April 19, 2013
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Five Air Force wrestlers finished as All-Americans in the Greco-Roman division of the ASICS Junior National Championships on Friday, led by freshman Willie Baker (Jackson, Minn.), who claimed the 79kg title.
With his finish, Baker, who posted a 4-0 record on Friday, earns the top seed for the 2013 ASICS Junior World Team Trials, which will be held in Stillwater, Okla., June 20-23.
"I'm proud of Willie in his effort to take his first national championship," said Air Force head coach Joel Sharratt. "He had a strong weight class and dominated his way through today's events."
Mitch Brown (Payson, Utah) recorded the Falcons' second-highest showing on Friday, finishing as the runner-up in the 60kg weight class. Two other Falcons joined Baker in the 79kg weight class, with Adam Jackson (Rosemount, Minn.) placing fifth, while Scott Reilly (Stafford, Va.) took seventh place. Rounding out the group of Air Force competitors in the ASICS Junior Nationals was Marcus Malecek (Hammond, Wis.), who took sixth place in the 120kg bracket.
"The team today gained some great experience in the battle of hand fighting and mat position," said Sharratt. "Every fighting Falcon won matches in today's national championship and will have addtional opportunities in tomorrow's competition."
All five of Air Force's Junior Nationals competitors will return to action tomorrow to compete in the freestyle division of the tournament. Meanwhile, junior Greg Isley (Toledo, Ohio), who posted a 3-0 record in the freestyle qualifying tournament of the ASICS U.S. Open on Friday, advances to tomorrow's championship tournament at 96kg.