Nov. 17, 2012
KEARNEY, Neb. - Led by individual titles from Cole VonOhlen (Sr., Jackson, Minn.) and Konner Witt (Fr., Oak Harbor, Ohio), the Air Force wrestling team finished with 14 placewinners at the UNK Holiday Inn Open on Saturday.
VonOhlen, wrestling at 149 pounds, captured his second-straight individual title this season after posting a 4-0 record on Saturday. VonOhlen began the day with a fall in a time of 0:56, while earning a technical fall and a decision in his next two matches. He won the championship with his second fall of the day, pinning Augustana's Nate Herda. With his two pins on Saturday, VonOhlen tied the Falcons' school record for career falls (42).
Witt also remained undefeated on the year, capturing the individual title at 184 pounds. He recorded four wins in his bracket, scoring three decisions and a major decision. Witt ended the day with a 7-5 decision over Wyoming's Shane Woods to bring his season record to 8-0.
Two other Falcons placed second in their respective weight classes, with senior Jared Erickson (Newton, Utah) finishing as the heavyweight runner-up, while freshman Tyler Mergen (Monticello, Minn.) placed second at 165 pounds in the Amateur Division.
Erickson compiled a 3-1 record on Saturday, winning each of his first three matches by decision before dropping a 6 -0 decision to Wyoming's Tanner Harms. Meanwhile, Mergen also posted a 3-1 mark in his bracket, winning a technical fall and a pair of decisions before coming up short in a 7-3 loss in the title bout.
Placing third at 125 pounds in the Elite Division was freshman Josh Martinez (Colorado Springs, Colo.). Martinez won his first match by decision before dropping a narrow 6-5 decision to Nebraska's Tim Lambert. He rebounded in the consolation bracket with a pair of falls, pinning Wyoming's Tyler Cox in the third-place match.
At 157 pounds, Gabe Martinez (Falcon, Colo.) also placed third with a 3-1 record. After pinning his first opponent in a time of 1:12, Martinez dropped into the consolation bracket with a 3-1 loss to Wyoming's Andy McCulley. He then scored a major decision before pinning another Wyoming opponent, Dakota Friesth, to claim third place.
Also finishing third on Saturday was junior Devin Hightower (Colorado Springs, Colo.), wrestling at 184 pounds. He began the day by winning a pair of one-point decisions before a 5-3 loss sent him into the consolation bracket. He scored another decision to move into the third-place contest where he won by medical forfeit.
Other placewinners for the Falcons on Saturday included fourth-place finishers Carter McElhany (So., Colorado Springs, Colo.), Jesse Stafford (So., Loomis, Calif.) and Bentley Alsup (So., Missoula, Mont.) at 141, 165 and heavyweight, respectively; senior Josh Mohr (Pewaukee, Wis.), who finished fifth at 197 pounds; and Greg Rinker (Jr., Northampton, Pa.), who took sixth place at 133 pounds. In addition, Willie Baker (Fr., Jackson, Minn.) and Marcus Malecek (Fr., Hammond, Wis.) placed fourth in the Amateur Division at 165 pounds and heavyweight, respectively.
The Falcons are back in action Nov. 30-Dec. 1 at the annual Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, as well as the FHSU-Bob Smith Open on Dec. 1.