Falcon Wrestling Opens 2017-18 Slate at the Cowboy Open
Nov. 3, 2017

Saturday, Nov. 4, 9:00 a.m. MT

War Memorial Field House , Wyoming University

THIS WEEK: The Air Force wrestling team will take to the mats for the first time this season in the Cowboy Open, Nov. 4, hosted by the University of Wyoming, in War Memorial Fieldhouse, Laramie, WY. Wrestling in the amateur and elite brackets starts at 9:00 a.m., and will continue all day until the conclusion of the final bout. Live stats and video will be provided by FloWrestling. Fans can access the live stats by going to GoAirForceFalcons.com and clicking the live stats link in the schedule dropdown.

LAST TIME AT THE COWBOY OPEN: The Falcons concluded the 2016 Cowboy Open with two individual titles, a set of co-champions and 14 place winners. Alex Lopouchanski (165) and Randy Meneweather (174) earned first-place titles in their respective divisions. Parker Hines and Anthony McLaughlin agreed to a co-champion finish in the 197 class.

NEXT WEEK: The Falcons will take on perennial Big 10 powerhouse, Minnesota, Sunday, Nov. 12, at 1:00 p.m. CT. The Golden Gophers checked in at No. 6 in the NCAA’s preseason coaches’ poll. The last time the teams met was in 2015; Lopouchanski was one of four Falcons to pick up a victory against then-No. 22 Minnesota.

WELCOME BACK: Air Force wrestling returns 30 wrestlers from the 2016-17 roster. Air Force is led by eight seniors, including 2016 NCAA qualifier, Drew Romero (125), and 2016 Big 12 Championships place-winner, Michael Billingsley (174). The 2017-18 lineup boasts three Big 12 Championship placers; Romero (2016, 7th), Billingsley (2016, 6th), and Alex Mossing (2017, 4th). The dual meet lineup returns eight starters, to include junior Anthony McLaughlin who recorded a perfect 6-0 dual meet record.

RECRUITING LEADERS: The Air Force wrestling staff has rounded up some of the nation’s top recruits to build the program’s second consecutive top-20 recruiting class according to W.I.N Magazine’s early-season recruiting rankings. The feat marks the first time in program history the Falcons have had back-to-back top-20 recruiting rankings. The class of 2021 is comprised of 13 wrestlers; four of which were nationally ranked in W.I.N.’s national high schools polls. The newcomers boast 14 state championships, 29 state medals and are the top recruiting class of all of the service academies.

THE CHAIN OF COMMAND: Head wrestling coach Sam Barber enters his fourth season at the helm of the Air Force wrestling team. Barber is assisted by Bart Horton (11th season) and Chris Heilman (fourth season). The volunteer assistant coach for this season is Kallen Kleinschmidt. Kleinschmidt is a 2016 Olympic Trials qualifier.

Zen Ikehara has been named team captain for the 2017-18 season. Last season, Ikehara started in all 10 of Air Force’s dual meets in the 184 class.   The Mililani, Hawaii, native’s credentials include third-place at the All-Academy Championships (2014-15, 2016-17), first-team, Academic All-Big 12 (2016-17), first-place at the UNK-Holiday Inn open (2014-15), first-place at the Cowboy Open (2013-14) and WWC All-Academic (2014-15).



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