Air Force Opens Dual Slate at Battle for the Planes
Senior captain Cole VonOhlen

Dec. 6, 2012

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The Air Force wrestling team opens its 2012-13 dual slate this Friday, Dec. 7, at the "Battle for the Planes" being held at Jackson County Central High School in Jackson, Minn. The Falcons will compete in three duals, facing Dakota Wesleyan, Northwestern College (Iowa) and Augustana (S.D.).

Air Force will take on Dakota Wesleyan at 3:30 p.m. (CT), followed by a match against Northwestern College at 5:00 p.m. The Falcons will wrap up the evening with a dual versus Augustana at 8:00 p.m.

The "Battle of the Planes" event, which will feature six collegiate duals as well as two high school duals, is being held at Jackson County Central High School, the alma mater of Air Force team captain Cole VonOhlen and freshman Willie Baker. Prior to the final dual of the evening, a special presentation will be made to honor VonOhlen, who was a two-time state champion and three-time state finalist at JCC.

Last weekend, 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 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.

Meanwhile, eight Falcons finished as placewinners at the 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.

Air Force, wrestling in its first dual meets of the season, is led by nationally ranked senior captain Cole VonOhlen (149), who has recorded a 13-1 mark on the season, while freshman Konner Witt (184) is undefeated on the year at 12-0. In addition, newcomer Tyler Mergen (165) has a team-best 20 wins on the year.

Meanwhile, 30 different Falcons have registered falls, led by VonOhlen with seven falls on the year. Sophomore Cody Hancock has the fastest fall of the early season, recording a fall in a time of 0:24.

Following a strong showing at the CKLV Invitational last weekend, Air Force moved into 25th place in W.I.N. Magazine's Tournament Power Index. Meanwhile, Air Force currently has five wrestlers ranked by various wrestling publications. Senior captain Cole VonOhlen, a returning three-time NCAA qualifier, is rated eighth in the nation at 149 pounds by Intermat, while he is ranked fifth by Amateur Wrestling News and W.I.N. Magazine, sixth by and seventh by DI College Wrestling.

Junior Josh Kreimier, a 2012 NCAA qualifier who saw his first action of the year at the FHSU-Bob Smith Open this past weekend, is currently ranked 15th at 157 pounds by Intermat. He is also rated 13th by W.I.N. Magazine and 21st by DI College Wrestling.

Following his third-place finish at the CKLV Invitational, freshman Josh Martinez entered several polls at 125 pounds and is ranked 13th by DI College Wrestling, 14th by W.I.N. Magazine and 16th by Amateur Wrestling News. In addition, he moved up in the rankings, jumping from 28th to 18th in the poll.

Meanwhile, added two more Falcons to its rankings--senior Gabe Martinez is listed 24th at 157 pounds, while junior Devin Hightower is ranked 33rd at 184 pounds.

Dakota Wesleyan, ranked 17th in the NAIA, enters this weekend with a 2-2 dual record on the year, following a 27-9 loss to Northern State on Wednesday evening.

The Tigers have three wrestlers who are nationally ranked, led by Trever Devestern, who is ranked sixth at 157 pounds. Meanwhile, Richard Rios (133) and Tyler Sarringer (174) are rated seventh in their respective weight classes in the latest NAIA rankings.

Northwestern College, receiving votes in the latest NAIA poll, enters this weekend with an 0-3 overall record after dropping a 36-9 decision to Grand View in its last dual. The Red Raiders have a pair of wrestlers who are listed in the latest NAIA rankings, with Zach Fishman rated eighth at 165 pounds and JL Mayo rated 12th at 133 pounds.

Augustana (S.D.), ranked 14th in the latest NCAA Division II poll, opens its 2012-13 dual slate this weekend. The Vikings have three wrestlers who are ranked among the top eight in their respective weight classes, led by Nate Herda, who is rated fourth at 149 pounds. Jayd Docken is ranked fifth at 197 pounds, while Jeremiah Peterson is ranked ninth at 133 pounds.

With his two falls to begin competition, senior captain Cole VonOhlen broke the career falls record at the Academy, surpassing the mark set by Matt Crippes in 2007. VonOhlen, who now has 125 total wins for his career, has registered 44 wins by fall in three-plus years.

Junior Josh Kreimier, the Falcons' returning NCAA qualifier at 157 pounds, saw his first action of the season this past weekend, after missing the first month of competition due to injury. Kreimier was dominant in his return, recording three falls and three technical falls en route to the 157-pound title at the FHSU-Bob Smith Open.

Senior captain Cole VonOhlen earned his first Air Force Co-Athlete of the Week honors of the season on Dec. 3, following his performance at the CKLV Invitational.

VonOhlen led three Falcon placewinners, finishing as the runner-up at 149 pounds for the second straight season. The fourth-seed, he began the weekend with a pair of first-period falls, which gave him the Academy's career falls record (44). In the quarterfinals, VonOhlen earned an 8-2 decision over fifth-seed Derek Valenti of Virginia, while adding an 11-9 victory over ninth-seed Jake Sueflohn from Nebraska. VonOhlen's first loss of the tournament and the season came in the final bout versus second-seed Jason Chamberlain of Boise State, the 2010 CKLV champion, dropping a 7-3 decision.

The Falcons have the rest of December off from competition before returning to action Jan. 1-2, at the Southern Scuffle, hosted by Chattanooga.



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