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Wrestling Releases 2008-09 Schedule
Fresh off the team's second-consecutive NCAA East Regional title, Liberty Head Wrestling Coach Jesse Castro has announced his 2008-09 schedule. The slate includes four home dual matches, as well as return tournament appearances at the Hoosier Duals, Nittany Lion Open and the Southern Scuffle.
"This year's schedule includes a balance of competitive Division I competition for our third year program," stated Castro. "With the addition of the Virginia Duals and the Body Bar Invitational, hosted by Top 10 program Cornell, our wrestlers will see some of the nation's top competition."
Castro will set his 2008-09 line-up with the program's annual Red and White Intersquad Wrestle Off in the Vines Center on the evening of Oct. 30.
Nearly two weeks later, the Flames officially kick off the 2008-09 campaign by hosting fellow East Regional competitor Gardner-Webb on Nov. 11. Last year, Liberty downed the Bulldogs, 34-6, at the East Regional Duals and finished ahead of second-place Gardner-Webb by 41 points at the NCAA East Regional Championship.
Following a tri-match with The Citadel and Limestone on Nov. 15, Liberty will close out the month of November with tournament action at the Body Bar Invitational (Nov. 22), hosted by Cornell, and a return trip to Bloomington, Ind., the Indiana hosted Hoosier Duals (Nov. 29).
Liberty will nearly replicate its 2007-08 December slate this year, trimming back the schedule by one event.
The weekend of Dec. 6 and 7, the Flames will send split squads to the Keystone State, with the first group heading to York, Pa., for the Spartan Invitational on Dec. 6. The remainder of the roster will be two hours northwest at the prestigious Nittany Lion Open on Dec. 7.
The Flames will continue to venture to the nation's elite events the rest of the calendar year, including tournament stays at the Reno Tournament of Champions (Dec. 18) and the Southern Scuffle (Dec. 29-30).
Following the New Year, the Flames will reduce their extensive travel schedule and remain inside the Commonwealth for their next two events. Liberty will participate in the Virginia Duals in Virginia Beach, Va., on Jan. 9-10.
The Flames returns to Liberty Mountain to begin the dual match portion of their 2008-09 schedule, opening with a home dual against Wyoming on Jan. 16. Liberty will close out the first month of the year with road dual match-ups against N.C. State (Jan. 17), who Liberty tied 18-18 in its 2008 meeting, and Bucknell (Jan. 24).
The Flames make their second trip of the season to Greensboro, N.C., to open the month of February with a dual match-up against UNC Greensboro on Feb. 3.
Four days later, Liberty will get a complete preview of its NCAA East Regional competition when the Flames square off against four other regional programs at the Eastern Regional Duals on Feb. 7. Liberty went unbeaten (4-0) at the Duals last year, en route to the program's second-straight NCAA East Regional title.
The Flames will close out the regular-season portion of their schedule with a trio of dual matches. Liberty begins the season-ending stretch with a road match-up against George Mason (Feb. 17), followed by home duals against VMI (Feb. 19) and Appalachian State (Feb. 23).
Since reinstating its program prior to the 2006-07 season, Liberty has posted a pair of victories over in-state foe VMI, winning 30-13 in Lynchburg on Feb. 15, followed by 30-12 road victory over the Keydets last year in Lexington, Va.
Liberty will put its back-to-back NCAA East Regional titles on the line on March 7, when the Flames participate in the NCAA East Regional Championship. Gardner-Webb, who has finished as event runner-ups in both Liberty's regional championships, will host this year's championship in Boiling Springs, N.C.
For the second-straight year, the wrestling season will culminate in St. Louis, Mo., when Missouri hosts the NCAA National Championship on March 19-21. The Flames sent a program-best six grapplers to the nation's premier wrestling event, with two wrestlers making "Sweet 16" runs during the three-day event.