Air Force Finishes Second at All-Academy Championships
Feb. 6, 2010
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Led by a pair of individual champions, the Air Force wrestling team placed second at the 16th-annual All-Academy Championships Saturday, hosted by Navy. The Falcons finished with 74.5 points to place behind Navy, which notched 123.5 points to claim its sixth team title in the last seven years.
The Citadel came in third in the team standings with 70 points, followed by the Merchant Marine Academy (51), VMI (47.5), Coast Guard Academy (10) and Norwich (0.5). Army did not compete in this year's event, due to travel issues caused by inclement weather on the East Coast.
Freshman Cole VonOhlen (Jackson, Minn.), ranked 16th in the nation at 141 pounds, earned an All-Academy title in his first appearance at the event, recording falls in all three of his matches. VonOhlen, the top seed in the tournament, opened the day by pining Norwich's Nick Monaco in a time of 1:20, followed by a fall over fourth-seed David Yost of VMI in a time of 1:42.
In the title match between VonOhlen and second-seed Matt Pagan of Navy, VonOhlen held the lead as the bout neared its end, then pinned Pagan with just one second remaining on the clock. VonOhlen now has a team-best 12 falls on the year, and improves his record to 26-5 overall.
Also winning a title for the Falcons was junior Derek Gillespie (Chesapeake, Va.) at 133 pounds. Granted a bye in the opening round, Gillespie, who entered as the second seed, won a 14-4 major decision over third-seed Jordan Dix from The Citadel. In the championship bout, Gillespie faced off against Navy's Pat McCaffrey, earning a 6-3 decision over the top-seeded wrestler.
Air Force finished with seven other placewinners, including a pair of runner-up finishers. Senior Samuel Sheppard (Ramstein AB, Germany) captured second place at 125 pounds after entering as an unseeded wrestler. He began the day with a 9-5 decision over third-seed Richard Alarcon of The Citadel before scoring an 8-0 major decision over second-seed Jordan Alfaro of the Merchant Marine Academy. In the championship contest, Sheppard faced top-seeded Aaron Kalil of Navy, but came up short in an 11-8 decision.
At 184 pounds, senior James Ciccone (Mentor, Ohio) also turned in a second-place showing. The second-seeded wrestler had an opening round bye before facing MMA's Erik Schott, seeded third. Ciccone pinned Schott in a time of 1:16 to earn a spot in the title match, but he fell to top-seed Andrew Buck of Navy in the contest.
Also for the Falcons, senior Tyler French (Malta, Mont.) and junior Neil Delaney (Grand Rapids, Mich.) earned third-place finishes at 174 and 197 pounds, respectively. Meanwhile, freshman Gabe Martinez (149, Colorado Springs, Colo.), senior Justin Shadrix (165, Bremen, Ga.) and senior Stephen Larson (HWT, Lakeville, Minn.) each added fourth-place showings at their respective weight classes.
The Falcons return to dual action next weekend, Feb. 12, when they travel to Greeley, Colo., to take on Western Wrestling Conference opponent Northern Colorado. Air Force will also host Cal State Fullerton on Feb. 14 at 2:00 p.m.