Feb. 18, 2011

USAFA, Colo. - In its final dual meet of the season, the Air Force wrestling team captured a 24-13 win over Western Wrestling Conference rival Northern Colorado Friday night at Clune Arena. With the victory, the Falcons close out the regular season with a 12-5 overall record and 3-3 mark in the WWC. Meanwhile, the Bears drop to 2-12 overall, 1-5 in the conference.

The Bears won the first two matches of the dual, earning decisions at 125 and 133 pounds to take a 6-0 advantage in the team scoring. A forfeit victory for 11th-ranked Cole VonOhlen (So., Jackson, Minn.) at 141 pounds put the Falcons on the board, but Northern Colorado's Justin Gaethje, ranked 19th in the country, won a 20-6 major decision at 149 pounds to push the Bears back ahead, 10-6.

At 157 pounds, junior Alec Williams (Fultondale, Ala.) trailed 6-2 after two periods, but took control in the final period, earning a 9-7 decision over Tanner Weiks. Sophomore Clayton Gable (Dallastown, Pa.) made it two wins in a row for the Falcons, capturing a 6-2 win against Brandon Kammerzell in the 165-pound match, while senior captain Joseph Stafford (Loomis, Calif.) took the mat for the Falcons at 174 pounds, notching a 5-3 decision over Cody McAninch to give Air Force a 15-10 advantage.

While Northern Colorado scored a decision at 184 pounds to get back within two points in the team scoring, senior Neil Delaney (Grand Rapids, Mich.) followed up with a win over Nick Bayer at 197 pounds. The score was tied at 1-1 at the end of regulation before Delaney scored the only takedown of the match 39 seconds into the sudden victory period.


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With Air Force leading by five points going into the final match, sophomore heavyweight Jared Erickson (Newton, Utah) helped the Falcons cement their Senior Night win. Leading 4-3 in the third period against Konner Knudtson, Erickson recorded his seventh fall of the season in a time of 6:30 to bring the final team score to 24-13. The Falcons will now prepare to host the 2011 NCAA West Regional, which will be held March 6 in Clune Arena. Air Force and the six other schools in the Western Wrestling Conference will compete to earn bids to this year's NCAA Championships.

Air Force 24, Northern Colorado 13
125 - Sam Bauer (UNC) dec. Andrew Zwirlein, 7-5
133 - Casey Cruz (UNC) dec. Derek Gillespie, 10-3
141 - No. 11 Cole VonOhlen (AF) win by forfeit
149 - No. 19 Justin Gaethje (UNC) maj. dec. Josh Kreimier, 20-6
157 - Alec Williams (AF) dec. Tanner Weiks, 9-7
165 - Clayton Gable (AF) dec. Brandon Kammerzell, 6-2
174 - Joseph Stafford (AF) dec. Cody McAninch, 5-3
184 - Eric Brennan (UNC) dec. Kazden Ikehara, 3-0
197 - Neil Delaney (AF) dec. Nick Bayer, 3-1 (SV)
285 - Jared Erickson (AF) fall Konner Knudtsen, 6:30