April 26, 2013
USAFA, Colo. - The 2012-13 awardwinners for the Air Force wrestling team were honored Thursday evening at the team's annual banquet. Earning top honors was senior team captain Cole VonOhlen (Jackson, Minn.), who was the recipient of the Falcons' Outstanding Wrestler award.
VonOhlen becomes the first wrestler in program to be named a four-time team MVP. In his final campaign with the Falcons, VonOhlen posted a 27-4 overall mark despite missing the bulk of the spring due to injury. He became just the third four-time NCAA qualifier in program history, finishing in the round of 12 at the NCAA Championships just two weeks after suffering a complete shoulder dislocation.
VonOhlen, who was ranked as high as third nationally at 149 pounds this season, finished out his career with a stellar 139-26 overall record. His 139 career wins ranks as the third-most by a Falcon. VonOhlen was also the recipient of the team's Most Falls Award for the fourth-straight season, winning 14 matches by fall this year. His 51 career falls are the most in school history.
Senior Jared Erickson (Newton, Utah) and sophomore Jesse Stafford (Loomis, Calif.) were honored with the Commitment to Excellence Award, which is granted to the cadet(s) with the best all-around performance at the Academy (academics, military and athletics). Meanwhile, senior Brandon Mueller (Greenleaf, Wis.) and team manager Pam Zhang were the recipients of the Scholar-Athlete Award.
Earning Most Improved honors for the Falcons was sophomore Dylan Hyder (Yelm, Wash.). Hyder, the Falcons' starter at 133 pounds, ended the year with a 21-14 overall record, winning 11 of his last 13 bouts entering the NCAA West Regional. He went on to capture his first regional title, earning an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships.
The Coaches Appreciation Award was presented to a pair of individuals who have displayed great dedication to the program, teammates and coaching staff. Earning this year's award were junior Devin Hightower (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and freshman Josh Martinez (Colorado Springs, Colo.). Meanwhile, senior Josh Mohr (Pewaukee, Wis.) was named the recipient of the Falcons' top strength and conditioning award.
Also handed out Saturday was the Wayne Baughman/A-10 Wart Hog Award. Named in part for the Falcons' former head coach, the award is earned by the wrestler who, like Coach Baughman and the A-10 Wart Hog, is relentless and aggressive, demonstrates an unwavering determination to succeed and who embodies good sportsmanship and team spirit. The recipient of this year's award was junior Josh Kreimier (Fort Collins, Colo.), who overcame an early season injury to return to the lineup and earn his first West Regional title and second-straight NCAA appearance.
The Falcons, who graduate 12 seniors this year, finished the 2012-13 season with an 11-4 overall record and sent four wrestlers--VonOhlen, Kreimier, Hyder and Josh Martinez--to the NCAA Championships, the most for the program since 2008.