Dec. 1, 2012
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Finishing with three placewinners, the Air Force wrestling team finished 11th in the team standings at the 31st-annual Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, scoring 53.5 points. Senior Cole VonOhlen (Jackson, Minn.) finished as a runner-up, freshman Josh Martinez (Colorado Springs, Colo.) placed third and senior Gabe Martinez (Falcon, Colo.) took sixth place.
The Falcons' team finish was its best since 2001, when Air Force took eighth place in the team standings. In addition, the Falcons matched their highest number of top-eight finishers at the CKLV Invitational, a mark also set in 2001, when all three placewinners went on to achieve All-America status at the end of the season.
VonOhlen, ranked 10th in the nation and seeded fourth in the tournament, posted a 1-1 record on Saturday to finish as the CKLV Invitational runner-up at 149 pounds for the second-straight season. VonOhlen began his day against eighth-seed Jake Sueflohn of Nebraska, who earned his semifinal spot by upsetting the top seed on Friday evening. In a closely contested match, VonOhlen earned an 11-9 decision over Sueflohn to advance to the finals versus Boise State's Jason Chamberlain, seeded second. Unfortunately, VonOhlen was unable to get past the 2010 CKLV champion, dropping a 7-3 decision to Chamberlain.
Josh Martinez, seeded sixth at 125 pounds, posted a 2-1 record on Saturday to earn a third-place finish. While Martinez dropped a major decision to second-seeded Nahshon Garrett in the semifinals, he rebounded in the consolation bracket with an 8-1 win over David Terao of American. He then matched up against Ohio State's Nikko Triggas, ranked 11th in the nation, in the third-place match. Martinez was able to escape the bout with a 4-3 victory to upset the fourth-seeded wrestler.
After putting together a spectacular performance on the opening day of competition, Gabe Martinez was unable to continue his momentum, dropping three matches to seeded wrestlers on Saturday. After losing his semifinal match to ninth-seed Jedd Moore of Virginia, Martinez went up against fourth-seed Bobby Barnhisel of Navy and fifth-seed David Bonin of Northern Iowa. While Martinez, unseeded in the tournament, defeated both Barnhisel and Bonin on Friday, he was unable to repeat the feat on Saturday, falling to sixth place in the 157-pound bracket.
The Falcons return to action on Friday, Dec. 7, when they travel to Jackson, Minn., for the "Battle of the Planes." Air Force will compete in duals versus Dakota Wesleyan, Northwestern College and Augustana (S.D.) at the event, which will be held at Jackson County Central High School.