Falcons Conclude Opening Day at NCAA Championships
March 21, 2013
DES MOINES, Iowa - Four Air Force wrestlers wrapped up the opening day of competition at the 2013 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, being held at Wells Fargo Arena. Senior captain Cole VonOhlen (Jackson, Minn.) won both of his matches on Thursday to move into the quarterfinals, while Josh Kreimier (Jr., Fort Collins, Colo.) and Josh Martinez (Fr., Colorado Springs, Colo.) posted 1-1 records and will continue competition in the consolation bracket.
Also competing for the Falcons on day one was sophomore Dylan Hyder (Yelm, Wash.), who dropped a pair of close bouts to seeded wrestlers.
"We wrestled hard today and will take many lessons from today's matches," said Air Force head coach Joel Sharratt. "Cole has been a rock for us throughout the season and that stayed true in his matches today. His injuries have been mitigated with style adjustments and great medical support."
VonOhlen, seeded fourth at 149 pounds, got out to a strong start, earning a 10-0 major decision over Old Dominion's Alexander Richardson in his first match of the day. He added a close 7-6 victory over Dan Osterman of Michigan State in the second round to move into the quarterfinals for the second-straight year. VonOhlen's quarterfinal opponent is fifth-seeded Steve Santos of Columbia, in a rematch of the 2012 second-round.
Kreimier also picked up a victory in his first match of the day, battling for a 5-4 win over Matt Lester of Oklahoma to advance to the second round at 157 pounds. However, Kreimier was unable to get past Iowa's second-seeded Derek St. John, coming up short in a 9-5 loss. Kreimier's first bout in the consolation bracket will pit him versus Nestor Taffur of Boston University.
"Kreimier was in a knockdown, drag-out battle with Iowa's number two seed and just needed to move his feet a little more to close that door," said Sharratt. "He is wrestling very well right now and will take the bouts tomorrow one match, one point at a time."
Martinez, seeded 10th at 125 pounds, dropped his opening round match, giving up a 9-2 decision to returning All-American Steve Bonanno of Hofstra. He rebounded with a dominant performance in the wrestlebacks, scoring a 13-0 major decision over American's David Terao. Next, Martinez will face a familiar foe in ninth-seed Trent Sprenkle of North Dakota State, having split a pair of matches against the conference rival.
"Martinez got off to a slow start this morning, but roared back tonight," stated Sharratt. "His performance tonight in front of 18,000 fans was indicative of his ability. He has a taste of NCAA victory and he likes it! We will get him ready for the next opponent, one at a time."
Meanwhile, Hyder had a pair of tough matches in the 133-pound bracket, taking on fifth-seed Chris Dardanes of Minnesota in his first bout. After battling in a close 6-3 loss, Hyder went up another seeded opponent in the consolation bracket, facing 12th-seed Jordan Conaway of Penn State. Hyder was able to come back late in the third period to force overtime against Conaway, but dropped a 6-4 decision in the second sudden victory period.
Action continues at the 2013 NCAA Championships tomorrow morning, with the first session slated to begin at 10:00 (CT).