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Blue Squad Takes Annual Preseason Wrestle Off

October 30, 2008
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Christian Smith secured his starting position with a 6-1 decision, helping the Blue squad to a 19-9 victory in the Flames annual preseason wrestle off match.

Christian Smith secured his starting position with a 6-1 decision, helping the Blue squad to a 19-9 victory in the Flames annual preseason wrestle off match.

Wins at 125 and 133 pounds gave the Blue squad a lead it would never relinquish, as the Blue team defeated the Red squad, 19-9, in the Flames annual preseason wrestle off match, Thursday evening, in the Schilling Center.

The intrasquad match, used by head coach Jesse Castro to determine the Flames' starting line-up, opening with a 10-2 major decision victory by Joe Pantaleo over Sean Katz at 125 pounds.

A late takedown by Pantaleo in the first period with three near-fall points, gave the freshman a 5-0 lead after the first. Following a scoreless second period, a reversal by Pantaleo and a second takedown secured the victory to give the Blue squad a four-point major decision.

Two-time NCAA national qualifier Christian Smith quickly scored two points with a takedown over Cameron Hurd at 133 pounds. The score remained the same until the waning minutes of the second, when Smith escaped from the grasp of Hurd and took down the freshman with 10 seconds left in the period.

The experienced Smith controlled the third and final period, with neither grappler adding to the scoreboard outside of the senior's extra point for 3:17 minutes of riding time. The victory pushed the Blue's overall match margin to seven points, 7-0.

The Red squad finally broke through at 141 pounds, as Frankie Gayeski scored a 6-2 decision victory over Joey Montgomery. A takedown by Montgomery and a reversal by Gayeski left the match knotted at 2-2 following the first three minutes of action.

A second-period escape and a third-period takedown, compiled with an extra point for 1:14 of riding time, gave Gayeski the win and trimmed the Blue's lead to four points, 7-3.

The Blue team ran its most experienced wrestler out onto the mat next in three-time NCAA national qualifier Tim Harner against Zac McCray at 149 pounds. Harner, who is ranked No. 17 nationally at 141 pounds, suffered no affects from wrestling up a weight class for the first time this year, controlling the match en route to a 7-1 decision win.

Harner scored takedowns in each of the three periods, while adding an escape in the second period. McCray finally escaped Harner's hold late in the third period to tally the junior's lone point of the match, which pushed Blue's lead back to seven points, 10-3.

Shaun Smith and Julian Colon took to the mats next in one of the closest bouts of the exhibition dual at 157 pounds. Smith held a 2-1 lead after the first period, as the junior took an early lead with a takedown.

Smith chose to open the second down and quickly escaped, but Colon battled back and tied the match at 3-3 with a two-point takedown before the second period buzzer sounded.

Following Smith's second-period lead, Colon scored a one-point escape point during the opening ticks of the third period and was able to evade several charges by Smith to secure the 4-3 decision and pull the Red back within four points, 10-6.

The back and forth battle between the two squads continued at 165 pounds, as Sam Rakes recorded a 4-1 decision over Brad Clark to push he Blue's lead back to seven points, 13-6.

Rakes, a three-time Virginia state high school champion, opened the first period with a two-point takedown. The match score remained the same until the third, when Clark got away from Rakes for an escape point. However, the freshman secured the three-point victory with a two-point takedown just as the final buzzer sounded.

Experience continued to reign for Liberty's NCAA national qualifiers at 174 pounds, as Aaron Kelley, fresh off his first trip to the NCAA Championship event, secured his starting role with a 3-1 victory over Nick Knowles.

Kelley scored a two-point takedown in the first and an one-point escape in the second to open up a 3-0 lead after two periods. Knowles negated the chance of a shutout, escaping from Kelley in the third to record the match's final point and pull the Red squad back within four points, 13-9.

Due to injuries, the Flames were unable to field bouts at 184, 197 and heavyweight, leaving the outcome of the dual in the hands of two extra exhibitions at 149 and 157 pounds.

Ryan McDonnell and Justin Krop opened the extra two match-ups at 149 pounds. McDonnell remained the aggressor most of the match, blanking Krop, 3-0, to push Blue's lead to six points, 16-6.

McDonnell scored a takedown in the first and escaped from the down position in the third, while almost picking up an extra point as he finished the match three seconds shy of the riding time point threshold (57 seconds).

In the final bout of the evening, Josh Duren downed Aaron Thompson, 3-2, at 157 pounds. The match-up remained scoreless until the second period, when Duren notched an escape point and a two-point takedown.

Thompson fought back and remained in the match with escapes in the second and third period, but Duren held on for the one-point win to give Blue its seventh victory of the dual and a final 10-point lead, 19-9.

The Flames will have the next two weeks to train for their opening dual of the season when they host NCAA East Regional opponent Gardner-Webb on Nov. 11. The season-opening dual is scheduled for 7 p.m., inside the Vines Center.

Blue 19, Red 9
125 – Joe Pantaleo (BLUE) major dec. Sean Katz (RED), 10-2 – BLUE 4-0
133 – Christian Smith (BLUE) dec. Cameron Hurd (RED), 6-0 – BLUE 7-0
141 – Frank Gayeski (RED) dec. Joey Montgomery (BLUE), 6-2 – BLUE 7-3
149 – Tim Harner (BLUE) dec. Zac McCray (RED), 7-1 – BLUE 10-3
157 – Julian Colon (RED) dec. Shaun Smith (BLUE), 4-3 – BLUE 10-6
165 – Sam Rakes (BLUE) dec. Brad Clark (RED), 4-1 – BLUE 13-6
174 – Aaron Kelley (RED) dec. Nick Knowles (BLUE), 3-1 – BLUE 13-9
184 – No match scheduled due to injuries
197 – No match scheduled due to injuries
HWT – No match scheduled due to injuries
149 (Ex.) – Ryan McDonnell (BLUE) dec. Justin Krop (RED), 3-0 – BLUE 16-9
157 (Ex.) – Josh Duren (BLUE) dec. Aaron Thompson (RED), 3-2 – BLUE 19-9