Flames go 5-1 to finish third at NCWA National Duals
January 26, 2014 | Dalton, Ga.
Competing against Mid-Atlantic Conference rival The Apprentice School in Saturday's consolation final of the National Collegiate Wrestling Association (NCWA) National Duals, Liberty University's wrestling team racked up five pins and two forfeit wins in a 48-12 dismantling of the Builders.
The Flames captured third place in the tournament, held in the Northwest Georgia Trade and Convention Center in Dalton, Ga., after finishing first in 2012 and second last season. Liberty picked up 22 bonus points toward its total for the March 13-16 NCWA National Championships in Allen, Texas, where it will seek to improve on its third-place showings from the past two seasons.
In Saturday's third-place bout, after Liberty senior Jeremy Beale was decked by Apprentice's Jacob Michael in the 125-pound opener, freshman 133-pounder Jacob Paull got the pins falling the right way for the Flames by leveling Derek Burhenn in 2 minutes, 10 seconds.
At 141, Liberty freshman Ryan Diehl—who had an incredible weekend with four pins, a technical fall, and a forfeit win for a 6-0 record—bumped up from 133 and stuck Tyrell Watkins on his back in 4:49.
Freshman 165-pounder Josh Ferenczy, senior 174-pounder Josh Sturgill, and freshman 184-pounder Matt Reynolds later strung together consecutive falls of Sterling Briscoe, Philip Porto, and CW Sorey in 2:23, 3:23, and 4:09, respectively.
The Flames opened Saturday's competition with a 40-8 triumph over Mott (Mich.) Community College. Liberty lost a decision at 125 pounds and by fall at heavyweight, but won the nine matches in between.
Diehl started the streak by recording the first of the Flames' four technical falls, by a 22-4 count over Todd Melick at 133. After back-to-back decisions by senior Colin Lewis at 141 and sophomore Josh Sanders at 149, 157-pound junior Chase Boontjer dominated Zach Corcoran 18-2. Then, following consecutive pins by Ferenczy over Christian O'Guinn in 3:50 at 165 and Sturgill over Booker Brancheau in 4:49 at 174, Reynolds (184) and 197-pound senior Aaron Thompson shut out their opponents: Casimer Gusdziol (17-0) and Taquayon Pendleton (13-0), respectively.
In the semifinals, the Flames' four-match winning streak in the tournament was snapped by fifth-seeded Shorter University, 23-16. The Hawks, who are transitioning from NCWA to NCAA Division II, then lost an even tighter 23-19 decision to NCAA DI Grand Canyon University in the championship final.
Against Liberty, Shorter overcame an early 12-6 deficit by winning five of the final six bouts, all but Thompson's 14-5 major decision of John Hoyt at 197. Diehl landed the only pin of the match, decking Jesse Jones in 2:32 at 133 before Lewis and Boontjer scored Liberty's two decisions at 141 and 157.
Complete results from the weekend's dual matches are available online.