Falcon Wrestlers Fall To Cal State Fullerton, 27-12

    USAFA, Colo. - Winning four individual decisions, the Air Force wrestling team could not get past Cal State Fullerton, dropping a 27-12 dual meet decision Friday evening in Cadet West Gymnasium. With the loss, the Falcons fall to 2-5 on the season, while the Titans improve to 5-11 on the year.

    Cal State Fullerton took a 6-0 lead with an Air Force forfeit at 125 pounds. Then at 133 pounds, Air Force senior co-captain Brandon Strong (Albuquerque, N.M.) faced the Titans' T.J. Dillashaw. After a scoreless first period, Strong began the second period in the down position and scored an escape to go up 1-0. He then scored a takedown to increase his lead to 3-0 and held on to his advantage for the remainder of the period. Dillashaw was able to get his first point with an escape in the third period and scored a takedown of his own to tie the bout at 3-3. With 20 seconds remaining, Strong scored a reversal to go 5-3, but Dillashaw was awarded another point with a second warning against Strong. Although another escape by Dillashaw would have forced overtime, Strong was able to hold on for the 5-4 decision.

    With the Falcons trailing 6-3, Air Force sophomore Jake Kriegbaum (Abilene, Kan.) was up next at 141 pounds, facing off against Joaquin Carlos. Kriegbaum scored an early takedown to go up 2-0, but Carlos scored a reversal to tie the score at 2-2. Carlos retained his advantage, eventually getting the pin in a time of 2:29 to put the Titans up 12-3.

    Junior Chris Nissen (Denver, Colo.) represented the Falcons at 149 pounds, facing off against Morgan Atkinson. Atkinson notched a quick takedown, but Nissen was able to score an escape to bring the score to 2-1. Atkinson, getting a reversal in the second period, was able to record the pin over Nissen in a time of 3:37, giving the Titans an 18-3 lead in the match.

    The 157-pound bout featured Air Force junior Bridger Lord (Missoula, Mont.) against Bryan Tice. Tice scored the early takedown, but Lord answered with an escape to bring the score to 2-1. After scoring his own takedown, Lord went up 3-2. Tice went back on top with a reversal and added three back points to finish the period with a 7-3 lead. Lord, beginning the second period on bottom, scored an early escape for his next point. With another takedown, Lord was within a point at 7-6. Tice began the final period on bottom, but Tice was able to score the escape to go up 8-6. Awarded an extra point on a caution against Tice, Lord was again within a single point at 8-7 and was awarded an extra point for riding time to force an extra period. Lord then scored the winning takedown 30 seconds into the first overtime period, giving him the 10-8 decision.

    Air Force junior Zach Lord (Missoula, Mont.) was next up at 165 pounds, facing Risto Marttinen. Marttinen took a 2-0 lead with an early takedown, but Lord was able to score the escape. Beginning the second period with the advantage, Lord retained control for most of the period, but Marttinen was able to score a reversal to go up 4-1. Unable to score an escape in the final period, Lord dropped the 4-1 decision to Marttinen, giving Cal State Fullerton the 21-6 lead.

    At 174 pounds, Air Force freshman Stephen Crozier (Monona, Iowa) went up against Ian Murphy. Murphy scored a takedown prior to the end of the first period, but Crozier tied the score with a reversal. Crozier broke the tie with an escape early in the second period and then went up 5-2 with a takedown. Murphy started the final period in the down position and scored a reversal to bring the score to 5-4, but Crozier scored an escape to go back up 6-4. Another Murphy takedown tied the score at 6-6 and with a two-point near fall, Murphy was able to hold on for the 8-6 victory to put the Titans ahead 24-6.

    Senior Zane Hershey (Hugoton, Kan.) went up against Jesse Taylor in the 184-pound bout, with Taylor getting the early 2-0 lead. Taylor increased his advantage to 4-0 with a reversal in the second period before Hershey scored two points with an escape and a penalty point Another takedown by Taylor helped him take a 6-2 lead. Taylor added three back points with a near fall to start the final period to go up 9-2 and Hershey scored an escape and takedown to get within 9-5. Another Taylor reversal gave him an 11-5 advantage and the decision.

    The 197-pound bout featured Air Force senior Brenden McLean (Merlin, Ore.) against Chris Chambers. McLean scored a quick takedown before releasing Chambers for the escape. Chambers went on top early in the second period with a reversal, but allowed McLean to escape to tie the score once more. After a McLean escape to start the final period, Chambers tied the score once more with a takedown and McLean was able to score the escape to force the first overtime period, where neither was able to score. Choosing down in the second overtime period, McLean scored an escape to go up 6-5, where he held on for the decision at the end of the second tiebreaker period.

    With the match already decided, freshman Frank McGrath (Hammonton, N.J.) went up against fellow rookie Matt Methling in the heavyweight bout. After a scoreless first period, McGrath took a 1-0 lead with an escape to open the second period. Neither wrestler was able to score again until McGrath recorded a third-period takedown to go up 3-0. Methling scored for his only point, but it was not enough as McGrath came away with the 3-1 decision, to bring the final team tally to 25-12 in the Titans' favor.

    The Falcons are back in action next weekend, Feb. 17, when they travel to Laramie, Wyo., to face Wyoming in dual action.

    Cal State Fullerton 25, Air Force 12

    125 - Curtis Shurkamp (CSF) wins by forfeit
    133 - Brandon Strong (AF) dec. T.J. Dillashaw, 5-4
    141 - Joaquin Carlos (CSF) fall Jake Kriegbaum, 2:29
    149 - Morgan Atkinson (CSF) fall Chris Nissen, 3:37
    157 - Bridger Lord (AF) dec. Bryan Tice, 10-8 (SV)
    165 - Risto Marttinen (CSF) dec. Zach Lord, 4-1
    174 - Ian Murphy (CSF) dec. Stephen Crozier, 8-6
    184 - Jesse Taylor (CSF) dec. Zane Hershey, 11-5
    197 - Brenden McLean (AF) dec. Chris Chambers, 6-5 (TB)
    HWT - Frank McGrath (AF) dec. Matt Methling, 3-1


    Inside Wrestling