Air Force Finishes Third at All-Academy Championships
Feb. 2, 2008
USAFA, Colo. - Led by Stephen Crozier's title at 165 pounds, the Air Force wrestling team captured third place at the 14th-annual All-Academy Championships Saturday, hosted by Army. The host Black Knights won the team title with 111 points, breaking Navy's four-year win streak at the event. The Midshipmen finished second with 106 points, while the Falcons had 54.5 points. Coming in fourth was The Citadel, followed by the Merchant Marine Academy, VMI, the Coast Guard Academy and Norwich.
Crozier, a junior from Monona, Iowa, earned his championship with a victory over top-seeded Vincent Renaut of the Merchant Marines. While Renaut grabbed an early lead, Crozier, the second seed in the bracket, put Renaut on his back in the second period, recording a fall in a time of 4:14. Earlier in the day, Crozier registered a pair of major decisions on his way to the title match, defeating Army's Rudy Chelednik, 12-0, and VMI's Jayme Gordon, 18-8.
Senior Jake Kriegbaum (Abilene, Kan.) also earned a spot in the finals at 141 pounds, following a first-round bye with a 12-2 major decision over VMI's David Metzler. Kriegbaum, seeded third in the tournament, faced off against top-seeded Matt Kyler of Army. However, Kriegbaum could not get past Kyler, ranked 20th in the nation, dropping a 10-3 decision to finish second.
Recording third-place finishes for Air Force were sophomore Tyler French (Malta, Mont.) and senior Anthony Stegeman (Cincinnati, Ohio). French, wrestling at 174 pounds, began the day with an 11-2 decision over The Citadel's Derek Sickel before dropping a major decision to top-seeded and eighth-ranked Matt Stolpinski of Navy. French, seeded fourth in the tournament, rebounded in the consolation bracket with a 13-5 major decision over the Merchant Marines' Justin Diesel. He then knocked off second-seed Dustin McCabe of VMI in the third-place bout, registering a 9-7 decision.
Meanwhile, Stegeman, seeded third, also opened the tournament with a major decision, defeating Jake Kirk-Elkin of Norwich by a 10-0 margin. After falling to Army's Nathan Thobaben, Stegeman registered a fall over VMI's Leon Barrow in a time of 3:50, while picking up a 5-1 decision over Aaron Brown of The Citadel in the third-place match.
Also finishing in the top four for the Falcons were seniors Chris Szabolcs (Westlake, Ohio) and Jacob Devlin (Livingston, N.J.). Szabolcs, unseeded at 149 pounds, dropped a major decision against second-seed Casey Thorne of Army in the opening round before rattling off a pair of falls in the consolation bracket. After pinning the Coast Guard's James Radar in a time of 2:23 and fourth-seeded Derek Royster of The Citadel in 3:15, Szabolcs boosted his team-leading fall total to seven pins on the season. However, Szabolcs could not pull out the win in the third-place contest, dropping a 7-3 decision to third-seed Dan Twito of the Merchant Marines.
Devlin, the fourth-seed at 184 pounds, also finished fourth in the tournament, opening with a 9-0 major decision over VMI's Curtis Moore. After dropping a 4-1 decision to Army's Scott Ferguson, the top-seed. Devlin then picked up a 9-5 decision over Troy McGuinness of the Merchant Marines before giving up a 6-3 decision to third-seed Casey Caldwell of Navy.
The Falcons return to action next weekend, Feb. 10, when they head to Northern Colorado for a Western Wrestling Conference dual meet.