Falcons Finish Sixth At NCAA West Regional
March 3, 2007
Cedar Falls, Iowa - With eight fourth-place finishers, the Air Force wrestling team scored 32.5 points to take sixth place at the NCAA West Regional, hosted by Northern Iowa, on Saturday. The host Panthers secured their 22nd-straight regional title with 96 points, while Northern Colorado and Wyoming rounded out the top three.
Finishing fourth at 125 pounds was junior Zach Valdez (Parker, Colo.), who dropped his first match to Wyoming's Nick Ramirez before posting a 10-5 decision over Northern Iowa's Grant Ruge in the wrestlebacks. Valdez then came up short against UNC's Tony Mustari, dropping a 1-0 decision in the third-place match.
At 141 pounds, junior Jake Kriegbaum (Abilene, Kan.) dropped a 5-2 decision to top-seeded Kenny Hashimoto to begin the day, but came back with a 9-0 major decision over South Dakota State's Derek Pirner. In the third-place match, Kriegbaum battled with Wyoming's Garrett Desmond, but came up short, losing a 5-3 sudden victory decision.
Senior Bridger Lord (Missoula, Mont.), wrestling at 149 pounds, also finished fourth, opening the day by pinning SDSU's Brad Gregory in a time of 4:08. He then dropped a 4-2 decision to UNI's Ryan Osgood to move into the wrestlebacks, where he registered a 14-2 major decision over Northern Colorado's Richard Lohr. Lord's day ended in the third-place match where he dropped a 6-4 decision to North Dakota State's Ryan Adams.
Wrestling at 157 pounds for the Falcons was senior Zach Lord (Missoula, Mont.), who dropped his first round matchup to Northern Colorado's Luke Salazar. Lord responded in the wrestlebacks with a 6-1 decision over Wyoming's Dane Fuhrman, followed by a 17-3 major decision over NDSU's Adam Aho. However, Lord met up with Salazar again in the third-place match, dropping the 13-8 decision to finish fourth.
At 174 pounds, sophomore Stephen Crozier (Monona, Iowa) fell to Eastern Illinois' Kenny Robertson in the first round, but came back with a 9-2 decision over NDSU's Matt Hermann. However, a 9-3 loss to SDSU's Nate Althoff in the third-place bout gave Crozier the fourth-place finish.
Junior Jacob Devlin (Livingston, N.J.), recorded an upset in the first round at 184 pounds, pinning third-seeded Matt Wetterling of South Dakota State in a time of 1:39. Facing second-seeded Shawn Vincent of Northern Colorado in the next round, Devlin was unable to pull off the win, dropping the 3-2 decision. Devlin next picked up a 2-0 decision over Wyoming's Dan Barrone before losing a 10-3 decision to UNI's Danny Dunning in the third place match.
Sophomore Jordan Tribble (Midwest City, Okla.) dropped a 4-1 decision to second-seeded Jacob Bryce of North Dakota State at 197 pounds, but came back with a 7-1 win over SDSU's Travis Gottschalk. Tribble met Bryce again in the third-place match, this time losing the 10-2 major decision.
Finally, heavyweight Anthony Stegeman (Cincinnati, Ohio) opened the day with a 14-5 major decision over Eastern Illinois' Joe Trinka, but dropped an 8-0 major decision to SDSU's Jason Stripling in the next round. Stegeman recovered with a 3-1 decision against Jason Still of Wyoming, before coming up short in the third-place match, losing a 3-2 decision to UNI's Tyler Rhodes.
Qualifying wrestlers from the NCAA West Regional will head to Auburn Hills, Mich., for the NCAA Championships, March 15-17.