Dec. 1, 2012
HAYS, Kan. -
The Air Force wrestling team finished with eight placewinners, including four individual champions, to wrap up competition at the FHSU-Bob Smith Open on Saturday.
Earning first-place finishes for the Falcons were junior Josh Kreimier (Fort Collins, Colo.) and freshmen Mitch Brown (Payson, Utah), Tyler Mergen (Monticello, Minn.) and Konner Witt (Oak Harbor, Ohio).
Kreimier, ranked 13th in the nation at 157 pounds by Intermat, saw his first action of the year after missing the first month of competition due to injury. He was dominant in his return to the mat, rolling to a 6-0 record which included three falls and three technical falls. Kreimier ended his run with a fall in the championship bout, pinning Fort Hays State's Derek Koehn in a time of 6:35.
At 125 pounds, Brown posted a 5-0 record on Saturday to earn the title, registering a pair of major decisions and three decisions. Brown, who won the first individual championship of his career, capped off the day with a 7-6 decision over Fort Hays State's Garrett Jones.
Mergen, wrestling at 165 pounds, earned his fourth top-three finish in as many tournaments this season, along with his second individual title of the year. Mergen also posted a 6-0 record on Saturday, winning several close contests, including a 3-1 decision over Oklahoma City's Zach Skates in the final, as he improved to 20-2 overall on the season.
At 184 pounds, Witt captured his third individual title in as many tries this year, posting a 4-0 record on Saturday. After winning by fall in his first match, Witt shut out his next two opponents, 6-0 and 7-0. However, Witt's final match of the day was a challenge, as he edged teammate Greg Isley (Jr., Toledo, Ohio) in a 3-2 decision. With his four wins on Saturday, Witt remains undefeated on the year with a 12-0 record.
Earning runner-up finishes on Saturday for the Falcons were Isley and classmate Greg Rinker (Northampton, Pa.). Isley, finishing as a placewinner for the first time this season, scored four wins by decision en route to the title match versus Witt. Meanwhile, Rinker also won his first four matches of the day at 133 pounds, including a 54-second fall in his first match, before dropping the championship bout to Central Oklahoma's Casy Rowell.
Senior heavyweight Jared Erickson (Newton, Utah) placed third in his weight class, registering a 7-1 mark on Saturday. Erickson fell in his second match of the afternoon to drop into the consolation bracket, but he responded with six straight victories, including two falls and a technical fall. He closed out the day with a 7-1 decision in the consolation finals to capture third place.
Also placing for Air Force at the Bob Smith Open was freshman Zach Stepan, who placed fourth at 141 pounds. Stepan posted a 3-2 record on Saturday, including a fall in his first match of the day.