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Lewis Claims Victory at 141 Pounds
The Flames narrowly edged out the host Spartans, finishing with 59 team points, which was 1.5 points head of York's 57.5 fourth-place finish. Delaware Valley dominated the event, finishing in first place with 157 points, which was 78 points ahead of second-place College of New Jersey (79 points).
The finish showed continued improvement for the wrestling program, as the Flames finished seventh out of 11 teams last year at the Spartan Invitational with 26 points. Liberty nearly tripled its point total during this year's event, finishing third out of 11 teams.
Lewis, a freshman competing in his second event as a member of the team, dominated the field at 141 pounds to claim the weight class victory. Lewis opened the day with a win by technical fall (5:50, 17-1), over Washington's Nick Centra.
Following a 6-0 blanking over Stevens Institute's Pat Conrad, the grappler put himself into the championship bout with a 7-4 decision over York's Ryan Catton. Lewis capped off the stellar day with an 11-2 major decision win over Elizabethtown's Terry Bartholomew for the title.
Another freshman, T.J. Mitchell, gave Liberty a second-place finish at 133 pounds. The rookie opened his run to the championship round with a 16-1 major decision over Apprentice's Charles Wood. Following a pair of decision wins, including a narrow 6-5 victory over Delaware Valley's Tramaine Franklin to get to the finals, the rookie lost a 5-3 decision to Centenary's Mike Gummerson.
Sean Katz, at 125 pounds, gave Liberty its first of two third-place finishes on the day. The sophomore posted back-to-back wins by fall, before dropping a tight 6-5 decision to eventual weight class victor Kyle Flickinger.
After moving to the consolation bracket, Katz placed in the Spartan Invitational for the second-straight year with a 2-0 win over College of New Jersey's Dan Hughes. Last year, the 125-pounder placed fourth at the event, where he posted a 3-2 record on the day.
Rounding out Liberty's placing wrestlers during the event was Julian Colon at 157 pounds, finishing in third place. Colon opened his day with an 18-0 major decision over Delaware Valley's Mark Hague. After a 4-3 decision win over Stevens Institute's Charles Favia, Colon was dropped to the consolation bracket following a quick pin (22 seconds) by weight class runner-up Ryan Herwig.
A bye placed Colon in the third-place bout, where the rookie was able to record a 6-2 decision win over Centenary's Mike Torsiello to claim Liberty's second third-place prize of the day. Liberty did not enter wrestlers in the upper five weight classes.
The Liberty grapplers will wrap up a trip to the Keystone State tomorrow when the remainder of the Flames take to the mats at the prestigious Nittany Lion Open, hosted by Penn State in State College, Pa.
Last year, Liberty had four wrestlers place at the event, which is one of the largest open wrestling tournaments on the east coast.