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Flames Head to Hoosier Duals for Weekend
This will mark Liberty's third-straight year of making the trek to Bloomington, Ind., to participate in the day-long dual event. During its previous two runs at the event, Liberty has posted three dual victories, sweeping Cumberlands twice and taking a close 25-21 win from South Dakota State, last year.
Liberty will have a chance to make it three in a row against Cumberlands, while the Flames will have a repeat matchup with South Dakota State during this year's event.
The remaining teams in the six-team field are host and No. 11 Indiana, Northern Illinois and Tennessee-Chattanooga. Liberty will be looking for its first-ever victory against the host Hoosiers in the event, falling 34-9 in 2007 and 29-3 in 2008 to a 18th-ranked Indiana program.
This year's field once again includes some of the top-ranked wrestlers in the country, including nine grapplers currently ranked in the latest Top 20 listing.
The host Hoosiers have more than half the previously mentioned grapplers, spotlighted by Angelo Escobedo. The senior, who placed fifth at last year's NCAA national champion, is currently ranked No. 2 nationally at 125 pounds.
Along with Escobedo, Indiana will also roll out four other Top 20 wrestlers, including Kurt Kinser, ranked No. 12 at 157 pounds, Paul Young, listed No. 13 at 165 pounds, Trevor Perry, ranked No. 17 at 174 pounds, and Nathan Everhart, the nation's No. 11 ranked heavyweight.
Three other programs also boast nationally ranked wrestlers, including Tristen DeShaver of Northern Illinois, who is ranked No. 20 at 133 pounds and South Dakota State's Tyler Sorenson, who is listed No. 8 at 197 pounds.
Rounding out the ranked participants are a pair of grapplers from Tennessee-Chattanooga, as Cody Cleveland is ranked No. 10 at 141 pounds and Jake Young is listed at No. 19 at 174 pounds.
Despite the seemingly daunting task, the Flames are coming off a highly successful weekend against ranked programs. Last weekend, Liberty captured the team title at the Keystone Classic, finishing atop the standings that included No. 24 Penn and No. 25 Duke.
All 10 of Liberty's starting wrestlers placed in the event, spotlighted by an individual title by Frankie Gayeski at 149 pounds. Following just behind Gayeski were his fellow team captains Shaun Smith (157 pounds) and Chad Porter (165 pounds), who both claimed runner-up finishes.
Several of Liberty's current wrestlers have experienced success at the Hoosier Duals, highlighted by Joe Pantaleo. In just his third event for the Flames, Pantaleo posted a 3-1 record at last year's event at 125 pounds, with his only loss coming at the hands of Indiana's Escobedo, 1-0, who was ranked No. 1 in the country at the time of the matchup.
In 2007, Sean Katz posted a 3-2 record wrestling for the Flames at 125 pounds, with Smith has recorded a 3-5 career mark at the event. Smith's decision win over Cumberlands Justin Swilling, 9-6, helped Liberty post one of its two dual victories at the event last year.
Liberty's Probable Starting Lineup at Hoosier Duals:
125 - Jonathan Childress or Justin Branham
133 - Joe Pantaleo or Sean Katz
141 - Scott Clymer or Collin Lewis
149 - Frankie Gayeski or Sam Walters or Peter Crawford
157 - Shaun Smith or Logan Crawford
165 - Chad Porter
174 - Brad Clark or Nick Knowles or Eli Sanchez
184 - David Ziegler or Joseph Son
197 - Brandon Johnson or Brandon Lawrence or Jon Weber
285 - Andrew Wilson
Dual Match Schedule
Mat 1- Indiana (IU) vs. Cumberlands (UC)
Mat 2- Northern Illinois (NIU) vs. Chattanooga (UTC)
Mat 3- Liberty (LU) vs. South Dakota State (SDSU)
Mat 1- IU vs. NIU
Mat 2- UC vs. LU
Mat 3- UTC vs. SDSU
Mat 1- IU vs. UTC
Mat 2- UC vs. SDSU
Mat 3- NIU vs. LU
Mat 1- IU vs. LU
Mat 2- UC vs. UTC
Mat 3- NIU vs. SDSU
Mat 1- IU vs. SDSU
Mat 2- UC vs. NIU
Mat 3- UTC vs. LU