Bears Falter on Criteria to Falcons
GREELEY, Colo. -- For the second consecutive season the Air Force Academy defeated the University of Northern Colorado wrestling squad on criteria, 21-21. Air Force won six of the 10 dual matches to win the dual.
Air Force's Matthew Benza started the matchup with a 15-5 major decision over UNC's Dustin Uhland at 149 pounds. Then UNC's Mikell Surber gave the home crowd a chance to cheer with a pin over AFA's Josh Peterson at 157 pounds. Surber earned the pin at 3:53 in the second period. Surber's win gave UNC a 6-4 lead after two matches.
The Falcons' Blaine Brown responded with a 14-5 major decision over UNC's Matt Archbold to put the Falcons back on top in the dual 8-6. Jacob Lillich continued the Falcons' momentum at 174 pounds with a 6-0 shutout of UNC's Alex Joseph. AFA's Luke Lefever extended the Falcons' lead to 15-6 wtih an 8-0 major decision over the Bears' Brian Lonsway at 184 pounds.
UNC freshman Reece Hopkin then seemed to ignite the Bears' with a cradle pin of Air Force's Brendan McLean at 197 pounds. Hopkin recorded the pin at 4:10 in the second period. Hopkin's six-pointer pulled UNC to within 15-12 with four matches remaining.
UNC redshirt freshman heavyweight Matt Sens went out in search of his first win of the season against Air Force's Kurt Skarstedt. Skarstedt led the entire match until Sens recorded a reversal with 13 seconds left in the third period to tie the match at 6-6. Sens could not keep the momentum going in overtime at Skarstedt notched a takedown only four seconds into the extra session.
The Bears' Kyle Kaiser was awarded a forfeit win at 125 pounds to pull UNC into an 18-18 tie wtih two matches remaining. Bears' sophomore 133-pounder Kyle Swenson put UNC in good shape with a 7-5 decision to give UNC a 21-18 lead heading into the final match.
Air Force's Matthew Crippes downed UNC's Nathan Gerrard at 141 pounds by the count of 9-4 to pull Air Force into a tie at 21-21. But with the criteria, Air Force was awarded the dual victory and kept UNC head coach Jack Maughan from claiming his 100th career victory.
UNC is now 2-7 on the season and Air Force improved to 2-3.