Repeat Champions Headline Air Force Wing Open Finals

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USAF ACADEMY, Colo. Nine repeat champions highlighted the 61st-annual Wing Open Championships, which were held this evening (Feb. 28) under the lights of Clune Arena.

Junior Levi Rate captured his third Wing Open title in as many years – and in as many different weight divisions – as he earned a unanimous decision over classmate and 2018 finalist William Ragland in the 156-pound championship. Rate, who won the 132-pound title as a freshman and the 147-pound championship as a sophomore, was one of six repeat champions that earned unanimous decisions tonight.

Fellow junior Devon Smith, last year’s champion at 156 pounds, dropped down to 147 pounds this year and easily claimed his second-straight title with a unanimous victory over freshman Zach Phillips. In the night’s only rematch from last year’s card, junior Austin Dreyer successfully – and unanimously – defended his 185-pound title over classmate Nick Pingel, while senior Levi Knox downed senior newcomer Xavier Cardinal for his second-straight title at 165 pounds. Senior Josh Turner also used a unanimous decision to defend his title, as earned the judges’ votes to claim the 139-pound title over freshman Francisco Garcia.

Only two of the night’s 10 bouts were determined before the final bell, as juniors RJ Leon and Sean Chieves successfully defended their titles in swift fashion. Leon, whose fast start forced the referee to call a standing eight count on freshman Ryan Dinndorf just 45 seconds into the contest, added two more stops in action and secured his second-straight 119-pound title with 1:19 left in the third round. Like Leon, Chieves came out strong and sent sophomore Fintan Nakada into a standing eight-count 40 seconds into the bout. With continued pressure, he caused another stop 30 seconds into the second round and forced the referee to halt the match 10 seconds later.

Cenada Clifton-Smith, a finalist in his weight division last year, was one of two first-time champions in this year’s Wing Open Championship. The junior won the 175-pound title after claiming a unanimous decision over sophomore Luke Kilianski, while junior Micah Mackaly collected all of the judges’ votes to capture the heavyweight title over senior Kehinde Osinloye. At the conclusion of the competition, Clifton-Smith was honored with the Clune Outstanding Boxer Award – becoming the first 175-pound boxer in nine years to claim the prestigious honor (sixth overall).

In the only women’s final contested on Thursday night, senior Ellen Miota captured a unanimous victory over junior Abigail Aldecoa at 132 pounds.

Five Falcons were unopposed tonight, including senior Laura Drapinski (112 pounds) and junior Jordan Garivay (195 pounds), who both captured their second championship titles. Freshman Madison Lloyd, who earned the 139-pound title by medical walkover, classmate Lawrence Barrett (CS-22) and sophomore Isabel Eicher (147 pounds) claimed their first Wing Open title with tonight’s unopposed victories.

The winners from tonight’s Wing Open will form the nucleus of the Air Force squad that will represent the Academy at the National Collegiate Boxing Association tournament, which begins with the NCBA Western Regional on March 14-16 in Los Angeles.

RESULTS

112-lbs.: Laura Drapinski (CS-37)

119-lbs.: RJ Leon (CS-03) rsc-3 Ryan Dinndorf (CS-26)

125-lbs.: Lawrence Barrett (CS-22)

132-lbs. (w): Ellen Miota (CS-19) dec. Abigail Aldecoa (CS-29)

132-lbs.: Sean Chieves (CS-12) rsc-2 Fintan Nakada (CS-14)

139-lbs. (w): Madison Lloyd (CS-13) w/o Emily Rickman (CS-19)

139-lbs.: Josh Turner (CS-16) dec. Francisco Garcia (CS-27)

147-lbs.: Devon Smith (CS-18) dec. Zach Phillips (CS-30)

156-lbs.: Levi Rate (CS-21) dec. William Ragland (CS-40)

165-lbs.: Levi Knox (CS-30) dec. Xavier Cardinal (CS-25)

175-lbs.: Cenada Clifton-Smith (CS-22) dec. Luke Kilianski (CS-33)

185-lbs.: Austin Dreyer (CS-24) dec. Nick Pingel (CS-14)

195-lbs.: Jordan Garivay (CS-09)

Hywt.: Micah Mackaly (CS-38) dec. Kehinde Osinloye (CS-13)