Wing Open Features Five Defending Champions
March 1, 2002
The numbers for this year's Wing Open Championship translate into an exciting afternoon of boxing. When the first of 11 bouts begin starting at 2 p.m. Saturday in Clune Arena, there will be, five returning Open champs, including two who went on to win national titles, and three runner-ups among the 23 boxers.
The Open serves as a prelude to intercollegiate competition on a regional and national level. Open winners advance to regional competition. The regional winners advance to the Nationals and a chance to win a gold medal. Air Force's program is considered to be the best in the country. Proof of that is winning 15 of the last 22 national team titles, including titles from the past three years.
The two national champions are C1C Dustin Brown in the 195-pound weight class. Brown, from Cadet Squadron 11, has won the national title the past two years. He will box C3C Ethan Sabin from Cadet Squadron 03.
C2C Ulysses Linares, from CS-01, is the defending national champion in the 147-pound division. He will square off against C2C Jacob Hostetler from CS-17. Last year, Hostetler was one victory short of making it to the 2001 Wing Open Boxing Championships as he lost his semifinal bout.
Joining Brown and Linares as defending Open champions are Clell Knight (156-pounds, CS-02), Doug Spear (112-pounds, CS-32), Joe Harding (165-pounds, CS-21).
The lone boxer that has already been crowned a champion is C4C Darren Smith in the 119-pound division. Smith, from CS-12, is unopposed in his division.
This Open marks coach Eddie Weicher's 25th as the head boxing coach. His career is legendary among his peers. He has produced 207 All-American boxers and 82 individual national champions. In his first year of intercollegiate competition in 1980 his Fighting Falcons became the first team in school history to garner a National Collegiate Championship. Since that first year his teams have added fourteen additional National Championships and finished runner-up seven times. In the past twenty-two years his teams have never finshed lower than second in the nation.
112-lbs. - C3C Douglas Spear, CS-32 vs. C4C Stan Hashimoto, CS-28