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Coverage of Southern Scuffle Includes Blog
Following a longer than planned time away from the wrestling mats, the Liberty Flames will return to the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, N.C., over the next two days to participate in the Southern Scuffle.
The event will mark Liberty's first competitive action since the Flames took two of three dual matches at a quad event hosted by Binghamton on Dec. 12, moving the Flames to 7-3 in dual action.
Liberty was scheduled to participate in the Reno Tournament of Champions for the fourth-straight year on Dec. 20. However, one of the larger early winter weather storms to hit the East Coast in recent years kept the Flames from making their flight out to Reno, Nev.
This will mark Liberty's third-consecutive trip to Greensboro to partake in its final tournament-style event of the regular season.
Fans wanting to follow Liberty's action at this year's Southern Scuffle will have multiple avenues to do so. LibertyFlames.com will be at the event blogging live mat side, beginning at approximately Noon on Tuesday and by 9 a.m. on Wednesday.
Additionally, UNC Greensboro, the host institution for the event, will be providing live video coverage via Spartan All-Access. Fans can catch all the action by purchasing one of four packages for the Spartan All-Access coverage of the Southern Scuffle. Click here for more details.
The Flames showed great improvement from their first showing inside the Coliseum. Liberty placed 24th out of 29 teams during the 2007 Scuffle, but came back to finish No. 16 out of 31 programs at last year's event.
Three Liberty grapplers helped spur Liberty's improved showing at the 2008 Scuffle, as Christian Smith, Tim Harner and Frankie Gayeski each managed to wrestle far into the second day's action.
Smith advanced the furthest for Liberty, as the graduated senior took seventh place at 133 pounds. Harner, another graduated senior at 141 pounds, won his first two bouts of the second day before seeing his tournament run come to an end by seventh-place finisher Corey Manson of Cornell.
Gayeski, who is one of Liberty's three team captains this year and enters the event riding an 11-match winning streak, also won his first two matches of the second day before dropping consecutive matches to top 25 grapplers and finishing in eighth place at 149 pounds.
This year's field at the Southern Scuffle will be one of the strongest in the six-year history of the event, as it features seven Top 25 programs, including No. 5 Minnesota, No. 8 Cornell, No. 13 Indiana, No. 18 Virginia, No. 19 Kent State, No. 20 Edinboro and No. 23 Old Dominion.
The individual field of 400 grapplers includes 53 wrestlers who currently rank among the nation's best in their respective weight classes according to InterMat. Four wrestlers currently rank No. 1 in the nation in their weight classes, including defending NCAA champions Troy Nickerson of Cornell at 125 pounds and Jarrod King from Edinboro at 165 pounds.
Fourth-year head coach Jesse Castro is going to be looking for some upperclassmen leadership during Liberty's run at this year's Southern Scuffle.
Gayeski comes into the event as Liberty's hottest wrestler, having reeled off 11-straight victories at 149 pounds to improve to 13-2 on the season.
Chad Porter has won six of his last seven bouts at 165 pounds and currently ranks just behind Gayeski with a 12-4 mark on the year. The redshirt junior, who sat out last year, will be looking to improve upon his first showing at the 2007 Scuffle, where he quickly lost two bouts to exit the event's bracket.
Brad Clark and Scott Clymer will also looking to improve on their strong starts to the 2009-10 season and better their records before returning to dual action in January.
Clark, a redshirt sophomore at 174 pounds, has been victorious in 10 of his last 11 bouts and is tied for second with Porter with 12-4 record in 2009.
Clymer was Liberty's much successful wrestler early in the season, as he placed in both the Brockport/Oklahoma Gold Tournament (fourth) and Keystone Classic (third), but the 141-pound grapplers has dropped four of his last five matches and stands at 10-7 on the season.
Liberty's Probable Participants at the Southern Scuffle:
125 - Justin Branham (1-5)
133 - Joe Pantaleo (4-6) or Sean Katz (5-7)
141 - Scott Clymer (10-7) or Collin Lewis (6-4)
149 - Frankie Gayeski (13-2) or Sam Walters (6-4)
157 - Shaun Smith (5-4) or Joseph Bayer (0-0)
165 - Chad Porter (12-4)
174 - Brad Clark (12-4)
184 - Nick Knowles (7-7)
197 - Jacobi Johnson (7-9)
285 - Josh Pelletier (7-2) or Andrew Wilson (8-4)
2009 UNCG Southern Scuffle Tournament Field
Cal State Bakersfield
No. 8 Cornell
No. 20 Edinboro
No. 13 Indiana
No. 19 Kent State
No. 5 Minnesota
North Carolina State
No. 23 Old Dominion
No. 18 Virginia
Individuals ranked in the latest InterMat rankings:
1. Troy Nickerson - Cornell
2. Angel Escobedo - Indiana
4. Zach Sanders - Minnesota
5. James Nicholson - Old Dominion
6. Jarrod Garnett - Virginia Tech
7. Eric Morrill - Edinboro
2. Jayson Ness - Minnesota
10. Mike Grey - Cornell
11. Danny Mitcheff - Kent State
15. Kyle Hutter - Old Dominion
5. Kyle Dake - Cornell
6. Mike Thorn - Minnesota
9. Mario Mason - Minnesota
10. Matt Kyler - Army
11. Matt Cathell - Kent State
20. Nick Stabile - North Carolina
4. Matt Moley - Bloomsburg
9. Kurt Kinser - Indiana
12. Jake Deitchler - Minnesota
14. Bryce Saddoris - Navy
16. Danny Gonsor - Virginia
19. Jonny Bonilla-Bowman - Hofstra
1. Jarrod King - Edinboro
4. Dustin Schlatter - Minnesota
10. Justin Kerber - Cornell
11. Chris Brown - Old Dominion
14. Paul Young - Indiana
17. P.J. Gillespie - Hofstra
19. Rick Schmelyun - Bloomsburg
1. Mack Lewness - Cornell
4. Chris Henrich - Virginia
10. Ryan Patrovich - Hofstra
13. Luke Rebertus - Navy
18. Scott Griffin - Pennsylvania
19. Justin Zeerip - Michigan
3. Dustin Kilgore - Kent State
16. Steve Bosak - Cornell
17. John Barone - Duke
18. Sonny Yohn - Minnesota
20. Ben Clymer - Hofstra
5. Anthony Biondo - Michigan
6. Cam Simaz - Cornell
11. Brent Jones - Virginia
14. Jesse Strawn - Old Dominion
15. Dennis Drury - North Carolina
16. Richard Starks - Army
1. Konrad Dudziak - Duke
6. Nathan Everhart - Indiana
10. Mitch Monteiro - Cal State Bakersfield
11. Ben Berhow - Minnesota
14. Chris Birchler - Edinboro
16. Josh Arnone - Cornell
19. Brendan Barlow - Kent State
2009 UNCG Southern Scuffle Schedule
Tuesday, December 29
8 a.m. - Weigh-ins & Skin check
10 a.m. - 64-man Championship (10 mats - 500 wrestlers)
11:30 a.m. - 32-man Championship
1:45 p.m. - First Round of Wrestle-backs
3:45 p.m. - 16-man Championship & 2nd Round of Wrestle-backs
6 p.m. - Third Round of Wrestle-backs
Wednesday, December 30
9 a.m. - Quarterfinals & 4th Round of Wrestle-backs
10:30 a.m. - Fifth Round of Wrestle-backs
11:30 a.m. - Semifinals & 6th Round of Wrestle-backs
1 p.m. - Seventh Round of Wrestle-backs
2 p.m. - Medal Rounds (3rd-8th)
5:30 p.m. - Championship Finals