Falcons Lead Competition Heading Into Finals
April 3, 2004
RENO, Nev. - After a long night of competition that featured 23 semifinal round bouts, the Air Force boxing team leads the way at the National Collegiate Boxing Association championships in Reno, Nev. With eight of the 10 Air Force boxers competing in their second fight in as many nights, the Falcons recorded seven victories on Saturday, April 3, to hold onto the lead heading into the national finals scheduled for tomorrow.
The Falcons are leading the competition with 25 points, followed by fellow service academies Navy and Army, who are second and third with respective point totals of 21 and 15. The remaining 16 teams are spread out behind the three academies.
Junior Darren Smith (Laurel, Md.), who had a bye into tonight's semifinals, defeated Miami-Ohio's Will Gregor in the 119-pound bout to get the Falcons' first win of the night. Blake Baldi (Peoria, Ill.) started a run of five straight Air Force victories when he earned a decision over Fernando Garcia of Navy at 139-pounds.
Ryan Dorsey-Spitz (Pueblo, Colo.) defeated Isaiah Valizano of Shippensburg at 147-pounds, while Clell Knight (Justiceburg, Texas) advanced to the finals after defeating Gettysburg's Matt Klein at 156-pounds.
Leif Nordhagen (Sun Prairie, Wis.) earned a tough decision over Steve Pakish of UNLV at 165-pounds. At 175-pounds, Augustin Kamdem (Yaounde, Cameroon) earned a victory over Penn State's Brett King when the referee had to stop the contest in the third round. Ryan Coates (San Antonio, Texas) was declared the winner of a 185-pound bout with Navy's Dave Rainey.
Air Force's three losses came in the 132-pound, 195-pound and heavyweight bouts. Luis Pena (Laredo, Texas) was defeated by Jeremy Biggs of Navy in the 132-pound match-up, while Kentucky's Chad Gilpin defeated Will Watson (Los Angeles) at 195-pounds and Brian Trumble (Pittsburgh, Pa.) lost by decision to Army's Wes Baer.
"This has been a very tough tournament," Air Force head coach Eddie Weichers said. "Everyone is competing at a very high level and I know everything will be kicked up a notch tomorrow. We will have guys competing tomorrow night from 112-pounds to 185-pounds and they all do a very good job of keeping the heat turned up for those six minutes."
The eight winners from tonight's contest, as well as freshman Willie Lloyd (Columbia, S.C.) who received an automatic berth into the finals, will compete tomorrow (April 3) for the NCBA Championships. The fists will fly at 7 p.m., at the El Dorado Hotel in Reno, Nev.
COMPLETE AFA RESUTLS FROM THE SEMIFINAL BOUTS