March 4, 2009
The Air Force boxing team will host the 51st-annual Wing Open Championships on Sunday, March 8, at the Academy's Clune Arena. The 2009 finals feature eight previous champions, as well as nine newcomers. Admission is free for the 2 p.m. event, which will feature 11 bouts, ranging from 119 pounds to the heavyweight division.
A complete breakdown of each weight class will be available tomorrow on GoAirForceFalcons.com, but here are some storylines to look out for.
Nine former Wing Open champions highlight the 2009 lineup. Jesse Horton (119 pounds), Dave Simon (132), Nathan Liptak (147), Lucas Gagliardi (175) and Cory Tintzman (heavyweight) all claimed their first title in 2008, while Harvey White (125) and Boyce Loomis (185) are two-time Wing Open champions (2007, 2008). Dean Chuva, boxing in the 132-pound weight class this year, won last year's title at 112 pounds, while Andrew Catoire was the 195-pound champion in 2006.
HOME SWEET HOME
Two members of the Air Force boxing team are Colorado natives. Freshman Logan Brandt is from Colorado Springs (Pine Creek HS), while classmate Tyrus Korecki is from Denver (Cherry Creek HS). In addition, fellow freshman Daniel Starr currently calls Highlands Ranch home after growing up in North Carolina.
Only one bout this afternoon will feature a rematch of last year's championship bout. Senior Nathan Liptak
and sophomore Michael Dunn
will face off in the ring at Clune Arena for the second time in as many years in the 147-pound bout. Last season, Liptak took the decision from Dunn.
Seven freshmen will be featured during the 11 bouts of the 2009 Wing Open Finals. It is the largest freshmen contingent in the finals during head coach Eddie Weichers' 33-year tenure. Competing this afternoon will be Rainer Caparas (119 pounds), Nicholas Watts (125 pounds), Daniel Starr (139 pounds), Tyrus Korecki (156 pounds), Nick Cataldo (165 pounds), Mike McLain (175 pounds) and Logan Brandt (185 pounds).
Senior Kevin Williams (195 pounds) joined the boxing team, after concluding a successful four-year career as a member of the Air Force water polo team. Although a defender, Williams ranked third on the team in assists and served as the team captain as a senior. Click here for a feature on Williams' transformation from water polo player to Wing Open finalist.