Aug 29, 2013
USAFA, Colo. -
Return trips to the prestigious Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational and Southern Scuffle, as well as the annual All-Academy Championships, highlight the 2013-14 Air Force wrestling schedule, released this week by head coach Joel Sharratt.
"I am really excited about the 2013-14 schedule and our upcoming season for three very good reasons," said Sharratt. "[Sophomore] Josh Martinez has continued to improve and remains focused as a national force at 125. Josh Kreimier at 157 will be competing for his third NCAA berth and has never been more hungry for the challenges a season brings. Meanwhile, senior Devin Hightower turned the corner to close out last season and has had a very strong off season preparing for 184 this year. As a whole, the team has leadership from top to bottom, and the talent we have in the room will be challenged by our leaders to step across that line and produce the results we are looking for."
The Falcons will host four dual meets this season in Clune Arena, as well as the annual Blue-Silver Match, which will be held on Oct. 25. Air Force officially begins the 2013-14 season on Nov. 2, as it heads to the annual Cowboy Open, hosted by Wyoming.
Following a neutral-site contest versus Northwestern in Broomfield, Colo., on Nov. 8, the Falcons will open their home slate on Nov. 10 with a dual against Stanford. Air Force does not return home again until Feb. 11, when it hosts conference foe Wyoming in a 7:00 p.m. contest. Meanwhile, the Falcons close out their home schedule on Feb. 14 with a pair of duals. After hosting New Mexico Highlands in a non-conference match-up, Air Force will honor its senior class before taking on WWC rival Utah Valley.
The Falcons' schedule features several tournaments, including the Augustana Duals (Nov. 15), UNK Holiday Inn Open (Nov. 23) the FHSU-Bob Smith Open (Dec. 7) and the Borah Duals (Jan. 11). Air Force also returns to the prestigious Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, Dec. 6-7, and the Southern Scuffle, Jan. 1-2, to face some of the top wrestlers in the nation, while heading to the All-Academy Championships, hosted by the Coast Guard Academy, on Feb. 1.
Also on Air Force's slate this season is a trip to Corvallis, Ore., for duals versus Southern Oregon and nationally ranked Oregon State on Jan. 18, as well as road matches against WWC opponents North Dakota State (Jan. 24), South Dakota State (Jan. 26) and Northern Colorado (Feb. 23).
Air Force caps off the season at the NCAA West Regional on March 8, hosted this year by Utah Valley. The tournament, which doubles as the Western Wrestling Conference Championships, determines which athletes will qualify for the 2014 NCAA Championships, which will be held March 20-22 in Oklahoma City, Okla.
"This schedule offers our team the opportunity to compete against the Big Ten and Pac-12 in duals, as well as many other programs that will attend our national-level competitions like the Scuffle and Cliff Keen Open," continued Sharratt. "Every competitor in this program knows it's about the results they produce in competition. As a staff, we have been impressed so far this season--these guys have been training with a chip on their shoulder, something has not set right and in 2013-14 they are looking to change that. Everybody knows this will be a challenging schedule; many of these men will stand face-to-face with some of the highest ranked opponents in the nation. They train every day knowing they are the underdogs who have the opportunity to upset the competition they face. They are preparing like David prepared to face Goliath."