Air Force Wrestlers Head to Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational

    Sophomore Josh Martinez
    Sophomore Josh Martinez

    Dec. 5, 2013

    Weekly Release Get Acrobat Reader

    The Air Force wrestling team returns to action this weekend, Dec. 6-7, as it sends a group of athletes to the 32nd-annual Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational. Meanwhile, another group of Falcons will compete at the FHSU-Bob Smith Open in Hays, Kan., on Dec. 7.

    ABOUT THE CKLV INVITATIONAL...
    The Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, now in its 32nd season, is being held at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Teams from 33 schools are scheduled to participate in this year's competition, including 12 teams that are ranked in this week's USA Today/NWCA/AWN Coaches' Poll. This year's field also includes two other teams from the Western Wrestling Conference (Utah Valley and Wyoming).

    Action begins Friday at 9:00 a.m. (PT), while quarterfinals and consolation rounds 2 & 3 are scheduled to start at 6:00 p.m. Meanwhile, Saturday's action begins at 9:00 a.m., with the championship finals scheduled to start at 3:00 p.m. For complete information on the tournament, visit cklvwrestle.com.

    LAST YEAR AT THE CKLV INVITATIONAL...
    Last season, Air Force posted its best team finish at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational since 2001, placing 11th in the team standings. The Falcons also had three placewinners, matching the team's most-ever at the event.

    Senior Cole VonOhlen was the runner-up at 149 pounds for the second-straight season, while freshman Josh Martinez added an impressive third-place showing at 125 pounds and senior Gabe Martinez placed sixth at 157 pounds as an unseeded wrestler.

    ABOUT THE FHSU-BOB SMITH OPEN...
    The annual FHSU-Bob Smith Open will be held at Gross Memorial Coliseum, with more than 300 athletes slated to compete. Action is slated to begin at 9:00 a.m. (CT) Saturday. Live updates for the event will be available at trackwrestling.com.

    LAST YEAR AT THE FHSU-BOB SMITH OPEN...
    Eight Falcons finished as placewinners at the 2012 FHSU-Bob Smith Open, led by individual champions Mitch Brown (125), Josh Kreimier (157), Tyler Mergen (165) and Konner Witt (184). Juniors Greg Rinker and Greg Isley placed second at 133 and 184 pounds, respectively, senior heavyweight Jared Erickson placed third and freshman Zach Stepan took fourth place at 141 pounds.

    LAST TIME OUT...
    Eighteen Falcons finished as placewinners at the UNK Holiday Inn Open on Nov. 23, led by five individual champions. Twelve Falcons, including four champions, placed in the top six in the Elite Division, while six others were placewinners in the Amateur Division. Capturing individual titles for Air Force in the Elite Division were Josh Martinez (125), Jesse Stafford (165), Konner Witt (174) and Greg Isley (197), while freshman Natrelle Demison (149) claimed his first collegiate title in the Amateur Division.

    Finishing as runners-up were Willie Baker (174 - Elite), Devin Hightower (184 - Elite), Parker Hines (197 - Elite), David Walker (141 - Amateur) and Jerry McGinty (149 - Amateur). Meanwhile, other placewinners included Carter McElhany (third/141 - Elite), Jack Carda (third/197 - Elite), Daniel Baucke (fourth/157 - Elite), Connor Hedash (fourth/157 - Amateur), Scott Reilly (fifth/174 - Elite), Evan Gros (fifth/197 - Elite), Anthony McHugh (sixth/141 - Amateur) and Marcus Malecek (sixth/HWT - Amateur).

    SCOUTING THE FALCONS...
    Air Force is led this year by sophomore Josh Martinez, currently ranked eighth in the nation at 125 pounds with a 6-0 record on the season. Freshman Anthony McHugh (141), who has competed in three tournaments this season, has posted a team-leading 15 victories and eight falls on the year, while Connor Hedash (157) and Konner Witt (174) are next on the team with 12 wins each.

    IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS...
    The Falcons have a pair of wrestlers currently ranked by numerous wrestling publications. Sophomore Josh Martinez, a 2013 NCAA qualifier and reigning WWC Freshman of the Year, is currently ranked eighth at 125 pounds by InterMat, while he is ranked seventh by Amateur Wrestling News, W.I.N. Magazine, WrestlingReport.com and DI College Wrestling.

    Meanwhile, senior Josh Kreimier, a returning two-time NCAA qualifier, is rated 16th in the nation at 157 pounds by InterMat. He is also rated 11th by W.I.N. Magazine, 16th by WrestlingReport.com and 18th by DI College Wrestling.

    AIR FORCE CO-ATHLETE OF THE WEEK...
    Sophomore Jesse Stafford shared Air Force Athlete of the Week accolades on Nov. 25, after earning his first individual title of the season at the UNK Holiday Inn Open. Stafford compiled a 4-0 record to claim first place in the 165-pound bracket of the Elite Division. One of five Falcons to earn an individual title at the event, Stafford opened the day with a fall in a time of 1:27, while scoring a 13-2 major decision in his next bout. In the semifinals, he added his second first-period fall of the day with a time of 1:40 before winning the championship with a 5-3 decision over Wyoming's Zach Beard.

    UP NEXT...
    The Falcons are off from competition for the rest of December and will return to action Jan. 1-2, at the annual Southern Scuffle, hosted by Chattanooga.

     

     

    Inside Wrestling