Feb 23, 2010

Wrestling takes down Patriots

by Brittany Barclay

Liberty University’s wrestling team bounced back after its loss against the No. 23 Rutgers Scarlet Knights with a dominating dual victory against George Mason Thursday. The victory raises Liberty’s record to 10-9 for the season, and drops George Mason to 3-10-1 on the year. It also marked the second year the Flames have beat George Mason at home, winning last year 23-19.

To begin, Jonathan Childress wrestled for the Flames in the 125-pound weight class against the Patriots’ Brian Wright. Wright scored individual takedowns in the first and second periods to grab a quick 4-0 lead after the first two periods. Wright put the match out of reach for Childress as he scored a reversal and three near-fall points in the third period.

Liberty bounced back in the next match when Joey Pantaleo managed to score the first points of the bout in the second period, when he got two takedowns. George Mason’s Denny Herndon was then issued a penalty after Herndon tried to stall the match during the final period of the 133-pound match.

“It always feels empowering to come out with a win. It’s motivating to see the positive results that come out of all the practices and cutting weight,” said Pantaleo.

In the 141-pound class, Liberty was able to take the lead as T.J. Mitchell was awarded a forfeit.

With the momentum rolling in Liberty’s direction, senior Frankie Gayeski grabbed his team-leading 23rd win of the season after earning a 9-2 decision victory over Brandon Bucher at 149 pounds. As back-to-back reversals continued throughout the first two periods, Gayeski put the match out of reach with two near-fall points added to another reversal.

Senior Shaun Smith followed Gayeski’s lead with a victory over Aaron Keeton. The match was tied when Keeton scored a takedown, but Smith was able to regroup and score his eighth win in his first nine bouts.

Chad Porter was next for Liberty in the 165-pound weight class, and opened with a quick takedown on Frankie McLaughlin. Porter continued to control the pace of the match when he scored his second takedown and ended the bout with a pin at 2:49, giving him his 20th win on the season.

“I went into the match calm, with no expectations and luckily it ended in my favor. I try not to think too much into it. I’m just trying to stay focused for what’s ahead because nationals are just around the corner,” said Porter.

In the next match, Liberty’s Brad Clark faced off against the nation’s No. 12 ranked wrestler, Mendbagana Tovuujav. Tovuujav made easy work of Clark, pinning him in just 31 seconds.

Nick Knowles kept Liberty’s spirits up with a 8-6 decision victory over Greg Scott at 184 pounds. Jacobi Johnson did the same against Bill Widener, securing a 7-5 victory at the 197-pound weight class.

With the overall win for Liberty already reached, heavyweight Josh Pelletier took to the mat to finish off the night for the Flames. His 4-1 victory over Adam Barnette made the final score 30-10.

The Flames’ final match of the season is slated for Tuesday against Appalachian State.

Contact Brittany Barclay
at bmbarclay@liberty.edu.

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