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Flames are Steady at the Hoosier Duals
In their first duals match-ups of the year, the Flames finished the all-day event with a 1-4 record. Liberty opened the day with a 22-10 loss to Ohio, followed by its victory over Cumberland. The Flames closed out the afternoon with losses to Oregon (21-12), Indiana (32-9) and Duke (27-13).
Liberty opened its match with Ohio strong winning the first three weight classes. Sean Katz started with a 10-0 major decision win at 125 pounds, followed by Christian Smith's 5-0 blanking of Quentin Keyes at 133 pounds.
Tim Harner kept things rolling for Liberty with an 11-7 win at 141 pounds, but the victory would be Liberty's last, as Ohio rolled off seven-straight weight class wins to post the victory.
Katz and Smith got the Flames off to another strong start with a 3-0 decision and a 9-1 major decision win, respectively. Cumberland came storming back with four-straight weight class victories, opening up a 13-7 lead.
But Aaron Kelley swung the momentum back Liberty's way with a 17-1 technical fall win over Damion Stephenson at 174 pounds. Nick Knowles gave the Flames the lead with a 5-3 decision at 184 pounds, before Patrick Walker sealed the victory with a quick win by fall (1:13) over David Dierken at heavyweight to clinch the win.
Against Oregon, Harner and Shaun Smith were victors for Liberty. Harner picked up a 6-3 decision over Cody Moulton at 141 pounds and Smith pulled out a 6-4 overtime win against Jeremy McLaughlin at 157 pounds.
Homestanding Indiana, who was a perfect 5-0 on the day, controlled the Flames from the beginning, winning eight out of 10 weight class match-ups. Harner was one of two Liberty victors against the Hoosier with a 3-1 win over Scott Kelly at 141 pounds. Walker picked up his second win by fall to record Liberty's other win, pinning Justin Kuhn at 3:51.
Liberty looked like it might finish off the day with a win over Duke in the 6 p.m. match-ups, as the Flames opened up a 13-6 lead after 157 pounds. Christian Smith pinned Chris Thumen (2:23) at 133 pounds, followed by Harner's 10-7 decision at 141 pounds.
Shaun Smith gave the Flames their largest lead, 13-6, with a major decision (12-4) over Mike Bell at 157 pounds. But the Blue Devils won the final five weight classes to claim the dual match-ups win.
Harner was the standout for the Flames on the day, posting a perfect 4-0 record with four-straight wins by decision. Christian Smith followed with a 3-2 record, which included a major decision and a win by fall. Walker won both his match-ups at heavyweight by fall.
The Flames return to the wrestling mats next weekend when a split squad takes to the Keystone State. A partial squad will travel to York, Pa., on Saturday for the Spartan Invitational. The remainder of the squad will travel to State College, Pa., on Sunday to partake in the Nittany Lion Open.