Falcons Finish Third at All-Academy Championships
Feb. 1, 2014
NEW LONDON, Conn. - Led by an individual titles from sophomores Josh Martinez (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Marcus Malecek (Hammond, Wis.) the Air Force wrestling team captured third place at the 20th-annual All-Academy Championships, hosted by the Coast Guard Academy. The Falcons finished with 83.0 points to place behind Navy (108.5 pts.), which captured its sixth-straight team title, and The Citadel (92.0 pts.)
Army (71.0 pts.) captured fourth place, while VMI (17.5 pts.), Merchant Marine Academy (16.5), Norwich (6.5 pts.) and Coast Guard (2.0 pts.) rounded out the team standings.
Martinez, ranked fourth in the nation at 125 pounds, captured his second-straight All-Academy title, posting a 3-0 record on Saturday. Martinez scored falls in each of his first two matches, pinning Norwich's Daniel Lupacchino in a time of 1:18 and Merchant Marine's Michael Mui in 5:53. He then claimed the title with a medical forfeit by Brendan Campbell of Navy in the championship bout.
Meanwhile, Malecek also went 3-0 on Saturday, winning all three matches in overtime. He began the day with a 3-1 sudden victory win over Brian Walker (Merchant Marine), while scoring another 3-1 sudden victory decision against VMI's Juan Adams. In the title match, Malecek faced off against The Citadel's Joe Bexley, outlasting his opponent 3-2 in the second tiebreaker.
The Falcons also claimed a pair of runner-up finishes, with senior Greg Rinker (Northampton, Pa.) and Devin Hightower (Colorado Springs, Colo.) each placing second in their respective weight classes. Rinker, wrestling at 133 pounds, opened the day with a first-period fall, while earning a 7-0 decision in the semifinals before dropping the title bout to Navy's Colton Rasche.
At 184 pounds, Hightower also won his first two matches, scoring a 5-0 decision in the first round before earning a 2-1 tiebreaker win in the semifinals. In the championship bout, Hightower wrestled in another close match, this time dropping a 2-1 decision to Samson Imonode of Army.
Three other Air Force wrestlers placed third in their respective weight classes, beginning with freshman Natrelle Demison (Bakersfield, Calif.) at 149 pounds. Demison posted a 3-1 record on Saturday, opening with a 13-0 major decision before dropping his semifinal match. He rebounded in the consolation bracket with a pair of decisions, including a 7-3 win in the third-place bout.
At 174 pounds, sophomore Konner Witt (Oak Harbor, Ohio) also posted a 3-1 record to place third. He scored a first-period fall in the opening round before his semifinal loss. In the consolation bracket, Witt scored a pair of decisions, including a 4-1 victory in the third-place match.
Meanwhile, Greg Isley (Sr., Toledo, Ohio) took third place at 197 pounds with a 3-1 record on Saturday, beginning with a fall in the first round. After dropping a decision in the semifinals, he scored two more victories in the consolation bracket, tallying a technical fall and a 6-3 decision.
Also finishing as a placewinner for the Falcons on Saturday was senior Josh Kreimier (Fort Collins, Colo.), who placed fourth at 157 pounds.
The Falcons are off from competition next weekend, but return to action on Tuesday, Feb. 11, when they host Wyoming in a WWC dual.