Air Force Wrestlers Begin 2014 at Southern Scuffle

    Junior Jesse Stafford

    Junior Jesse Stafford

    Dec. 31, 2013

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    The Air Force wrestling team is back in action this week, Jan. 1-2, at the annual Southern Scuffle, hosted by Chattanooga.

    The Southern Scuffle enters its 11th season overall, and its third season in Chattanooga after moving from Greensboro, N.C. Teams from 34 schools are scheduled to participate in this year's competition, including 10 teams currently ranked by InterMat. This year's field also includes two other teams from the Western Wrestling Conference (Northern Colorado and South Dakota State).

    Action begins both days at 9:00 a.m. (ET), with championship finals slated to start at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday. Meanwhile, Saturday's action begins at 9:00 a.m., with the championship finals scheduled to start at 3:00 p.m. Live scoring and updated brackets will be available on

    Last season, Air Force captured eighth place in the team standings at the Southern Scuffle, finishing with three individual placewinners. Leading the way for the Falcons was senior captain Cole VonOhlen, who finished as the runner-up at 149 pounds, while freshman Josh Martinez placed fourth at 125 pounds and senior Josh Mohr took eighth place at 197 pounds.

    Sophomore Josh Martinez, currently ranked sixth in the nation at 125 pounds, enters this week's tournament as the third-seed in his weight class. Martinez is seeded behind second-ranked Nahshon Garrett of Cornell and third-ranked Nico Megaludis of Penn State.

    Led by third-place finisher Josh Martinez (125), the Falcons placed 18th at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, held Dec. 6-7. Martinez, who finished third at the tournament for the second-straight season, was joined on the second day of action by Natrelle Demison (149), Jesse Stafford (165) and Devin Hightower (184).

    Meanwhile, five Falcons were placewinners at the FHSU-Bob Smith Open on Dec. 7, led by senior Daniel Baucke (157), who captured the first individual title of his career. Junior Carter McElhany placed second at 133 pounds, freshman Parker Hines finished third at 197 pounds and Connor Hedash (157) and Willie Baker (174) placed fourth in their respective weight classes.

    Air Force is led this year by sophomore Josh Martinez, currently ranked sixth in the nation at 125 pounds with a 13-1 record on the season. Freshman Connor Hedash (157) has posted a team-leading 17 victories, while classmate Anthony McHugh (141) has added 15 wins, including a team-leading eight falls on the year.

    The Falcons have a three wrestlers currently ranked by various wrestling publications. Sophomore Josh Martinez, a 2013 NCAA qualifier and reigning WWC Freshman of the Year, is currently ranked sixth at 125 pounds by InterMat, Amateur Wrestling News, W.I.N. Magazine, and DI College Wrestling.

    Meanwhile, senior Josh Kreimier, who has wrestled in just three matches this season, is rated 17th in the nation at 157 pounds by InterMat. He is also rated 17th by W.I.N. Magazine, 19th by DI College Wrestling and 22nd by and. In addition, junior Jesse Stafford is currently ranked 29th by at 165 pounds, following his performance at the CKLV Invitational.

    Sophomore Josh Martinez was named the Western Wrestling Conference Wrestler of the Week on Dec. 10, after leading the Falcons' contingent at the annual CKLV Invitational, placing third at 125 pounds for the second-straight season.

    Martinez, who entered the tournament seeded fifth and ranked eighth nationally, posted a 7-1 record on the weekend, with four major decisions and three decisions. Among Martinez's victories were three wins against nationally ranked opponents, including a 14-1 major decision over 10th-ranked Tim Lambert of Nebraska, a 10-7 decision over Northern Iowa's seventh-ranked Dylan Peters and a 4-1 decision over No. 20 David Terao of American in the third-place match. Martinez was also tabbed one of Air Force's co-athletes of the week for his performance.

    UP NEXT...
    The Falcons are back in action on Jan. 11, when they head to Gunnison, Colo., for the annual Borah Duals, hosted by Western State Colorado.



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