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Liberty and N.C. State Grapple to Draw Again
With the dead-even outcome, the Flames season' dual match record now stands at 5-6-1, as Liberty suffered a 44-3 setback to Wyoming earlier in the day. N.C. State, a program who has 14 ACC championships to its credit, is 3-7-1 on the year.
Both teams benefited from forfeited matches, as N.C. State's Mike Moreno claimed a forfeit at 125 pounds, while Liberty's Brandon Johnson gave the Flames six points with an uncontested win at 197 pounds.
Christian Smith halted his personal four-match losing streak, taking a 6-4 decision from Darrius Little at 133 pounds.
Tim Harner continued to shine in his return to the 141 pound weight division, upended No. 11 Joe Caramancia, 10-2, with the major decision giving the senior his fifth straight victory and the Flames a 7-6 lead in the overall dual.
N.C. State quickly answered back, as Darrion Caldwell, who is currently ranked No. 3 nationally at 149 pounds, pinned Zack McCray with 21 seconds left in the first period. The six points allowed the Wolfpack to regain the advantage, 12-7.
N.C. State took the next two bouts by decision, starting with a 6-1 win by Kody Hamrah over Shaun Smith at 157 pounds. Ray Ward pushed the Wolfpack's lead to 11 points, 18-7, with a 6-3 decision win over Brad Clark at 165 pounds.
The homestanding program continued to widen its margin when Jake Burge picked up his 11th victory of the season with a 12-3 major decision over Aaron Kelley at 174 pounds.
However, back-to-back six point bouts got the Flames within three points, 22-19. Chris Daggett controlled his 184-pound session with Mark Jahad before the N.C. State's senior had to bow out at 2:32 due to an injury.
Following the forfeit at 197 pounds, the outcome of the overall dual was left in the hands of the heavyweights. And for the second straight year, Liberty's Patrick Walker picked up a six point decision win over Bobby Isola, with the 8-2 decision ending in favor of the Flames and knotting the dual, 22-22, at the final buzzer.
The Flames will return to the wrestling mats, next Saturday, when Liberty travels to Bucknell, Pa., to face the Bison for the second time in three years. The last time Liberty made the trek north, the Flames overcame a sizeable early deficit to knock off homestanding Bucknell, 25-24, on Jan. 19, 2007.