Husky wrestlers take 7th, All-American honors

Academy Preparatory School wrestler Cole VanOhlen (top) moves into position to pin University of Maryland/Baltimore County's Justin Bowser in the national championship final for the 141-pound weight class. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tabitha Wilson)

Academy Preparatory School wrestler Cole VanOhlen (top) moves into position to pin University of Maryland/Baltimore County's Justin Bowser in the national championship final for the 141-pound weight class. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tabitha Wilson)

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- The Air Force Academy Preparatory School men's wrestling team finished off their season with a seventh-place finish at the National Collegiate Wrestling Association National Championships at Hampton University in mid March. 

The Huskies were led by seven wrestlers who qualified for Nationals by placing in the top four of their weight classes at the Regional Championships Feb. 27-28, in Baton Rouge, La. 

The NCWA National Championships consisted of 84 college and college club teams throughout the country. 

During the second session on day two, the Huskies nearly had six of seven wrestlers move on to the "All-American Round" where the top eight places in each weight class earn All-American status. Dustin Potter (149) and Logan Burch (133) each lost closely contested matches by a single point. 

All-American honors: Ethan Martinez (6th place at 133), Cole VonOhlen (1st at 141), Tim Smell (8th at 197) and Jared Erickson (8th at 235). 

Cadet Candidate Cole VonOhlen won the National Championship at 141 pounds. VonOhlen, who earned five pins in five matches, did not allow a single point to be scored against him during the competition. He was selected from more than 330 competitors by the NCWA committee as the outstanding wrestler of the tournament.
Cadet Candidates Rafael Magana, Randy Pence, Chris Velez and David Salinas were consummate teammates throughout the year, coaching officials said.

Achievements: 

Highest National Finish ever by a Prep School Wrestling Team: Seventh
Most Prep School All-Americans ever: Four (Cadet Candidates Jared Erickson, Ethan Martinez, Tim Smell and Cole VonOhlen)
First ever National Champion: VonOhlen (141)
First ever National Championship Outstanding Wrestler: VonOhlen

What the insiders are saying: 

"Being that this was the first year the Husky Wrestling Team was returning to the NCWA organization for quite some time, it was difficult to know where we stood. Over the past five years, the NCWA organization has grown leaps and bounds and showcases some of the nation's finest wrestling teams and individual wrestlers.

"At the beginning of the season we had four formally recruited athletes. By the end of the season we had a full squad of ten, finished third in the Southwest Conference Championships, qualified seven for nationals, earned four All-American honors, and had the school's first National Champion. These results are a testament to the hard work and dedication these young men put into this season." -- Head Wrestling Coach Kip Kiefer

"Our Husky wrestlers have now set the standard for future Prep School wrestlers -- not the end goal. That's an important distinction. Despite our highest finish ever, we still finished behind Navy Prep (3rd) and Army Prep (6th) - if that doesn't make you want to work harder -- nothing will." -- Athletic Director Ken Korpak