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Colon Leads at Reno Tournament of Champions
Julian Colon paced the way for the Flames at this year's Reno Tournament of Champions, finishing with a 2-2 record to lead a group of six Liberty grapplers to post victories at one of the larger West Coast wrestling events annually.
The top two programs in the field of 30 teams finished atop the team standings, as No. 13 Oklahoma State edged out No. 17 Edinboro, 146.5 points to 132.5 points. Edinboro led the field with three individual champions. However, the Cowboys had seven of their wrestlers finish third or better, including four second-place finishers, to help capture the team title.
For the third straight year, the Flames placed in the event, as Liberty finished 28th out of 30 teams with 7.5 points. In 2006, the Flames had their best showing, recording a 13th-place finish with 39 points, followed by a 19th-place showing with 16.5 points last year.
After dropping a 5-1 decision to Ohio's Clay Tucker to open the 157-pound bracket, Colon started his run in the wrestleback bracket with a 12-5 decision over The Citadel's Koziel Keith.
The sophomore kept things going with an 8-2 decision over Wyoming's Tyler Davis, before falling in a narrow 3-2 decision to eventual third-place finisher Thomas Scotton from North Carolina.
Liberty's other winners on the day were Tim Harner at 149 pounds, Shaun Smith at 157 pounds, Brad Clark at 165 pounds, Aaron Kelley at 174 pounds and Chris Daggett at 184 pounds. All five wrestlers finished with 1-2 records.
Harner's victory came over Western Wyoming's Jarod Hammond in a 7-2 decision in the championship bracket, while Smith posted a 5-4 decision victory over Wyoming's Brock Smith to open up the wrestleback bracket.
Clark and Kelley also notched victories in the championship bracket, starting with Clark's blanking of Nebraska-Kearney's Jordan Gienger in a 7-0 decision win. Kelley followed by posting Liberty's lone win by fall on the day, pinning Western Wyoming's Johnny Ortega at 4:46.
The Flames' final victor during the all-day event was Daggett, who is currently ranked No. 18 at 184 pounds. After falling to the wrestleback bracket, the senior upended No. 4 seed Mickey Moran from Buffalo in a 5-4 decision, before bowing out of the event with a 7-3 decision loss to Oregon State's Brice Arand.
After taking some time off for the Christmas holiday, the Flames will return to the wrestling mats on Dec. 29 and 30, when they travel to Greensboro, N.C., to participate in the Southern Scuffle.