Flames wrestlers roll over Mules to finish 11-1 in dual meets
February 17, 2018 | Allentown, Pa.
Liberty University's men's wrestling team got snowed in Allentown, Pa., after Saturday night's dual match at Muhlenberg College when six inches fell on northern Pennsylvania. On the mat, the Flames used the snowball effect to roll over the NCAA Division III Mules, 34-8, improving to 11-1 on the year in dual-meet competition.
"We spoiled the party," Liberty Head Coach Jesse Castro said, noting that Muhlenberg had scheduled the NCWA Flames on its Senior Night. "We didn't wrestle all that well as a team. We were a little flat, but we were better prepared. We've been training pretty hard lately and we out-conditioned them and were the better team tonight."
Keegan Smith opened the night with an 11-5 decision over Muhlenberg's Conner McGee at 125 pounds before fellow Flames freshman Blake Justis pinned Chris Cornell 2 minutes, 8 seconds into their 133-pound match and Liberty sophomore Ashton Robinson picked up a forfeit win at 141.
"After opening a 15-0 lead through the lightweight matches, we felt pretty good going into our middle weights," Castro said.
|Flames 157-pounder Andrew Burgette won his match by 7-0 decision. (Photo by Nathan Spencer)|
The Flames, who feature a top-heavy lineup, only got stronger as the match progressed and they gained momentum through the 285-pound bout, where senior Austin Amos capped the lopsided victory with a 19-6 major decision over the Mules' Scott Schaeffer.
One of Liberty's best performances came from junior co-captain Josh McIlhenny, who earned an 18-2 technical fall over Mike Cannon at 184 pounds.
"Josh looked like a human spider out there," Castro said. "He wrestled unbelievably well, throwing the guy in cradles left and right and turning him every which way but loose."
Castro was happy with the Flames' 11-1 mark in dual matches, including their record third NCWA National Duals crown, and expects the team to fare just as well in individual tournament competition.
Liberty begins postseason competition Saturday when it will seek its seventh consecutive Mid-Atlantic Conference tournament championship at the LaHaye Multipurpose Center and attempt to qualify as many individuals as possible for the March 8-10 NCWA Grand Nationals in Allen, Texas, with top-five finishes.
Liberty 34, Muhlenberg 8
125: Keegan Smith (L) d. Conner McGee (M), 11-5
133: Blake Justis (L) p. Chris Cornell (M), 2:08
141: Ashton Robinson (L) by forfeit
149: Chad Cantrell (L) m.d. Ben Peck (M), 16-4
157: Andrew Burgette (L) d. Michael Dougan (M), 7-0
165: Dylan Schwartz (M) m.d. David Cox (L), 12-4
174: Sam Karel (L) d. Tommy DiSisto (M), 7-0
184: Josh McIlhenny (L) t.f. Mike Cannon (M)18-2
197: Gennaro Derminara (M) m.d. Taylor Westlake (L), 13-5
285: Austin Amos (L) m.d. Scott Schaeffer (M) 19-6