a 3-2 win, and tie the dual at 3-3.
Freshman heavyweight Kayne Hutchison made it two in a row, as he rolled to an 8-2 decision win to give AF the brief 6-3 lead. Going back to the top, UNC answered back with a decision win at 125 lbs. to tie it at six into 133.
The Falcons then went on a run, beginning with senior John Twomey. He blanked his opponent, 4-0, to make it 9-6 into the intermission. After the break, sophomore Lenny Petersen returned to the lineup, and had a wild match. The score stood 6-5 after one period, and then 8-6 in favor of Petersen into the third. The match eventually was tied 10-10 with about a minute to go, but Petersen was able to secure a late takedown to win the thriller, 12-10, and make it 12-6 with four to go.
At 149, junior Alec Opsal faced a tough matchup with senior Dante Rodriguez, who had won via fall his last two dual matches. Opsal held tough, though, as he secured a 12-8 decision win to extend the Air Force lead to 15-6.
That's when the bonus point train began, starting with Mossing at 157. The senior needed just 46 seconds to secure his third straight dual pin, ending his dual career on a high note. Following him, Ward blanked his opponent with an 8-0 major decision win to put the dual out of reach, 25-6. The Falcons weren't done, however, as Meneweather put the cap on it with his first period fall in 2:20, sealing the 31-6 score.
The Blue and Silver now have a week off from competition as they prepare for the 2019 Big 12 Championships, held this year in Tulsa, Okla. Action from the BOK Center begins Saturday, March 9 and runs two days.
184: Dalton Robertson (N. Colorado) over Jake Thompson (Air Force) (Dec 2-0)
197: No. 32 Anthony McLaughlin (Air Force) over No. 15 Jacob Seely (N. Colorado) (Dec 3-2)
HWT: Kayne Hutchison (Air Force) over Robert Winters (N. Colorado) (Dec 8-2)
125: No. 16 Rico Montoya (N. Colorado) over No. 27 Sidney Flores (Air Force) (Dec 7-1)
133: John Twomey (Air Force) over Sean Cannon (N. Colorado) (Dec 4-0)
141: Lenny Petersen (Air Force) over Chris Sandoval (N. Colorado) (Dec 12-10)
149: Alec Opsal (Air Force) over Dante Rodriguez (N. Colorado) (Dec 12-8)
157: No. 28 Alex Mossing (Air Force) over Jordan Robison (N. Colorado) (Pin 0:46)
165: Jacoby Ward (Air Force) over Macoy Flanagan (N. Colorado) (MD 8-0)
174: Randy Meneweather (Air Force) over Trenton Schultz (N. Colorado) (Pin 2:20)