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Liberty Drops Opener to Chippewas at Duals
The victory for Central Michigan, its 13th dual victory in its last 14 dual match-ups, moves the Chippewas along in the winner's bracket where they will next face No. 21 Old Dominion. Earlier in the day, the Monarchs advanced with a 27-9 victory over Northern Colorado.
The Flames will square off against the Bears in an elimination match-up later on this afternoon. Liberty enters the bout with an even 4-4 dual match record this year, while Northern Colorado 1-5-1, has lost their last four duals, all to Top 25 programs.
The Flames match-up with Central Michigan opened with two highly successful freshmen facing off, as the Chippewas 125-pounder, Scotti Sentes, entered the tournament ranked No. 9 nationally, while Liberty's rookie, Joe Pantaleo, entered the weekend with a 11-6 first-year collegiate mark.
However, an injury to Pantaleo cut the bout short, leaving Central Michigan with an early six-point advantage following the medical forfeit.
Conor Beebe kept the victorious match going for Central Michigan, as the No. 13 wrestler at 133 pounds scored a 10-1 major decision over Christian Smith.
Tim Harner, returning to his familiar 141 pound weight class for the second event this year, pinned Eric Kruger in the second period, with the win by fall at 4:12, pulling Liberty back within four points of the Chippewas, 10-6.
Frankie Gayeski, fresh off an eighth-place finish at the Southern Scuffle, kept things close at 149 pounds; however, Ryan Cubberly started a string of victories for Central Michigan with a 6-1 decision.
Ryan's younger brother, Eric, kept things rolling for the Chippewas with a 7-3 decision over Shaun Smith at 157 pounds, while Brad Clark fell in a decision to Trevor Stewart, 11-4, who is ranked No. 10 at 165 pounds.
Liberty and Central Michigan managed to split the remaining two weight classes, starting with a win by fall for the Flames. Aaron Kelley pinned Don Dryer to the mat 28 seconds into the second period, pulling Liberty back within seven points in the overall dual, 19-12, after the 174 weight class.
Central Michigan quickly answered back with a pair of major decisions, starting with Vince DiDona's 10-2 victory over Chris Daggett at 184 pounds. Eric Simaz secured the dual victory for Central Michigan with a 9-0 blanking of Brandon Johnson at 197 pounds.
Patrick Walker rounded out the Flames' opening round match-up at the state event with a victory, handing Jarod Trice, the MAC's second-ranked heavyweight, a 6-4 setback.