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Flames Wrestling Program Announces 2007-08 Schedule
After a successful first year back on the mats, which included a NCAA East Regional title and four wrestlers traveling to the national championship, Liberty Head Wrestling Coach Jesse Castro has announced his team's 2007-08 schedule.
The slate includes a return visit for the Flames' grapplers to six tournaments they participated in during the 2006-07 season, along with four new tournaments and six dual matches.
"We were in the dark a bit last year when scheduling since we did not necessarily know the nature of our team," stated Castro. "We have attempted to upgrade our schedule hoping that we will rise to the challenge."
Liberty opens the year at the WVU Open, hosted by the Mountaineers in Morgantown, W.Va., on Nov. 10. The Flames then return to Annapolis, Md., for the Navy Classic on Nov. 17, an event where Liberty placed seventh out of 13 teams last year.
Liberty closes out the month of November by traveling to Bloomington, Ind., to participate in the Hoosier Duals on Nov. 24, hosted by Indiana, who finished the 2006-07 season ranked as one of the nation's top 20 programs.
The Flames will begin the month of December in Pennsylvania, where they will square off against York College in York, Pa., on Dec. 1 in a dual match, followed by Penn State's Nittany Lion Open on Dec. 2 in State College, Pa.
Last year, the Flames had four athletes place at the Nittany Lion Open, the East Coast's largest wrestling event, including a sixth-place finish by Patrick Walker in the heavyweight division.
Liberty closes out the final month of the calendar year with a dual meet at Campbellsville on Dec. 8 and the Reno Tournament of Champions on Dec. 20. Last season, Liberty had an impressive showing at the Reno event, placing 13th out of 29 teams with Tim Harner finishing fifth in the 141-pound weight class.
After the New Year, the Flames travel across the Commonwealth the first two weekends to participate in the Virginia State Intercollegiates (Jan. 5) and Virginia Duals (Jan. 12). Last January, Liberty placed third out of seven teams at the Virginia State Intercollegiates, with Harner being named the event's Outstanding Wrestling after posting an unblemished 4-0 mark.
On Jan. 20, Liberty travels to Ashland, Ohio, for the Wendy's Big Classic Duals hosted by Ashland, before opening its home slate with a quad meet on Jan. 26, which will feature The Citadel, Davidson and Messiah.
Feb. 3, Liberty returns to the Keystone State for the Eastern Regional Duals, hosted by Millersville. The all-day tournament features Delaware State, Duquesne, Gardner-Webb and the host Marauders in an event Liberty narrowly lost to Duquesne, 25-23, in the title match-up last year.
The Flames close out their regular-season schedule with four-consecutive dual matches, beginning with home events against George Mason (Feb. 5) and UNC Greensboro (Feb. 8). Last year, Liberty posted a perfect 5-0 record in home dual meets, helping the Flames compile an impressive 16-8 dual record at year's end.
Liberty wraps up its schedule with dual road matches against Appalachian State (Feb. 13) and VMI (Feb. 22).
The Flames begin postseason play at home this year, as Liberty will host the NCAA East Regional Qualifier on March 9. Last year, the Flames claimed the team title at the regional event with four individuals earning weight class championships and tickets to the NCAA National Championship.
The 2007-08 wrestling schedule will conclude March 20-22 when the best wrestlers in the country invade St. Louis, Mo., for the NCAA National Championship, hosted by Missouri and the St. Louis Sports Commission at the Scottrade Center, the home of the St. Louis Blues hockey program.