Jan 26, 2010

Bison burn Flames in Vines, 30-15

by Brittany Barclay

After a two-month stint on the road, the Liberty Flames wrestling team took on the Bucknell Bisons in the Vines Center on Saturday. With TV cameras rolling and the crowd cheering, the Liberty wrestlers came out of the locker room, ready to break their four-match losing streak.

Bucknell, with an overall record of 7-5 this season, featured three wrestlers in its lineup who are ranked in the top-20 in the country. The match started at 125-pound weight class with Flames freshman John Childress taking on Derrik Russell from Bucknell. Childress shot a smooth outside single into a cradle near the out of bounds line, but eventually worked Russell back in bounds for a quick pin in 1:16, giving Liberty a 6-0 overall team score after the first match.

“I just went out and had a clear mind going into everything. I just wanted to perform in front of the home crowd and came out looking for a win and luckily came out on top,” Childress said.

The next match was the 133-pound weight class where Liberty’s Joe Pantaleo was slated against David Marble, who was ranked No. 17 in the nation coming into the match. Pantaleo did not waste any time, as he recorded the first takedown and geared for an upset victory. Marble was unfazed, however, and countered with three points of his own with an escape and a takedown to go up 3-2 at the end of the first. Marble chose bottom to start the second period of action where he reversed Pantaleo for the pin, evening the team score at 6-6.

After Pantaleo came Scott Clymer, who wrestled John Regan in the 141-pound weight class. Regan started strong with a quick two-point takedown and another two for near fall. Ending the first period down by four points, Clymer came into the second period strong and pinned Regan, putting Liberty up 12-6.

Following that was the 149-pound weight class, where Liberty faced Bucknell’s Kevin LeValley, who was ranked No. 7 in the country. With captain Frankie Gayeski out due to a back injury, Liberty inserted junior Joey Montgomery into the starting lineup. Montgomery, who was wrestling in his first match of the season, had a tough time against the more experienced LeValley. Though Montgomery held strong through the match, LeValley’s technical fall victory over Montgomery in the third period gave Bucknell five team points to pull within 12-11.

The match of the day came in the 157-pound weight class featuring Shaun Smith against Brantley Hooks. Smith, a Flames captain, and Hooks have wrestled each other three out of the past four years, with each picking up a victory.

Hooks started off strong with a one-point escape and then a two-point takedown. Smith did the same, tying it up 3-3 at the end of the third period. The crowd was on its feet as the two battled in the one-minute overtime, where Smith secured a two-point takedown for the win.

In the 165-pound weight class, Chad Porter wrestled Bucknell’s Corey Lear. With the score tied 5-5 at the end of the second period, Porter came up short when Lear pinned him in the middle of the third.

Liberty’s Brad Clark then wrestled No. 17 in the country Shane Riccio in the 174-pound weight class. Riccio came out strong, starting the match with two takedowns and kept hitting hard throughout the duration of the match, eventually winning 11-3.
Liberty’s luck started to run out in the last three matches. At 184, junior Nick Knowles fell short in overtime against Rob Waltko, and 197-pound Jacobi Johnson did the same against Bucknell’s Jay Hahn in the 197-pound weight class.

The last match of the day was the heavyweight class. Sophomore Andrew Wilson took junior Josh Pelletier’s place against Joe McMullan. Both on the lighter end of the weight class, the wrestlers went back and forth as McMullan recorded a two-point takedown, which Wilson followed up with a one-point escape.

The rest of the match was back and forth, but Wilson ended up just short and lost by a score of 6-5. McMullan’s win gave Bucknell a 30-15 victory, moving its record to 8-5 on the season as the Flames fell to 6-7. This week, Liberty has a chance to bounce back on Tuesday as it travels to VMI, and then returns home on Saturday against Campbell University.

Contact Brittany Barclay
at bmbarclay@liberty.edu.

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