Black Prevails Over Blue, 22-13, in Black & Blue Match
Sophomore Tyler Mergen

Oct. 25, 2013

USAFA, Colo. - The Air Force wrestling team concluded its 2013-14 wrestle-offs Friday evening, hosting the Black & Blue Intrasquad Match in Clune Arena. With wins in six of 10 bouts, the Black team picked up a 22-13 decision over the Blue team.

The Black team got out to a fast start with a win at 125 pounds by sophomore Josh Martinez (Colorado Springs, Colo.), ranked 11th in the preseason by InterMat. Martinez, a returning NCAA qualifier and 2013 WWC Freshman of the Year, earned a takedown over the Blue team's Kyle Morse (Jr., Barre, Vt.) 12 seconds into the match before scoring the fall at 46 seconds.

The closest bout of the evening came at 133 pounds, as Greg Rinker (Sr., Northampton, Pa.), a former starter at 125 pounds, faced off against former 141-pound starter Carter McElhany (Jr., Colorado Springs, Colo.). Rinker was able to score a takedown in the first minute of the match, riding out McElhany for the remainder of the period. Meanwhile, McElhany tied the match with his own takedown late in the second period.

Rinker regained the advantage after being granted an escape to begin the final period, while a second stall warning against Rinker tied the match at 3-3. However, neither wrestler was able to score again, with Rinker taking a 4-3 decision for the Black team with his riding time advantage accumulated in the first period.

The 141-pound match pitted junior Cody Hancock (Wrightwood, Calif.) against freshman David Walker (St Marys, Iowa). After a scoreless opening period, Hancock got on the board first with a second-period escape. However, Walker responded with a takedown and added two near fall points to take a 4-1 advantage. After choosing a neutral position to start the final period, Walker scored the lone points of the third period, a takedown with less than 30 seconds remaining on the clock. With nearly two minutes of riding time, Walker scored the first victory of the night for the Blue team, a 7-1 decision.



A pair of newcomers--Jerry McGinty (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Natrelle Demison (Bakersfield, Calif.)--faced off in the 149-pound bout as the Falcons look to fill the spot vacated by four-time NCAA qualifier Cole VonOhlen. Wrestling for the Blue team, Demison scored a pair of takedowns in the first period to gain a 4-1 advantage and was able to score another takedown in the second period to increase his lead. Demison added an escape early in the final period and racked up 1:52 in riding time en route to an 8-1 decision.

With the Blue team narrowing the gap in the team scoring, the Black team looked to captain Josh Kreimier (Sr., Fort Collins, Colo.) for a win at 157 pounds. Ranked 16th in the nation, the two-time NCAA qualifier came through, earning a 2-0 advantage after one period and a 6-0 lead entering the final two minutes. Kreimier pushed the margin to 9-0 before his opponent, freshman Connor Hedash (Slatington, Pa.), scored an escape. However, Kreimier scored another takedown and more than two and a half minutes of riding time to account for his 12-1 major decision.

The 165-pound bout saw a dominant performance for the Blue team's Tyler Mergen (So., Monticello, Minn.). After earning a 6-2 lead over Jeremy Delzer (Jr., Altus, Okla.) in the opening period, he increased the margin to 12-3 after two periods. Scoring a total of eight takedowns in the match, Mergen narrowly missed a technical fall, earning a 19-5 major decision with more than four and a half minutes of riding time.

Sophomores Konner Witt (Oak Harbor, Ohio) and Scott Reilly (Stafford, Va.) met at 174 pounds. Witt registered the lone takedown of the match in the first period and gained a 3-0 advantage with a second stall warning against Reilly. In the second period, Reilly scored an escape but was called for stalling a third time, giving Witt a 4-1 advantage. With an early third-period escape and 1:19 in riding time, Witt captured the 7-1 win to give the Black team a 16-10 lead in the team scoring.

At 184 pounds, sophomore Jared Koch (Lake in the Hills, Ill.) challenged captain Devin Hightower (Colorado Springs, Colo.), the Falcons' returning starter. The match was scoreless until Hightower opened the second period with an escape. He added a takedown with 1:16 on the clock and maintained the advantage through the remainder of the period. In the third period, the two wrestlers remained in neutral until Hightower's takedown with just over 30 seconds left in the bout. Another point for riding time advantage gave Hightower a 6-0 decision as the Blue team once again cut its team deficit to three.

The 197-pound bout between Black team fill-in Jack Carda (Jr., Kimball, S.D.) and the Blue team's Parker Hines (Fr., Ellsworth, Wis.) remained close through the first two periods, with the score tied at 2-2 going into the final two minutes. Carda took the lead with a third-period escape and added a takedown with 20 seconds remaining. While Hines scored an escape in the final 10 seconds, Carda was able to secure the 6-3 victory with just over a minute in riding time.

The Black team led 19-13 heading into the final match of the evening, where sophomore Marcus Malecek (Hammond, Wis.) faced off against senior Brook Gosch (Sr., Orwigsburg, Pa.). In a defensive battle between the two heavyweights, Malecek came away with a 2-0 win for the Black team, scoring a pair of escapes.

The Falcons' season officially begins next Saturday, Nov. 2, when the team heads to Laramie, Wyo., for the annual Cowboy Open.

Black 22, Blue 13
125 - Josh Martinez (Black) fall Kyle Morse, 0:48
133 - Greg Rinker (Black) dec. Carter McElhany, 4-3
141 - David Walker (Blue) dec. Cody Hancock, 7-1
149 - Natrelle Demison (Blue) dec. Jerry McGinty, 8-1
157 - Josh Kreimier (Black) maj. dec. Connor Hedash, 12-1
165 - Tyler Mergen (Blue) maj. dec. Jeremy Delzer, 19-5
174 - Konner Witt (Black) dec. Scott Reilly, 6-1
184 - Devin Hightower (Blue) dec. Jared Koch, 6-0
197 - Jack Carda (Black) dec. Parker Hines, 6-3
HWT - Marcus Malecek (Black) dec. Brook Gosch, 2-0

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