Air Force Heads to NCAA West Regionals
Sophomore Dylan Hyder

March 6, 2013

West Regional Match Notes Get Acrobat Reader

The Air Force wrestling team heads to Laramie, Wyo., this weekend, March 9, for the 2013 NCAA West Regional, hosted by Wyoming. The action is slated to begin at noon, with finals starting at 6:00 p.m.

Live results and video for this weekend's NCAA West Regional will be available at Tournament Central on Wyoming's athletics website,

The NCAA West Regional, comprised of the six members of the Western Wrestling Conference (Air Force, North Dakota State, Northern Colorado, South Dakota State, Utah Valley and Wyoming), serves as a qualifying tournament for the NCAA Championships, which will be held March 21-23 in Des Moines, Iowa. Also doubling as the conference championship for the WWC, this year's West Regional will feature just five schools, as Northern Colorado is ineligible for postseason competition.

This year, the West Regional will receive 16 automatic qualifiers, based on the final Coaches' Panel Ranking, Rating Percentage Index (RPI) and Division I winning percentage. The breakdown of the 16 automatic bids per weight class for the West Regional is as follows: 125 (4), 133 (1), 141 (1), 149 (3), 157 (2), 165 (1), 174 (1), 184 (1), 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 40 at-large qualifiers, which will be announced on March 13.

In 2012, Wyoming captured its third-straight regional title, scoring 93.5 points to finish ahead of second-place Northern Iowa (76.0).

Wyoming finished with four regional champions, while Northern Iowa claimed three individual titles. North Dakota State, which finished third with 51.5 points, brought home a pair of regional titles, while junior Cole VonOhlen captured the title at 141 pounds to lead Air Force to a fourth place showing (50.5 pts.). Rounding out the team scoring were Utah Valley in fifth place (43.5 pts.), Northern Colorado in sixth place (36.5 pts.) and South Dakota State in seventh place (5.0 pts.).

Air Force split its final two conference duals of the season, dropping a narrow 17-16 decision to 22nd-ranked Wyoming in Cheyenne, while rolling to a 35-9 victory over Northern Colorado in the regular-season finale.

Against Wyoming, the Falcons started with a 10-0 deficit before a decision by third-ranked senior Cole VonOhlen at 149 pounds put Air Force on the board. Junior Josh Kreimier followed with a 13-5 major decision over 13th-ranked Andy McCulley at 157 pounds, while sophomore Jesse Stafford gave Air Force its third-straight individual victory with a 5-1 decision at 165 pounds. Also winning for the Falcons were junior Devin Hightower (184) and heavyweight Bentley Alsup, both scoring decisions.

Meanwhile, Air Force recorded bonus points in six of its seven wins versus Northern Colorado, led by falls from Stafford, sophomore Dylan Hyder and VonOhlen, appearing in his final home match. Junior Devin Hightower and 10th-ranked freshman Josh Martinez each scored technical falls, senior Josh Mohr scored a major decision and senior Clay Gable earned a decision in his first dual action of the season.

Air Force, currently ranked 22nd in the latest InterMat poll, wrapped up its dual slate with an 11-4 overall record and 2-3 mark in WWC competition, finishing fourth in the conference dual standings.

The Falcons have three wrestlers who are listed in InterMat's individual rankings, with returning WWC champion Cole VonOhlen (24-2) currently rated third at 149 pounds, freshman Josh Martinez (26-8) ranked 11th at 125 pounds and junior Josh Kreimier (25-4) rated 16th at 157 pounds.

North Dakota State, receiving votes in the final coaches poll of the season, earned its first regular-season WWC title, finishing its dual slate with a 10-8 overall record and 5-0 mark in conference action.

Leading the Bison are junior Steven Monk (165) and senior Trent Sprenkle (125), who both won NCAA West Regional titles last season and are currently rated sixth and eighth in their respective weight classes by InterMat. Monk owns a team-best 31-3 overall record, while Sprenkle has posted a 25-4 record on the season.

South Dakota State finished fifth in the WWC regular-season standings with a 5-12 overall record and 1-4 ledger in conference action.

The Jacks are led by senior Dustin Walraven, who has compiled a 23-1 record at 149 pounds and freshman Brance Simms, who holds an 18-14 mark at 133 pounds.

Utah Valley finished the regular season with a 6-4 overall dual ledger and 3-2 record in WWC action, placing third in the conference standings.

Leading the Wolverines in the individual rankings is freshman Jade Rauser, who is rated 14th in the nation at 125 pounds with a 19-6 overall record, while senior Josh Wilson is a returning NCAA qualifier at 149 pounds with a 20-8 mark on the year.

Wyoming, ranked 23rd in the final coaches poll of the season, finished second in the regular-season WWC standings with a 9-6 overall record and 4-1 mark in conference action.

The Cowboys have three wrestlers who are currently ranked by InterMat, led by senior Alfonso Hernandez, the returning West Regional champion at 197 pounds, who is rated fourth in the nation. Sophomores Tyler Cox (125) and Andy McCulley (157) are also listed in the national rankings, rated 15th and 17th, respectively.

Junior Josh Kreimier was named the Western Wrestling Conference Co-Wrestler of the Week on Feb. 26, earning the first weekly honor of his career.

Kreimier had the Falcons' biggest win in the team's dual meet against Wyoming, scoring a 13-5 major decision over 13th-ranked Andy McCulley. Kreimier, who scored a takedown, three reversals and a pair of near falls, accumulated over five minutes of riding time as he helped Air Force battle back from an early 10-0 deficit in its eventual 17-16 loss to the No. 22 Cowboys.

Kreimier also competed at the National Collegiate Open and posted a 3-0 record on the day. He earned tech falls over Virginia's M.J. Robertson (19-1) and American's Cristian Masaya (16-1) before scoring a 9-1 major decision over Derek Golner of North Carolina.

This week, Air Force is rated 22nd in the InterMat team rankings. Meanwhile, the Falcons are also rated 24th by and tied for 26th in W.I.N. Magazine's Tournament Power Index.

Individually, Air Force currently has four wrestlers ranked by various wrestling publications. Senior captain Cole VonOhlen, a returning three-time NCAA qualifier, is rated third in the nation at 149 pounds by InterMat, while he is also ranked third by Amateur Wrestling News, and DI College Wrestling, and fourth by W.I.N. Magazine.

Freshman Josh Martinez is currently ranked 11th in the InterMat rankings at 125 pounds. He is also ranked 11th by Amateur Wrestling News, and DI College Wrestling and 14th by W.I.N. Magazine.

Meanwhile, junior Josh Kreimier is currently rated 16th by InterMat at 157 pounds. He is also rated 13th by Amateur Wrestling News and 18th by W.I.N. Magazine and and 19th by DI College Wrestling.

Additionally, junior Devin Hightower is ranked 33rd at 184 pounds by

Four Air Force wrestlers were rated in the final coaches' panel rankings for the 2012-13 season, with senior Cole VonOhlen ranked third at 149 pounds, freshman Josh Martinez ranked 11th at 125 pounds, junior Josh Kreimier rated 17th at 157 pounds and junior Devin Hightower rated 31st at 184 pounds.

Meanwhile, all four wrestlers, along with sophomore Dylan Hyder (133), were listed in the final Rating Percentage Index (RPI) of the season. VonOhlen, ranked third in the RPI, and Martinez, ranked fifth, lead the way for the Falcons. Kreimier is ranked 17th in the RPI, while Hightower and Hyder rank 27th and 33rd, respectively.

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 2013 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships. Wrestlers in each weight class are measured by winning percentage, RPI and coaches' rankings to earn spots for their respective qualifying tournaments for the 2013 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships. The coaches' rankings are compiled by a vote of coaches representing each qualifying tournament. For ranking purposes, coaches may only consider a wrestler that has been designated as a starter at a respective 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 Des Moines, Iowa, March 21-23.



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