Falcons Open Up Competition at NCAA Championships
March 20, 2008
St. Louis, Mo. - All four members of the Air Force wrestling team picked up victories on the opening day of competition at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, being held at the Scottrade Center. Senior Jacob Devlin (Livingston, N.J.) went 2-1 on the day, while Jake Kriegbaum (Sr., Abilene, Kan.), Stephen Crozier (Jr., Monona, Iowa) and Tyler French (So., Malta, Mont.) all went 1-1 on Thursday.
Devlin, wrestling at 184 pounds, opened with a seeded opponent, taking on 10th-seed Kirk Smith of Boise State. Devlin was unable to get past Smith, dropping an 11-3 major decision. In the consolation bracket, Devlin met up with Lehigh's Manuel Schubert, winning by a 3-2 decision.
In his next bout, Devlin faced Eastern Michigan's Charlie Pienaar in a rematch of a dual meeting earlier this season. While Pienaar registered a major decision over Devlin in their earlier match, this time Devlin was in control, getting the 5-1 decision to move on once again. Tomorrow morning, Devlin will meet Trevor Brandvold of Wisconsin.
Kriegbaum, a three-time qualifier at 141 pounds, opened the day against Maryland's Jon Kohler. Kriegbaum dominated throughout the opening period, scoring a takedown just 10 seconds into the match, while also scoring a pair of three-point near falls. With nearly five total minutes of riding time, Kriegbaum scored an 11-2 major decision to move on to a meeting with Hofstra's Charles Griffin.
Unfortunately, Kriegbaum could not get past Griffin, dropping a 6-1 decision to the second-seeded wrestler. It marked just the second loss for Kriegbaum in his last 16 bouts. Now the senior will face Kent State's Drew Lashaway tomorrow morning in the consolation bracket.
Crozier, wrestling at 165 pounds, took on UNC Greensboro's Byron Sigmon in his opening-round match. Sigmon took a 3-2 lead in the first period, but a pair of three-point near falls in the second period put Crozier on top, 8-3. That period proved to be the difference, as Crozier secured the 12-7 decision to move on to a match with second-seed Mark Perry of Iowa.
Crozier was also unable to get past the second seed, dropping an 11-2 major decision to Perry, the defending national champion at 165 pounds. Now Crozier moves into the consolation bracket with a match versus Pittsburgh's Ethan Headlee.
In his opening round bout, 174-pounder French faced a familiar foe, seventh-seed Matt Stolpinski of Navy. Stolpinski and French met at the All-Academy Championships in February, with Stolpinski handing French his only loss in the last 12 bouts. Unfortunately, French was once again unable defeat Stolpinski, dropping an 8-1 decision.
Moving into the consolation bracket, French went up against Wisconsin's Dan Clum. With the score tied at 2-2 after one period, French outscored Clum 5-4 in the second period and held on for the 7-6 victory. French moves on to the next round where he will face Oklahoma State's Brandon Mason.
Action resumes tomorrow with the quarterfinals and wrestle-backs beginning at 10:00 a.m. (CT). The quarterfinals and semifinals will be broadcast live Friday on ESPNU and ESPN360.com. Users accessing ESPN360.com from an on-campus ".edu" or ".mil" network domain in the United States receive free, seamless access to the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships. The service is also available via more than 25 Internet service providers.