Air Force Set to Host NCAA West Regional
March 2, 2011
The Air Force wrestling team hosts the 2011 NCAA West Regional this weekend, March 6, in Clune Arena. The action is slated to begin at 10:00 a.m., while finals are scheduled to start at 5:00 p.m.
Ticket prices for the event are $15 for adults and $5 for youth/students.
About the NCAA West Regional...
The NCAA West Regional, comprised of the seven members of the Western Wrestling Conference (Air Force, North Dakota State, Northern Colorado, Northern Iowa, South Dakota State, Utah Valley and Wyoming), serves as a qualifying tournament for the NCAA Championships, which will be held March 17-19 in Philadelphia, Pa.
This year, the West Regional will receive 15 automatic qualifiers, based on the final Coaches' Panel Ranking, Rating Percentage Index (RPI) and Division I winning percentage. The breakdown of the 15 automatic bids per weight class for the West Regional is as follows: 125 (2), 133 (1), 141 (2), 149 (2), 157 (2), 165 (1), 174 (1), 184 (2), 197 (1) and 285 (1).
After all of the qualifying events have concluded, the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee will meet in person to select the remaining 48 at-large qualifiers, who will be announced on March 9.
Watch it on the Web...
To follow the action at the NCAA West Regional on the web, visit Tournament Central at goairforcefalcons.com. Complete coverage of the event, including updated brackets and free live streaming of the regional finals, will be available.
Last Year at the NCAA West Regional...
Wyoming snapped Northern Iowa's 24-year regional win streak, finishing a half-point ahead of the Panthers to earn its first West Regional title.
Wyoming (75 pts.) and Northern Iowa (74.5 pts.) finished with three champions each, while third-place North Dakota State (44.5) claimed a pair of individual titles. Utah Valley placed fourth in the team standings, followed by Air Force, South Dakota State and Northern Colorado.
Leading the way for the Falcons was freshman Cole VonOhlen, who earned an automatic NCAA bid with a runner-up finish at 141 pounds.
Last Time Out...
The Falcons closed out their dual slate with a 24-14 home win over Northern Colorado on Feb. 18.
Sophomore Jared Erickson (HWT) recorded a fall to lead Air Force against the Bears, while Alec Williams (157), Clayton Gable (165), Joseph Stafford (174) and Neil Delaney (197) all won decisions. In addition, sophomore Cole VonOhlen was awarded his 39th win of the season with a forfeit victory at 141 pounds.
Scouting the Falcons...
Air Force finished its dual slate with a 12-5 overall record and 3-3 mark in the WWC, tying for fourth place in the conference regular-season standings.
Leading Air Force with a team-best and nation-best 39 victories is sophomore Cole VonOhlen, currently ranked 10th in the nation. Junior Alec Williams (157) is second on the team with 25 victories, while four other wrestlers have also reached the 20-win threshold this season. Freshman Josh Kreimier (149) and Clayton Gable (165) have each recorded 24 wins each, while Jared Erickson (HWT) and Joseph Stafford (174) have notched 21 and 20 wins, respectively.
VonOhlen has also registered a team-high 12 falls so far this season.
Scouting the Bison...
North Dakota State concluded the regular season with a 10-4 dual mark and 3-3 record in the WWC, tying for fourth in the conference standings.
Leading the Bison are seniors Trent Sprenkle (125) and Vince Salminen (157), who are ranked 14th and 18th, respectively, by Intermat. Salminen is also the defending West Regional champion at 157 pounds.
Scouting the BEars...
Northern Colorado concluded the regular season with a 2-12 dual mark and 1-5 record in the WWC, finishing sixth in the conference standings.
Among the leaders for the Bears is two-time NCAA qualifier Justin Gaethje, who is currently ranked 18th by Intermat at 149 pounds. Meanwhile, junior Casey Cruz has recorded a team-best 21 wins on the season.
Scouting the Panthers...
Northern Iowa completed the regular season with a 12-9 overall record and perfect 5-0 mark in WWC action, to earn the regular-season conference title.
Among the leaders for the Panthers is heavyweight Christian Brantley, a two-time regional champion. In addition, freshman Ryan Loder (184) is ranked eighth nationally, while David Bonin is rated 19th in the 157-pound weight class.
Scouting the jackrabbits...
South Dakota State compiled a 1-13-1 overall record on the season and 0-6 ledger in the WWC to finish seventh in the conference standings.
The Jacks are led by 125-pounder Tyler Sprenkle, who has compiled a 29-7 overall record on the season.
Scouting the Wolverines...
Utah Valley concluded the regular season with a 5-4 overall record and 3-2 ledger in WWC action, placing third in the conference standings.
Leading the Wolverines are returning regional champion Flint Ray (133), who is currently ranked 13th in the nation, and 2010 runner-up Ben Kjar, who is currently ranked 15th at 125 pounds.
Scouting the Cowboys...
Wyoming, ranked 25th in the nation, concluded the regular season with an 11-7 overall record and 5-1 mark in the WWC to finish second in the conference.
The Cowboys return three regional champions from 2010, including two-time All-American Joe LeBlanc, who is currently ranked fifth in the nation with a 21-1 overall record. Also returning are 17th-ranked Michael Martinez, the West Regional champion at 125 pounds in 2010, and 11th-ranked Shane Onufer, a two-time West Regional champ.
In the National Rankings...
Sophomore Cole VonOhlen, the Falcons' lone returning NCAA qualifier, is currently ranked 10th in the nation at 141 pounds in the latest Intermat poll. In addition, VonOhlen is rated ninth by WrestlingReport.com, 10th by Amateur Wrestling News and The Open Mat and 11th by D1 College Wrestling and WIN Magazine.
Racking up the Wins...
With 12 dual victories on the year, Air Force has matched its highest win total since the 1983-84 season, when the Falcons finished the year with a 12-3 dual record.
Sophomore Cole VonOhlen was ranked ninth at 141 pounds in the final coaches' panel rankings for the 2010-11 wrestling season, and is ranked 12th in the final Rating Percentage Index (RPI) of the season. The final rankings and RPI are two of the tools that were used as part of the selection process to determine the qualifiers for the 2011 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.
Wrestlers in each weight class are measured by Division I winning percentage, RPI and coaches' rankings to earn spots for the 2011 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships. The coaches' rankings are compiled by a vote of coaches across the nation. Each qualifying tournament has five coaches rank the top 33 wrestlers in two weight classes. For ranking purposes, coaches must select a wrestler as a starter at a designated weight class. In addition, coaches may only select one wrestler per weight class.
To be eligible for an RPI ranking, a wrestler must have a minimum of 17 Division I matches at a given weight class.
Qualifiers from this weekend's NCAA West Regional will compete at the NCAA Championships, being held in Philadelphia, Pa., March 17-19.