USAF ACADEMY, Colo. – Highlighted by hard-hitting action and nine first-time champions, the Air Force boxing team concluded competition at the 60th Wing Open Championships this evening (March 1) under the lights of Clune Arena.
Junior Levi Knox was named the night’s Outstanding Boxer, becoming the sixth 165-pound boxer to receive the prestigious Wing Open award. Knox, competing in a rematch of last year’s 165-pound final, upended two-time champion and senior Naji Bseiso by unanimous decision. The junior connected on a hard blow to force Bseiso into a standing eight-count during the opening round and maintained pressure on his opponent throughout the contest.
In the only bout to end before the final bell, sophomore Levi Rate captured his second-straight Wing Open title and was the night’s only repeat champion. Rate, who won the 132-pound title as a freshman and moved up to the 147-pound division this year, defeated freshman Adeola Adeboyejo in a referee-stopped bout. After getting his feet tangled with Adeboyejo in the opening minute and receiving a standing-eight count, Rate pressured his younger opponent against the ropes and connected on several hard blows that sent Adeboyejo to the mat and forced the ref to halt the contest just 30 seconds into the second round.
In addition to Knox, five other men captured their first Wing Open titles this evening. Sophomore Sean Chieves captured the first men’s title of the night, as he earned a unanimous decision over freshman Justin Couty in the 132-pound contest. Junior Josh Turner collected his first Wing Open title after earning a tight, split decision over sophomore Ife Onigbanjo in the 139-pound bout, while sophomore Devon Smith captured a unanimous decision over junior William Ragland in the 156-pound bout. Senior Neptally Trujillo used a flurry of shots in the final round to secure the split decision over sophomore Cenada Clifton-Smith in the 175-pound bout and sophomore Austin Dreyer closed out the night with a split victory over classmate Nick Pingel at 185 pounds.
Three members of the women’s club team also collected their first victories during tonight’s championship final. Junior Laura Drapinksi captured the 119-pound title, as she earned a unanimous decision over classmate Alex Reveles in the night’s opening bout. In the women’s second all-junior bout of the night, Alicia Alexander forced a pair of standing-eight counts and earned the 125-pound decision over Abigail Aldecoa, while junior Monica Mammah capped the women’s lineup with a hard-fought victory at 147 pounds, claiming a split-decision win over sophomore Adrienne Yoder, the defending Wing Open and national champion at 139 pounds.
In addition to the 10 contested champions, sophomore RJ Leon (119 pounds), senior Osama Farqaleet (125 pounds), senior Den Tati-Mackaya (195 pounds), sophomore Jordan Garivay (heavyweight) earned victories after being unopposed in the finals.
The winners from tonight’s championship will form the nucleus of the Air Force boxing team that will represent the Academy at the upcoming National Collegiate Boxing Association Championships. The squad opens post-season competition at the NCBA Western Regional on March 15-17 in Reno.
119-lbs. (w): Laura Drapinski (CS-37) dec. Alex Reveles (CS-27)
125-lbs. (w): Alicia Alexander (CS-28) dec. Abigail Aldecoa (CS-15)
132-lbs.: Sean Chieves (CS-02) dec. Justin Couty (CS-04)
129-lbs.: Josh Turner (CS-16) dec. Ife Onigbanjo (CS-32)
147-lbs.: Levi Rate (CS-40) rsc-2 (:30) Adeola Adeboyejo (CS-10)
147-lbs. (w): Monica Mammah (CS-27) dec. Adrienne Yoder (CS-20)
156-lbs.: Devon Smith (CS-28) dec. William Ragland (CS-04)
165-lbs.: Levi Knox (CS-30) dec. Naji Bseiso (CS-22)
175-lbs.: Neptally Trujillo (CS-38) dec. Cenada Clifton-Smith (CS-32)
185-lbs.: Austin Dreyer (CS-31) dec. Nick Pingel (CS-08)