Boxers Head To Reno To Defend National Title
It's championship week for Air Forces boxing team as they head to Reno, NV, to defend their national title. Competition begins Thursday at the El Dorado Hotel and concludes with the finals on Saturday night in Reno's downtown Pavilion.
"We are taking 11 boxers with us which is a definite plus," said head coach Eddie Weichers, Jr. "But, based on the competition this year, it is going to be a very difficult task to win the title for the third consecutive year. We have to have our boxers step up.
"I believe boxing in Reno's 7,000-plus feet in altitude is going to help us. Our athletes have been training hard. We should own the last round."
If the competition at the Western Regional in Las Vegas two weeks ago can serve as a barometer, the Falcons have a formidable challenge ahead of them. Air Force crowned four regional champions in Ulysses Linares in the 147-pound division, Clell Knight (156-pounds), John Pantages (185-pounds) and Dustin Brown (195-pounds).
The Falcons won their 22nd consecutive Western Regional title by edging UNLV in a tiebreaker. It came down to which team had the most participants in the tournament and the edge went to Air Force with 12 over UNLV's 11 boxers. "In my 25 years of coaching, I have never seen a tougher fought regional championship than this one," said Weichers. "Our guys went toe-to-toe with their opponents and they showed a lot of heart."
Joining the four regional champions are Joel Rivera
(119-pounds), Adam Roberts (125-pounds), Joe Harding
(165-pounds) and Lee Poage (heavyweight). Doug Spear
(112-pounds), Gerry Sanchez (139-pounds) and Aaron Banks
(175-pounds) made the national tournament as at-large