LOS ANGELES Backed by five individual titles, the Air Force boxing team captured its 37th regional championship this evening (March 16) in Los Angeles. With the win, the Falcons have now claimed 37 of the last 40 team titles at the National Collegiate Boxing Association (NCBA) Western Regionals.
Juniors RJ Leon and Jordan Garivay successfully defended their regional titles, as Leon won his 119-pound bout over California’s Jason Lan and Garivay earned a 195-pound decision over Victor Estrada of UCLA. Fellow junior Micah Mackaly earned the team’s Boxer of the Week award after earning a heavyweight decision over Alex Mascerenas of UNLV for his first regional title, while classmates Sean Chieves (132 pounds, Dillon Maguin) and Devon Smith (147 pounds, Jimmy Verdi) recorded their first regional championships with victories over boxers from Nevada.
The men also accounted for four runner-up finishes on Saturday night. Freshman Lawrence Barrett, the only Academy boxer to compete in all three days of the tournament, dropped a 125-pound decision to Washington’s Mario Hernandez, while senior Josh Turner (139 pounds, Kiel Hicks) and junior Levi Rate (156 pounds, Abdirahman Omar) also lost their championship bouts to contenders from Washington. Senior Levi Knox rounded out the Falcons’ list of runner-up finishers after dropping the 165-pound final to Nevada’s Nate Strother.
On the women’s side, Air Force earned a pair of runner-up finishes in the finals, as senior Laura Drapinski dropped a 112-pound decision to Utah’s Darina Martin and classmate Ellen Miota fell in her 132-pound bout with Washington’s Karyn Garcia.
The Falcons’ full lineup, which includes junior unopposed regional contenders Cenada Clifton-Smith (175 pounds) and Austin Dreyer (185 pounds), return to action on April 4-6, when the squad travels to Reno, Nev., for the 2019 National Collegiate Boxing Association Championships.
112-lbs. (w): Darina Martin (Utah) dec. Laura Drapinski (Air Force)
119-lbs.: RJ Leon (Air Force) dec. Jason Lan (California)
125-lbs.: Mario Hernandez (Washington) dec. Lawrence Barrett (Air Force)
132-lbs.: Sean Chieves (Air Force) dec. Dillon Maguin (Nevada)
132-lbs. (w): Karyna Garcia (Washington) dec. Ellen Miota (Air Force)
139-lbs.: Kiel Hicks (Washington) dec. Josh Turner (Air Force)
147-lbs.: Devon Smith (Air Force) dec. Jimmy Verdi (Nevada)
156-lbs.: Abdirahman Omar (Washington) dec. Levi Rate (Air Force)
165-lbs.: Nate Strother (Nevada) dec. Levi Knox (Air Force)
195-lbs.: Jordan Garivay (Air Force) dec. Victor Estrada (UCLA)
Hywt.: Micah Mackaly (Air Force) dec. Alex Mascerenas (UNLV)