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Three Liberty Wrestlers Place at Penn State
Wrestlers Aaron Kelley (174 pounds), Chris Daggett (184 pounds) and Patrick Walker (285 pounds) each placed in one of the strongest open tournaments annually on the East Coast.
This year, 45 teams and over 600 wrestlers participated in the event. The tournament's field included seven nationally ranked teams in Cornell (fourth), Lehigh (10th), host Penn State (13th), Edinboro (15th), Hofstra (18th), Indiana (19th) and Kent State (25th).
Daggett's performance highlighted the day, as the senior finished second at 184 pounds. Daggett, who was ranked 17th in his weight class last week, won four straight matches to reach his bracket's championship match. He opened the tournament with a 6-2 win over Anthony Tortora of Hostra and a second-round victory, 5-3, over George Mason's Bill Widener. Daggett then moved into the 184-pound semifinals with a win by fall over McPaul Ogbonna from Rutgers, who was wrestling unattached. The senior advanced to the final with a 4-3 win over Navy's Casey Caldwell. Daggett's victory run came to an end in the final between two nationally ranked grapplers, as he lost by fall 22 seconds into the match, to No. 14 Josh Patterson of Binghamton.
Walker, who finished sixth in the same event in 2006, placed fourth at 285 pounds. The junior began the day with a 6-0 blanking of Ivan Muller of The Citadel and moved into the semifinals of his bracket with a 3-2 victory over Rider's Ed Bordas. In the semifinals, Walker dropped to the consolation bracket after a 4-0 setback to No. 11 Rashard Goff of Cleveland State. The 285 pounder then fell in the third-place match, 8-0, to Maryland's Pat Gilmore, to place fourth in the tournament.
Kelley captured fifth place at 174 pounds. The junior opened his bracket by scoring a 12-2 major decision over Greg Scott of George Mason. He followed up his opening-round win with another major decision victory over Mercyhurt's Pat Leahy in his next match, before falling to the consolation bracket with an 8-1 setback to Luke Rebertus of Navy. In his first consolation match, the junior advanced with a win by fall at 1:42 over J.T. Miller of Cleveland State. Kelley then picked up a 9-2 decision over Daniel Rinaldi, wrestling unattached from Rutgers. In the fifth-place match, the Flames' 174 pounder captured the consolation bracket and fifth place with an 8-3 win over Maryland's Corey Peltier.
Liberty next travels to another prestigious wrestling event. The Flames will participate in the Reno Tournament of Champions in Reno, Nev. The all-day event starts at 11:30 a.m. on Dec. 18.