Air Force Releases 2012-13 Wrestling Schedule
Seven home duals highlight the 2012-13 Air Force wrestling schedule, which also features appearances at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational and Southern Scuffle, two of the top tournaments in the nation. In addition, the Falcons will host Western Wrestling Conference foe in their Senior Night competition on Feb. 24.
"We are really excited about this year's schedule," said Air Force head coach Joel Sharratt. "It offers our 10 top athletes a great opportunity to stand toe-to-toe against other top-ranked athletes at every weight class."
All of the Falcons' home events, including the Blue-Silver Intrasquad Match on Oct. 24, will be held in Clune Arena for the fifth-straight season. Air Force will host its first dual of the season on Jan. 11, when it welcomes nationally ranked Oregon State to the Academy. Meanwhile, the Falcons host Northern Iowa in their WWC opener two days later, while also hosting New Mexico Highlands in a non-conference match-up.
Air Force hosts two more conference duals on Jan. 25 and 27, with matches versus North Dakota State and South Dakota State, respectively. The Falcons also host Western State on Jan. 27, while honoring their senior class on Feb. 24 as they wrap up their dual slate with a home contest versus WWC foe Northern Colorado.
Meanwhile, the Falcons also have a slew of road events, including several open competitions to start the season. For the second-straight season, Air Force will begin the year at the Hokie Open in Salem, Va., on Nov. 4, followed by trips to the UNK Holiday Inn Open in Kearney, Neb., on Nov. 17. Air Force also returns to the prestigious Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, Nov. 30-Dec. 1, 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 Army on Feb. 2.
One special event for Air Force this season is the "Battle for the Planes," which will be held Dec. 7 in Jackson, Minn., hometown of senior team captain Cole VonOhlen. The Falcons will take on Dakota Wesleyan, Northwestern College [Iowa] and Augustana College [S.D.], while three high school teams will also be in action in the joint event.
Air Force's road duals include a trip to Gunnison, Colo., for the Borah Duals hosted by Western State on Jan. 12, along with a trip to California for matches versus Stanford, Menlo and Cal Poly on Jan. 18 and Jan. 20. The Falcons also travel to Orem, Utah, for a WWC match against Utah Valley on Feb. 16, while facing conference foe Wyoming on Feb. 21 in Cheyenne, Wyo.
Air Force caps off the season at the NCAA West Regional on March 9, hosted this year by Wyoming. The tournament, which doubles as the Western Wrestling Conference Championships, determines which athletes will qualify for the 2013 NCAA Championships, which will be held March 21-23 in Des Moines, Iowa.
"This team is finding its legs in the preseason and that should help every one of them get off to a strong start when opening in Salem, Va., in November," continued Sharratt. "All the work we have put in together gives these guys the confidence to have high expectations when faced with the challenges this schedule possesses. These guys are ready and we are all looking forward to the outstanding year ahead!"