Club Sports News

Flames fourth in American College division at Virginia Duals

January 9, 2016  |  Hampton, Va. 

Flames fourth in American College division at Virginia Duals test test test test

In its first dual meet competition of the season, following six individual tournaments in the fall, Liberty University's wrestling team experienced mixed results at the Virginia Duals, going 2-2 to place fourth in the American College division of the Virginia Duals at the Hampton Coliseum.

The Flames opened the tournament with a 30-18 victory over Camden County College, winning their first five bouts, including three by fall — 125-pound freshman in 2 minutes, 2 seconds over David Harris-Norton; 141-pound sophomore Logan Smith in 30 seconds over Larry Scheick; and 149-pound junior Ike Podell in 37 seconds over Sam Henderson — and a 16-1 technical fall by freshman 133-pounder Brian DiCesare over Mike DiMeo. Junior 174-pounder Josh Ferenczy also won an 11-0 major decision over Matt O'Donnell and freshman Jacob Brooks scored a 10-6 decision over Cliff Owens at 157 pounds.

Liberty advanced to Saturday's championship semifinal against No. 1-seeded Kutztown (Pa.), the eventual champion. It lost that match, 28-15, but Flames Head Coach Jesse Castro was encouraged by his wrestlers' competitiveness, with Podell pinning Joe Esposito in 1:10 at 149, Ferenczy conquering Joseph Balboni by fall in 5:40 at 174 and sophomore heavyweight Evan Canady edging Christian Jenko, 3-2.

"I was actually very pleased," he said. "Kutztown is ranked No. 11 or 12 in NCAA Division II, so it's a pretty solid team and I thought we really battled well."

In the consolation semifinals, the Flames squared off against Mid-Atlantic Conference rival Apprentice School from nearby Newport News, Va., and steamrolled over the Builders, 44-9, paced by pins from Ferenczy in 3:16 over Chad Simmons at 174, Canady in 1:27 over Steven Francisco at 235, and senior heavyweight Josh Travers over Gino Saunders in 1:12.

"We got on a nice roll and beat them up pretty good," Castro said.

However, Liberty entered the consolation final against Central Florida with a bit of a handicap, forced to forfeit the 133-pound weight class after DiCesari suffered a rib injury while being pinned in the third period of his match against Apprentice's Aaron Bright.

In a rematch of last year's 23-15 NCWA National Duals tournament triumph, the Flames lost to Central Florida, 32-13, to finish fourth in the eight-team field.

Liberty was led by major decisions from Smith (13-3 over Nicholas Anthony at 141) and sophomore Cody Richmond (10-2 over Calvin Cook at 165) and decisions from Podell (6-4 over Matthew Seymour at 149) and Travers (4-2 over Luttere Eqiaus at heavyweight).

UCF had eliminated Ferrum College — a team the Flames will meet Feb. 10 in their only home match at the LaHaye Multipurpose Center — 24-21, in the consolation semifinals.

"This was our first dual tournament and there is not a lot of time before the NCWA Duals (Jan. 22-23 in Dalton, Ga.)," Castro said.

Next Saturday, Liberty will travel back to Hampton Roads to compete in the Ship Builder Invitational, hosted by the Apprentice School.


By Ted Allen/Staff Writer

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