AIR FORCE vs. #25 UTAH VALLEY
Saturday, Feb. 10, 7 p.m.
Clune Arena, USAFA, CO
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THIS WEEKEND: Air Force continues Big 12 Conference action at home as the Falcons host the 25th-ranked Wolverines of Utah Valley, Saturday, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m.
Nine Falcon senior wrestlers will be honored for Senior Night at the event. Team captain Zen Ikehara, along with teammates Michael Billingsley, Drew Romero, Lyle Plummer, Robert Walker, Noah Irons, John Hagey, Sam Kreimier and Dane Robbins, are all four-year wrestler at the Academy.
Air Force (6-4, 1-3 Big 12)
125: Tony DeCesare, Fr., (13-11, 3-5 duals)
133: Isaac Jimenez, Jr., (8-5, 1-2 duals)
141: Alec Opsal (11-4, 5-0 duals)
149: Dane Robbins, Sr., (14-9, 7-3 duals)
157: Alex Mossing, Jr., (11-6, 2-2 duals)
165: Alex Lopouchanski, Jr., (8-6, 4-3 duals)
174: Michael Billingsley, Sr., (12-9, 4-3 duals)
184: Zen Ikehara, Sr., (11-6, 4-3 duals)
197: Anthony McLaughlin, Jr., (11-7, 5-2 duals)
285: Matt Wagner, So., (10-11, 3-5 duals)
#25 Utah Valley (8-3, 4-1 Big 12)
125: #6 Taylor LaMont, RFr. (22-2, 9-0 duals) OR Josh Jensen, Jr. (9-8, 1-1)
133: Durbin Lloren, RFr. (13-13, 4-7) OR Jarod Maynes, RSr. (11-9, 2-3)
141: Matt Findlay, RFr. (8-5, 4-1) OR Chase Call, RSo. (8-7, 0-1)
149: Matthew Ontiveros, RJr. (9-11, 2-5) OR Landon Knutzen, RFr. (4-6, 0-0)
157: Raider Lofthouse, RJr. (1-10, 1-10)
165: #16 Demetrius Romero, RSo. (23-4, 11-0)
174: #17 Kimball Bastian, RSo. (12-7, 5-2)
184: Gary Jantzer, RFr. (18-10, 7-3) OR Will Sumner, RJr. (15-7, 1-0)
197: Tanner Orndorff, RSo. (17-10, 7-4)
285: #26 Dustin Dennison, RSr. (25-7, 7-2) OR Benjamin Andrew, RFr. (11-7, 2-0)
LAST TIME THEY MET: Last season, Utah Valley edged by Air Force in the Big 12 dual slate opener, 18-15, in Orem, Utah. The Falcons and Wolverines will be meeting for the 14th time. Utah Valley took the lead of the series last season, 7-6.
LAST WEEKEND: Air Force battled West Virginia to a hard fought tie that led to a third-criteria loss, 19-18, in Big 12 Conference action, Friday evening in Clune Arena. The Falcons were outscored by a single match-point in the third criteria tie-breaker. On Sunday, Alec Opsal and Anthony McLaughlin notched a win apiece in the 33-7 loss to North Dakota State in conference action.
IN THE RANKINGS: Three Falcons were ranked in the top-33 of their respective weight classes in the second coaches’ poll of the season, released Feb. 8. McLaughlin checked in at No. 31 in the 197 division, DeCesare is ranked at No. 32 in the 125 division, while Alex Mossing checked in at No. 33 in the 157 division.
A QUICK LOOK AT AIR FORCE: The Falcons are led by Dane Robbins (149) with seven wins on the dual slate. Teammates Opsal (141) and McLaughlin (197) have the second most dual wins with five apiece. Opsal Remains undefeated with five wins and three Big 12 wins to his credit. McLaughlin is 11-2 on the dual slate dating back to the beginning of last season; he has a 17-4 (.806) career dual record. Opsal (141) leads the team with 16 bonus points in dual action by way of two falls and a major decision while Tony DeCesare (125) is tied for second with Matt Wagner (285) with 10 bonus points in eight dual matches each.
Junior 133-pounder Isaac Jimenez recorded the first major upset of the season, upending No. 2 Scott Parker (Lehigh) in the first round of the Southern Scuffle with an 8-6 SV1 win; he finished eighth in the tournament. In the same round of the Scuffle, in his debut match at 149, Robbins upended No. 13 Ronnie Perry (Lock Haven), 4-3. DeCesare showed his skill at the Scuffle by posting a 5-2 record for a fifth-place finish. He is the first Air Force freshman to place at the Scuffle since Josh Martinez in 2012.
Overall, sophomore 141-pounder Garrett O’Shea leads the Falcons with 15 wins, while freshman teammate, Jimmy Weaver, is second on the team with 14 wins. Freshman classmate Lenny Petersen leads the team in bonus points with 36 after recording four falls at the UNK-Holiday Inn Open. Petersen leads the squad with six falls. Air Force has seen three tournament champions this season. Opsal claimed the title at the Cowboy Open (elite), Noah Irons was champion at the UNC Open, and most recently, McLaughlin posted his first-place finish at the All-Academy Championships.