Mar 2, 2010

Wrestling takes down Mountaineers in final match

by Brittany Barclay

For the second-straight outing, the Liberty Flames wrestling team won by a convincing score in closing out the 2009-2010 season with a 25-10 victory over Appalachian State Tuesday night.

The win wrapped up Liberty’s fourth season on the mats after a 12-year hiatus with a 11-9 dual record. The Flames second straight victory over the Mountaineers marked Head Coach Jesse Castro’s 50th career dual victory in his fourth season at the helm for Liberty.

“It feels good, but I am quite aware that it has been the athletes who have won those matches,” Castro said. “It has been their commitment to jump start this program from its reinstatement back in 2006.”

To begin the dual, Liberty’s Shaun Smith opened up for the Flames at 157 pounds against Appalachian State’s Chip Powell. He picked up his 60th career victory by a score of 7-6, sending the senior into Liberty’s Eagle Medal Club at the bronze level and giving his team a 3-0 lead.

Chad Porter of Liberty was next in the 165-pound weight class against Kyle Blevins. Both wrestlers have had successful records lately, so from the very beginning it looked like it was going to be a tight bout. The match could not be decided during regulation, but Porter was the one who made the move in the overtime period, scoring a takedown to gain his 21st victory of the season and increasing the lead to 6-0.

Brad Clark ended Carter Downs’ winning streak in the next match with a 5-2 victory in the 174-pound weight class, putting Liberty up 9-0 after three matches.

Appalachian State sent out their top wrestler in the next match looking to get on the scoreboard. Austin Trotman, who is ranked No. 19 in the country, wrestled against redshirt sophomore Nick Knowles in the 184-pound weight class. Trotman escaped with a close 5-4 decision victory for his 13th win in a row. Knowles held strong throughout the entire match, giving Trotman his closest decision match during his recent winning streak.

Dylan Temple of Appalachian State kept the momentum in favor of the Mountaineers with his 11-3 major victory over Jacobi Johnson, bringing the score to 9-7.

Josh Pelletier made sure the Mountaineers comeback would fall short, picking up a 4-1 victory over Ken Altarac for his 14th victory of the season.

The little men were next in the 125-pound weight class, as Appalachian State’s Tony Gravely took a 5-2 decision over Liberty’s freshman Jonathan “Chili” Childress.

Despite the loss, Castro is optimistic that Childress will have a productive career in a Liberty uniform with one full season of Division I wrestling under his belt.

“I am extremely proud of Chili,” Castro said. “He is made of the stuff champions are made of, mainly perseverance. It takes an extreme amount of character and perspective to subject oneself to such a humbling process. I believe in him. A breakthrough awaits him.”

In the next match at 133 pounds, Joey Pantaleo started the first of three straight victories for Liberty. The redshirt freshman controlled his bout with Weston Haney quickly, and pinned the sophomore at 1:28.

“All I could think about was staying in good position and being aggressive. I wanted to get the pin really badly, so I made sure to specifically plan and focus on the technical aspects that would allow me to pin him,” Pantaleo said.

Both Scott Clymer and Frankie Gayeski followed suit with wins for Liberty in both the 141 and 149-pound weight classes. Clymer took on Chris Collura and picked up a 14-2 major decision win, while Gayeski won by a count of 8-3 over Savva Kostis to secure the 25-10 win.

The Flames will prepare for the NCAA Eastern Regional Duals in Millersville, Pa., slated to begin March 6.

Contact Brittany Barclay
at bmbarclay@liberty.edu.
 


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