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Pair Pace Flames in Third-Place Finish
Chris Daggett and Tim Harner led a quintet of Liberty wrestlers who placed at the Virginia State Intercollegiates on Saturday, helping Liberty finish third out of six teams at the Commonwealth event, hosted by Virginia at John Paul Jones Arena.
Old Dominion, ranked No. 24 in the latest USA Today/InterMat/NWCA Division I Coaches Poll, edged out host Virginia for the event team title, 107 to 101. For the second year in a row, the Flames claimed third at the intra-state wrestling meet, finishing over 60 points behind the Cavaliers with 40.5 points.
George Mason was fourth with 32.5 points, while VMI (15 points) and Apprentice (six points) rounded out the six-team field in the final standings.
Daggett, seeded No. 2 at 184 pounds, got a bye to the semifinal round, where he shut out third-seeded Curtis Moore of VMI, 8-0, for a major decision win to propel the sophomore into the title bout. However, top seeded Jesse Strawn claimed the weight class title with a third-period pin (6:42), one of six Monarch individual titles on the afternoon.
Daggett's second-place finish was followed by a pair of third-place winners and a fourth-place finish to account for one of Liberty's top grapplers in the annual Commonwealth classic.
Harner was the other runner-up finisher for the Flames on the afternoon, placing second at 141 pounds. The junior opened with a win by fall (2:07) over VMI's Zach Anderson, followed by a pair of decision over George Mason's Will Powars (6-4) and Virginia's Kellon Balum.
The three-straight wins propelled Harner into the championship bout, where he suffered a 13-4 major decision lost to top seed and No. 12 nationally ranked Ryan Williams of Old Dominion.
Following a 12-4 major decision loss to top-seeded Kyle Hutter of Old Dominion, T.J. Mitchell used a 6-2 decision win over VMI's Ryan Goodsell to claim third place at 133 pounds.
After upsetting third-seeded Dan Rivera of Old Dominion in an 8-4 decision, Julian Colon dropped a 7-3 decision to Virginia's Brent Fiorito to fall to the consolation bracket.
Colon picked up a 17-6 major decision victory over teammate Josh Duren to advance to the third-round bout, where he pulled off his second upset of the afternoon with a 7-2 decision over the 157-pound top seed Kyle Artusio of Virginia.
Rounding out Liberty's place winners on the afternoon was Pat Hogan at 197 pounds. The sophomore opened with a 14-3 major decision victory over Apprentice's Kendall Ridenour, before falling to top seeded Brent Jones, 5-0, of Virginia.
Following a second-period pin (3:15) of fellow teammate Jacobi Johnson, Hogan lost by fall in the first round (0:51) to Old Dominion's David Mendoza to place fourth.
The Flames will open up the home portion of their 2007-08 wrestling schedule next Saturday, when they welcome N.C. State to the Vines Center. The dual match is schedule to kick off at 7 p.m., marking one of four home events for Liberty's wrestling team this year.