Nov. 30, 2012
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - With three wrestlers still alive in the championship bracket, the Air Force wrestling team sits in seventh place after one day of action at the 31st-annual Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitiational.
Freshman Josh Martinez (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and seniors Cole VonOhlen (Jackson, Minn.) and Gabe Martinez (Falcon, Colo.) all went undefeated on Friday to move into Saturday's semi-finals in their respective weight classes.
Josh Martinez, seeded sixth at 125 pounds, had a bye in the opening round before recording a 7-2 decision over Nebraska's Skyler Wood. He then earned his spot in the semi-finals by pinning Utah Valley's Jade Rauser in a time of 5:44. In his next match, Martinez will face second-seed Nahshon Garrett of Cornell.
At 149 pounds, fourth-seed VonOhlen posted a 3-0 record on Friday to advance in the championship bracket. VonOhlen, the CKLV Invitational runner-up in 2011, earned first-period falls in each of his first two matches, pinning Zachery Tanenbaum of Brown and Damien Arredondo of Cal Poly. In the quarterfinals, VonOhlen, who now has an Air Force-record 44 career falls, matched up against fifth-seed Derek Valenti of Virginia, earning an 8-2 decision to advance. His next opponent will be Nebraska's Jake Sueflohn, who upset Oregon State's top-seeded Scott Sakaguchi in the quarterfinals.
Meanwhile, Gabe Martinez had an outstanding performance as an unseeded wrestler at 157 pounds. After earning a fall over Brown's Christopher Howard in the opening round, Martinez knocked off fourth-seeded Bobby Barnhisel with a 6-4 decision. He then earned another upset victory in the quarterfinals, scoring a 3-1 decision over the fifth seed, David Bonin of Northern Iowa. In his next bout, Martinez will face Virginia's Jedd Moore, who eliminated top-seeded James Green of Nebraska.
Also competing for Air Force on Friday were Dylan Hyder (So., Yelm, Wash.) at 133 pounds, Carter McElhany (So., Colorado Springs, Colo.) at 141 pounds, Jesse Stafford (So., Loomis, Calif.) at 165 pounds, Devin Hightower (Jr., Colorado Springs, Colo.) at 184 pounds, Josh Mohr (Sr., Pewaukee, Wis.) at 197 pounds and Bentley Alsup (So., Missoula, Mont.) at 285 pounds. Stafford posted a 2-2 record, while Hyder, Hightower and Alsup each recorded a victory.
The semi-finals for the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational are slated to begin tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. (PT).