Air Force Drops Home Finale to Northern Colorado
Feb. 12, 2009
USAFA, Colo. - In its final home meet of the season, the Air Force wrestling team was unable to get past conference rival Northern Colorado, falling, 29-12, Thursday evening in Clune Arena. With the loss, the Falcons drop to 4-10 on the season and 1-3 in the Western Wrestling Conference, while the Bears improve to 5-10-1, 3-2 in the WWC.
With the dual starting at 149 pounds, Northern Colorado got out to a quick 11-0 lead, posting a technical fall and a fall in the first two weight classes. Air Force switched up the lineup in the next two weight classes with Justin Shadrix (Jr., Bremen, Ga.), who has wrestled at 174 and 184 pounds this season, taking the mat at 165 pounds, while the normal starter in the 165-pound weight class, senior captain Stephen Crozier (Monona, Iowa), competed at 174 pounds for the first time in nearly two years.
The switch proved to work out nicely, as Shadrix had a strong performance to earn a 15-4 major decision over Daniel Prater. Shadrix scored a pair of takedowns, a pair of reversals and three near falls as he remained undefeated in dual action this season at 5-0.
Meanwhile, Crozier, a returning NCAA qualifier wrestling in the last home meet of his career, controlled his match, rolling to a 15-0 technical fall over Brandon Kammerzell. After scoring his first takedown near the end of the opening period, Crozier never looked back, scoring five points in each period before the bout was ended with 41 seconds remaining in regulation.
The victories by Shadrix and Crozier brought Air Force within two points of Northern Colorado in the team scoring. Unfortunately, the Falcons were unable to get victories in their next two bouts, dropping a pair of decisions at 184 and 197 pounds. The heavyweight match-up proved to be a close one, as Air Force's Stephen Larson (Jr., Lakeville, Minn.) and UNC's Justin Tuell battled to a 1-1 tie at the end of regulation. While neither wrestler was able to score a takedown in the first seven minutes of action, Larson went on the offensive in overtime, registering the winning takedown 27 seconds into the sudden victory period.
Following Larson's overtime win, the Falcons, trailing by five, still had a chance to pull off the team victory, but were unable to score another individual win, as Northern Colorado swept the final three weight classes to capture the contest with a 29-12 margin.
The Falcons wrap up their dual slate next week, Feb. 19-20, with a pair of conference meets, visiting Wyoming on Thursday before heading to Utah Valley on Friday evening.
Northern Colorado 29, Air Force 12