Falcons Open Season With Blue-Silver Intrasquad Match
Oct. 27, 2006
USAFA, Colo. - With the official start to the 2006-07 season just around the corner, the Air Force wrestling team kicked things off Friday evening with the Blue-Silver Intrasquad Match. Twelve Falcons competed in the wrestle-offs for the chance to earn a spot in Air Force's varsity lineup at the season-opening Cowboy Open.
The match began with the 125-pound bout, featuring junior Zach Valdez (Parker, Colo.) and freshman Noah Sheppard (Ramstein, Germany). With three takedowns in the opening period, Valdez shot out to a 6-3 lead, and increased his advantage to 8-3 with a reversal early in the second period. After scoring a two-point near fall, Valdez gained his largest lead, 10-3, going into the final period. While Sheppard opened with an escape and scored his first takedown in the last minute, it was not enough for the win. With an extra point for riding time, Valdez grabbed the 11-6 decision.
At 133 pounds, a pair of newcomers faced off, with Stephen Makuka (Columbus, N.J.) taking on Kurt Spranger (Tampa, Fla.). Makuka scored a takedown midway through the opening period, and held onto his advantage to take a 2-0 lead going into the second period. Makuka's advantage grew to 4-0 after a reversal in the second period before Spranger was able to score his first takedown of the match early in the third period. However, Makuka notched another reversal, and despite giving Spranger a point with an illegal hold, Makuka was able to record the fall at the 6:53 mark.
The 141-pound bout featured one of the Falcons' returning NCAA qualifiers, junior Jake Kriegbaum (Abilene, Kan.), up against senior Andrew Teigeler (Yorktown, Va.). Kriegbaum grabbed the 2-0 advantage with a takedown in the first minute, and followed that up with a two-point near fall midway through the period. After scoring three more back points at the end of the opening period, Kriegbaum was out to a 7-0 lead. With an escape to open the second period, Kriegbaum notched another takedown and three-point near fall to take the 13-0 advantage going into the final period. Starting out the third period in the neutral position, neither wrestler was able to score a takedown, and each was awarded a point for stalling. After adding a point for riding time, Kriegbaum walked away with the 15-1 major decision.
Senior tri-captain and 2004 NCAA qualifier Chris Nissen (Denver, Colo.) was featured in the 149-pound bout, along with junior Chris Szabolcs (Westlake, Ohio). Nissen scored the first points of the match before Szabolcs was able to get the escape. After another Nissen-takedown and ensuing three-point near fall, Szabolcs scored an escape to bring the score to 7-2 at the end of the first period. Nissen's third takedown of the match came in the second period, followed by a pair of three-point near falls, as he gained a 15-2 advantage entering the final period. After getting an escape to open the third period, Nissen scored yet another takedown, getting the technical fall at the 5:16 mark with an 18-2 score.
The 157-pound match featured another senior captain in Bridger Lord (Missoula, Mont.), who faced off against Tony Dorward (Jr., Seattle, Wash.). After a scoreless opening period, Lord was first to score, getting an escape to open the second period, followed by his first takedown. While the final period was also evenly battled throughout, Lord managed another escape just before time expired, en route to the 5-0 decision.
The Falcons' final captain, senior Zach Lord (Missoula, Mont.) competed in the 165-pound bout, along with junior Duane Miller (Bellevue, Idaho). Although Lord was first to score, getting a takedown in the first minute, Miller was able to counter with a reversal to tie the score at 2-2. The bout would not last much longer, as Miller was able to get the fall, pinning Lord in a time of 2:10.
Sophomore Stephen Crozier (Monona, Iowa) met up with newcomer Tyler French (Malta, Mont.) in the 174-pound bout. A Crozier takedown and French escape gave Crozier the 2-1 advantage after one period. Crozier then began the second period with an escape and followed it up with his second takedown of the match. While French was able to get the lone point in the final period, scoring on an escape in the final minute, it was not enough for the win, as Crozier took the 6-2 decision, adding an extra point for riding time.
At 184 pounds, junior Jacob Devlin (Livingston, N.J.) faced off against sophomore Jordan Tribble (Midwest City, Okla.). A takedown in the first period gave Devlin the 2-0 lead, and after starting the second period in the down position, Devlin scored a reversal to gain the 4-0 advantage. With a point awarded for a stalling call against Tribble and another point for riding time, Devlin grabbed the 6-0 decision.
The 197-pound bout featured sophomore Casey Butikofer (Rigby, Idaho) against freshman James Ciccone (Mentor, Ohio). Ciccone opened the match with a takedown, followed by a two-point near fall to take the 4-0 lead after one period. Another takedown in the second period put Ciccone ahead 6-0. After managing an escape to begin the final period, Ciccone scored a takedown with just over a minute remaining. While Butikofer was able to get the escape, Ciccone closed out the bout with yet another takedown, and with an extra point for riding time, Ciccone grabbed the 12-1 major decision.
The evening ended with the heavyweight bout between junior Tony Stegeman (Cincinnati, Ohio) and senior Peter Bozynski (Birmingham, Mich.). After a scoreless opening period, Stegeman was first to score, getting an escape to start the second period before adding another point with a stall warning against Bozynski. Beginning the final period in the down position, Bozynski was able to tie the score at 2-2 with a reversal, but an escape gave Stegeman the advantage and the final 3-2 decision.
The Falcons officially begin the 2006-07 season on Nov. 11 at the Cowboy Open, hosted by Western Wrestling Conference foe Wyoming.
Blue-Silver Results 125 Valdez dec. Sheppard, 11-6 133 Makuka fall Spranger, 6:53 141 Kriegbaum maj. dec. Teigeler, 15-1 149 Nissen tech. fall Szabolcs, 5:16 (18-2) 157 B. Lord dec. Dorward, 5-0 165 Miller fall Z. Lord, 2:10 174 Crozier dec. French, 6-2 184 Devlin dec. Tribble, 6-0 197 Ciccone maj. dec. Butikofer, 12-1 hwt Stegeman dec. Bozynski, 3-2