U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo. – Air Force picked up a major decision and two decision victories in the 23-10 loss to No. 25 North Dakota State, Friday night, in Clune Arena, USAFA. The Falcons, who are now 5-6 with an 0-4 mark in the Big 12, will host Northern Colorado in their final dual of the season, next week.
The Bison opened up strong in Clune Arena, registering two major decisions in the opening bouts. Josh Rodriguez, who is ranked fourth in the nation, posted a 14-3 major decision over Drew Romero, while No. 25 Cam Sykora followed suit with a 15-2 major decision over Dylan Hyder.
The Falcons’ 141-pound sophomore, John Twomey, changed the pace of battle with an 11-0 major decision over Taylor Nein. The South Huntington, New York, native registered a take down and four near fall points in the first period alone. With two more reversals and a riding time point added, Twomey sealed the deal with bonus points in the Falcons’ first win of the night.
With the team score at 8-4, the Bison struck back, rattling off three decision wins in the subsequent weight classes. Kyle Gliva posted a 9-6 win over Jerry McGinty, followed by No. 8 Clay Ream’s 9-3 decision over Alex Mossing. In the 165 bout, freshman Tyler Wiederholt met with No. 20 Andrew Fogarty. Wiederholt added two points for a reversal but could not find scoring opportunities to fend off the nationally ranked Bison. Fogarty took the decision win, 6-2.
Following the three-match streak, junior 174-pounder, Michel Billingsley, registered the Falcons’ second win of the night over Dylan Urbach, narrowing the Bison lead, 17-10. Billingsley initiated the scoring with the first takedown. The Winnemucca, Nevada, native tacked on an escape point and was awarded a riding time point to hold of the Bison wrestler, 4-3, at the final whistle.
Zen Ikehara took the mat against Tyler McNutt in the 184 class. A hard fought battle only yielded one escape point in McNutt’s favor. Ikehara was unable to shake McNutt for an escape point of his own in the final period, dropping the match, 1-0, and putting the winning team score out of reach for Air Force.
Undeterred by the team score, Anthony McLaughlin took the mat against Cordell Eaton in the 197 class. McLaughlin, who was 4-0 in dual action entering the match, dictated the pace of battle throughout the bout, logging takedowns in each period. At the final whistle, McLaughlin registered a 9-5 decision over Eaton. McLaughlin remains perfect, 2-0, in Big 12 duals.
In the final bout of the night, senior team captain Parker Hines made his debut heavyweight appearance against Dan Stribal. Stribal set the pace with a takedown to the back for an early six-point lead. Undeterred, Hines rallied back, finding his rhythm and scoring takedowns at will. In the waning seconds of the third period, trailing by one, Hines rallied for the winning takedown but Stribal was able to hold off in a stalemate position from Hines’ single-leg. At the final whistle, the Bison led, 9-8, finalizing the team score at 23-10.
On Thursday, Feb. 16, eight Falcon seniors will take to the mats for the last time as Air Force wrestlers for Senior’s Night against Big 12 foe, Northern Colorado. Senior recognition is slated to start at 6:45 p.m., and the dual is scheduled to commence at 7:00 p.m. FloWrestling will be providing live stream coverage of the dual.
AIR FORCE (5-6, 0-4 BIG 12) vs. #25 NORTH DAKOTA STATE (13-3, 3-2 BIG 12) – Feb. 10
125: #4 Josh Rodriguez (NDSU) def. Drew Romero (AFA) – MD (14-3), NDSU 4-0
133: #25 Cam Sykora (NDSU) def. Dylan Hyder (AFA)–MD (15-2), NDSU 8-0
141: John Twomey (AFA) def. Taylor Nein (NDSU) –MD (11-0), NDSU 8-4
149: Kyle Gliva (NDSU) def. Jerry McGinty (AFA) –9-6, SDSU 11-4, NDSU 11-4
157: #8 Clay Ream (NDSU) def. Alex Mossing (AFA) –9-3, NDSU 14-4
165: #20 Andrew Fogarty (NDSU) def. Tyler Wiederholt (AFA) –6-2, NDSU 17-4
174: Michael Billingsley (AFA) def. Dylan Urbach (NDSU) –4-3, NDSU 17-7
184: Tyler McNutt (NDSU) def. Zen Ikehara (AFA) –1-0, NDSU 20-7
197: Anthony McLaughlin (AFA) def. Cordell Eaton (NDSU) –9-5, NDSU 20-10
285: Dan Stibral (NDSU) def. Parker Hines (AFA) – 9-8, NDSU 23-10
FINAL: NORTH DAKOTA STATE 20, AIR FORCE 10