San Diego, Calif. – Sophomore 141-pounder Alec Opsal cradled his opponent into a pin for a six-point boost, generating momentum that led the Falcons to a 24-12 victory over Big 12 foe Fresno State, in the unprecedented Battle on the Midway, hosted on the flight deck of the USS Midway.
The Falcons put the Bulldogs on their heels after winning the opening three matches of the dual. Freshman Tony DeCesare posted a 3-2 decision win in the 125 class, followed up with a decision win by Isaac Jimenez in the 133 class, who outscored his opponent, 6-5.
The highlight of the match was Opsal’s pin over Chris De Loza in the second period (3:50) of the 141 bout. Opsal battled back from an early deficit to cradle his opponent for near fall points and the eventual pin, propelling the Falcons to an early 12-0 lead. Opsal remains undefeated in dual action, 2-0.
Fresno State battled back into the match, posting two consecutive bonus point victories in the 149 and 157 classes. After the damage was done, the Bulldogs narrowed the deficit to three points.
Unwilling to allow a Fresno State rally, the Falcon veterans stepped up to quell the Bulldogs, rattling off four-straight victories in the upper weights. Alex Lopouchanski convincingly defeated Isaiah Hokit, 7-2, in the 165 class while senior 174-pounder Michael Billingsley rode his opponent out to finish on top, 4-1. Senior team captain Zen Ikehara notched a pair of takedowns with some hard riding time to win his match, 4-2. Junior 197-pounder Anthony McLaughlin, who picked up a win against an NCAA qualifier at Minnesota last week, posted his second straight dual win with a commanding 8-2 victory over Richie Brandt.
Fresno State refused to go quietly into the night, battling to a 4-2 decision victory in the heavyweight bout. The win was too little too late as the Falcons sealed the deal, 24-12, in their Big 12 opener.
Air Force returns to action for the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, Dec. 1-2.
AIR FORCE vs. FRESNO STATE, Nov. 22
125: Tony DeCesare (AF) def. Sean Williams (FS) – 3-2 | AF 3, FS 0
133: Isaac Jimenez (AF) def. Trevor Williams (FS) – 6-5 SV1 | AF 6, FS 0
141: Alec Opsal Fall Chris De Loza (FS) – 3:50 | AF 12, FS 0
149: Khristian Olivas (FS) TF Jacoby Ward (AF) – 18-3 | AF 12, FS 5
157: Greg Gaxiola (FS) MD Dane Robbins (AF) – 15-6 | AF 12, FS 9
165: Alex Lopouchanski def. Isaiah Hokit (FS) – 7-2 | AF 15, FS 9
174: Michael Billingsley (AF) def. Dominic Kincaid (FS) – 4-1 | AF 18, FS 9
184: Zen Ikehara (AF) def. Angel Solis (FS) – 4-2 | AF 21, FS 9
197: Anthony McLaughlin (AF) def. Richie Brandt (FS) 8-2 | AF 24, FS 9
285: AJ Nevills (FS) def. Matt Wagner (AF) 4-2 | AF 24, FS 12
FINAL: AIR FORCE 24, FRESNO STATE 12