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Flames Open Day with 27-12 over Camels

February 3, 2009
|  Buies Creek, N.C.
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Brad Clark was one of seven victors on the afternoon, helping the Flames post a 27-12 dual win over Campbell.

Brad Clark was one of seven victors on the afternoon, helping the Flames post a 27-12 dual win over Campbell.

In a rare "day-night" doubleheader of sorts, the Liberty wrestling program opened its day-long excursion in the Tar Heel State with a convincing 27-12 dual victory over Campbell, Tuesday afternoon, at John W. Pope, J., Convocation Center.

The victory snapped the Flames' four-match winless streak and raised Liberty's dual meet record to 6-7-1 on the season. Campbell, who Liberty last defeated, 36-9, in a tri-match hosted by N.C. State on Nov. 8, 2007, fell to 3-9 on the season.

Things looked promising for the homestanding Camels, as Campbell opened the match with a 5-1 decision at 197 pounds. Parker Burns controlled the bout from the onset, holding Andrew Wilson to a single escape point, en route to Burns' team-leading seventh victory in dual matchups this season.

The home team needed more than seven minutes to extend its advantage, as the heavyweight bout went into overtime. Liberty's Brandon Johnson, wrestling up a weight class, fought valiantly in his matchup with Khiry Reid, forcing a 1-1 stalemate at the end of regulation.

However, the freshman heavyweight put a move on Johnson to score a takedown with 38 ticks left in the extra period, netting Campbell a 3-1 decision and a 6-0 dual lead.

Liberty, unable to field a competitor at 125 pounds for the sixth straight dual, forfeited its bout to C.J. Gittens, widening the Camels' lead to 12-0 after three weight classes.

The Flames started to see a momentum shift in their direction at 133 pounds, as Christian Smith picked up his first victory by technical fall on the year. The three-time national qualifying senior blanked Richie Apolinar, 18-0, to get the Flames on the scoreboard after 133 pounds, 12-5.

Tim Harner continued his dominance over foes, winning his seventh straight when he pinned Kelin Bidelspach with 30 seconds left in the second period. The fall at 5:30 was the senior's seventh pin in his last 10 bouts, pulling the Flames within a point, 12-11.

Frankie Gayeski kept things rolling for Liberty, as the Lehigh transfer carded his first major decision victory of the year with an 18-5 victory at 149 pounds over Joel Caudill, propelling the Flames into the lead for good, 15-12.

Shaun Smith began a string of four straight decision wins for the Flames to close out the dual match victory with an 8-4 win over Jake Fose at 157 pounds.

Brad Clark leveled his season record at 11-11 with a 4-0 blanking of Steve Wiktorek at 165 pounds, while Aaron Kelley snapped a personal three-match losing skid with a 7-1 win over Ryan Ham at 174 pounds.

Chris Daggett put an exclamation mark on the day's victory, picking up a 9-2 decision over Kyle Higgins at 184 pounds for his 15th win of the season.

The Flames will now drive roughly 90 miles west across the state of North Carolina, where they will face off against UNC Greensboro at Fleming Gymnasium at 7 p.m., to wrap up their pair of dual events for the day.