March 1, 2012
USAF ACADEMY, Colo. - Senior Mike McLain became the 12th Air Force boxer to claim four Wing Open titles, as the boxing team concluded a hard-hitting night of competition during the finals of the 54th annual Wing Open Championships on Thursday, March 1, at the Academy's Clune Arena.
Facing off against aggressive sophomore Denis Vorobyov for the second straight year in the night's 175-pound bout, McLain landed the early shots. Vorobyov battled back, but McLain was able to earn the judges' decision and capture the elusive fourth straight title.
Winning his fourth Wing Open title, McLain becomes the 12th member of an elite group that includes James Ingram (Class of 1964), Gary Vasek (Class of 1968), Buzz Dyre (Class of 1969), Charlie Stallworth (Class of 1973), Alex Cline (Class of 1980), Ricky Graham (Class of 1983), Bryan Dunn (Class of 1993), Mike Benza (Class of 2000), Joel Rivera (Class of 2001), Darren Smith (Class of 2005) and Willie Lloyd (Class of 2007).
In the night's other rematch from the 2011 championship round, junior Glenn Miltenberg successfully defended his 147-pound title over senior Craig Spranger. Miltenberg controlled the pace of the bout, en route to earning the Wing Open Outstanding Boxer Award. He is the seventh 147-pound boxer to earn the championships' top award - and the first since Frankie Woods in 2003.
Senior Tyrus Korecki claimed his first Wing Open title at 156 pounds, earning the easy decision over classmate Blaze Dunn. Korecki, a three-time finalist, came out focused and strong, causing several standing eight counts during the six-minute bout to take the decision and conclude his intra-wing career with a victory.
In all, seven of the nine bouts went to the judges for decision.
Fellow senior Dan Starr picked up his third Wing Open title, after taking the judges' vote from sophomore Ethan Salgado in the 139-pound contest. Senior Logan Brandt, a 2009 finalist at 185 pounds, won the hotly contested 195-pound bout over 2011 heavyweight finalist Brian Corcoran. Sophomore Andrew Munoz, a finalist last year at 139 pounds, captured the 132-pound title after defeated two-time finalist Will Petersen. Freshman Roy Taylor withstood a fast start by sophomore Stephen Bittner to win the 125-pound decision.
The final two bouts were stopped early by the referee. Senior Casey Habluetzel repeated as the 165-pound Wing Open champion after forcing the referee to stop his bout with junior Chris Nelson in the second round. Habluetzel immediately took control of the ring and quickly landed several hard shots to Nelson, causing the official to wave off the contest with 1:18 remaining in the second period. Junior Olawale Lawal also earned an early victory, taking the heavyweight title over classmate Joseph Okai just two minutes in. Lawal, who defeated the defending Wing Open champion last week during the semiginal round, immediately connected with Okai, forcing him against the ropes and landing several hard shots before the referee stepped in.
The winners of tonight's bouts - "The Dirty Dozen" - form the nucleus of the Air Force squad that will compete at the regional and national competitions. The National Collegiate Boxing Association Regional Championships will be held March 22-24 in Reno, Nev., while the NCBA National Championships will be held at the Academy on April 5-7.
112-lbs.: Drew Pineda (CS-05)
119-lbs.: Justin Zahn (CS-27)
125-lbs.: Roy Taylor (CS-15) dec. Stephen Bittner (CS-15)
132-lbs.: Andrew Munoz (CS-40) dec. Will Petersen (CS-02)
139-lbs.: Dan Starr (CS-32) dec. Ethan Salgado (CS-14)
147-lbs.: Glenn Miltenberg (CS-27) dec. Craig Spranger (CS-18)
156-lbs.: Tyrus Korecki (CS-24) dec. Blaze Dunn (CS-22)
165-lbs.: Casey Habluetzel (CS-32) rsc-2 Chris Nelson (CS-13)
175-lbs.: Mike McLain (CS-24) dec. Denis Vorobyov (CS-03)
185-lbs: Zac Spranger (CS-35)
195-lbs: Logan Brandt (CS-18) dec. Brian Corcoran (CS-27)
Hywt.: Olawale Lawal (CS-13) rsc-1 Joseph Okai (CS-26)