Liberty University’s wrestling team took down top schools to win the Mid-Atlantic Conference Championship at home on Saturday, Feb. 25. Beyond having 14 wrestlers qualify for nationals and taking first place in seven weight classes, the team also ended the tournament with conference recognition for its head coach and captain.
Coach Jesse Castro was named Coach of the Year. Senior and captain Scottie Clymer was named the conference’s Most Valuable Wrestler.
The Flames came into the tournament ranked No. 1 in the National Collegiate Wrestling Association’s Coaches Poll. The team is now looking forward to the NCWA National Championships March 8-10 in Daytona Beach, Fla. On Saturday, 14 of the Flames qualified to wrestle in this event that will determine individual, national champions.
The Flames have already had success on a national scale. The team took home the NCWA National Duals trophy in January in Dalton, Ga.
Liberty is in its first year of NCWA membership after reclassifying its NCAA Division I program to a club sport at the end of last season. The change was due to Title IX, the law that requires equal opportunities for men and women to participate in educational programs that are federally funded. About 30 percent of Liberty’s wrestlers remained with the team.
Wrestling has been offered at Liberty since 1973 and is one of the 29 Club Sports programs.