April 30, 2011
USAFA, Colo. - The 2010-11 awardwinners for the Air Force wrestling team were honored Saturday evening at the team's annual banquet. Sharing top honors were senior captain Joseph Stafford (Loomis, Calif.) and sophomore Cole VonOhlen (Jackson, Minn.), who were each recipients of the Falcons' Outstanding Wrestler award.
Stafford, the Falcons' team captain for the 2010-11 season, finished the year with the best record of his career, posting a 22-14 overall record as the starter at 174 pounds. He also notched a 12-5 mark in dual competition, while earning second-team All-WWC honors as the runner-up at the NCAA West Regional.
Meanwhile, VonOhlen was the Falcons' lone representative at the NCAA Championships for the second-straight season, compiling a 44-9 overall record on the year. His 44 wins led the nation, while ranking tied for third-most in school history. VonOhlen, who was ranked among the top 10 wrestlers at 141 pounds, posted a 16-1 dual record and was perfect against WWC competition.
VonOhlen won 20 of 21 matches heading into the NCAA Championships, with 10 falls, five technical falls, three major decisions and two forfeits in that stretch. He was also named the Outstanding Wrestler at the NCAA West Regional after posting three dominant wins en route to the regional title, not allowing a single point by his opponents. VonOhlen was also the recipient of the team's Most Falls Award for the second-straight season, winning 14 matches by fall this year.
Freshman Jesse Stafford (Loomis, Calif.) was honored with the Commitment to Excellence Award, which is granted to the cadet with the best all-around performance at the Academy (academics, military and athletics). Meanwhile, sophomore Jared Erickson (Newton, Utah) was the recipient of the Scholar-Athlete Award after posting a 3.83 semester GPA.
Earning Most Improved honors for the Falcons was senior Kazden Ikehara (Mililani, Hawaii). Ikehara, who moved into the starting lineup at 184 pounds this season, posted a 16-16 overall record this year, as well as a 6-5 mark in dual action. In addition, Ikehara was honored by the strength and conditioning program as an NSCAA All-American.
The Coaches Appreciation Award was presented to three individuals who have displayed great dedication to the program, teammates and coaching staff. Earning this year's award were sophomore Josh Mohr (Pewaukee, Wis.), freshman Greg Rinker (Northampton, Pa.) and manager Pam Zhang. Mohr also received the Iron Bolt Award, given to the athlete who demonstrates the highest commitment to the strength and conditioning program.
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 sophomore Clayton Gable (Dallastown, Pa.). After missing most of his freshman campaign due to injury, Gable took over the starting spot at 165 pounds this season, posting a 27-14 overall record, finishing second on the team in total wins. Gable also earned third-team All-WWC honors with his finish at the NCAA West Regional.
The Falcons, who graduate seniors Neil Delaney, Alex Flori, Derek Gillespie, Ikehara, Josh Larson, Joseph Stafford, Wade Stowe and Andrew Zwirlein finished the 2010-11 season with a 12-5 overall record and third-place finish at the NCAA West Regional. The Falcons notched their first winning season since 2003, while their 12 wins were the most for the program since 1984.