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Southern Scuffle Blog: Day Two

December 30, 2009
|  Greensboro, N.C.
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Inside the Special Events Center of the Greensboro Coliseum

Inside the Special Events Center of the Greensboro Coliseum

After 608 bouts on Tuesday, more than half the field at the Southern Scuffle has already been eliminated heading into Wednesday's action. Four of Liberty's 20 grapplers are still active and will be looking to help the Flames climb up the team standings, while vying for individual honors by placing in this year's prestigious event.

As the web site did yesterday, LibertyFlames.com will be blogging live during Wednesday's action, as long as Liberty still has active grapplers remaining the draw.

As we have done with our online blogs in times past, please feel free to email questions or comments to twetmore@liberty.edu and as time allows, we will try to answer/address them.

The most recent posts will be located just below this italicized message. You may need to refresh the page periodically to view the latest updates.

2:02 p.m. – The Flames will have the next several days off to recover from this event, as Liberty will not return to the wrestling mats until Jan. 8-9 when they make the trek across the Commonwealth to participate in the Virginia Duals. The Duals will prove to be another tough challenge for the Flames, as this will be the 30th annual Virginia Duals and several of the country's top programs are slated to converge at the Hampton Coliseum for the event. LibertyFlames.com will be live on site once again to provide a live blog for both day's events, as the Flames return to dual action.

1:54 p.m. – A full recap of today's events will be available on LibertyFlames.com later on this evening once the championship round has wrapped up, which will include the Flames' final team standings.

1:52 p.m. – It appears that Liberty will finish in 16th place in this year's Southern Scuffle out of 31 teams, as the Flames have amassed 35.5 points. Michigan is currently in 15th place with 49.5 points and George Mason is behind the Flames in 17th place with 31.5 points. No. 8 Cornell seems to be in control of its own destiny, as Big Red is atop the team standings with 147.0 points and eight remaining grapplers in the event (four in the championship round and four more in the wrestleback). No. 5 Minnesota is in second place with 135.0 point and seven wrestlers left (three championship and four wrestleback), while No. No. 13 Indiana is in third place with 110.5 points and seven wrestlers remaining (three championship and four wrestleback). The three programs hold a sizeable lead over No. 18 Virginia, who is fourth place with 87.5 points, and No. 20 Edinboro, who is in fifth place with 86.0 points.

Team Standings:
1. Cornell – 147.0 points
2. Minnesota – 135.0 points
3. Indiana – 110.5 points
4. Virginia – 87.5 points
5. Edinboro – 86.0 points
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16. Liberty 33.5 points

1:42 p.m. – Looks like Frankie Gayeski's run at this year's Southern Scuffle has come to an end, as Coach Castro has decided to pull him from the event due to injuries he suffered in his two bouts earlier today. Gayeski will still take home a fourth-place finish at 149 pounds, which marks his second placing this year after capturing the title at the Keystone Classic earlier in the season. With a 4-2 record at the Southern Scuffle, Gayeski moved to 17-4 on the season and 29-21 for his career at Liberty.

1:20 p.m. – Frankie Gayeski will be wrestling for third place in next round, as the senior pulled off a 9-6 victory over N.C. State's Bobby Ward in a match that was dominated by reversals. Ward scored first with a quick takedown, but Gayeski slipped reversed the position to knot the match at 2-2. After a quick escape by Ward, Gayeski was able to make a move and take Ward down to the mats to claim a 4-3 lead after three minutes of action. Ward started the second down and reversed control with a move to score two points and move on top of Gayeski. However, Liberty's senior scrapped back just seconds later with his second reversal, which allowed him to dominate the remainder of the second period. Holding a 6-5 lead going into the final period, Gayeski scored his third reversal just 25 seconds into the bout out of the down position. Gayeski controlled the pace the rest of the way until Ward slipped away with two ticks left on the clock, but Gayeski was able to add his 2:24 of riding time to secure the 9-6 decision win and advance to the third-place bout at 149 pounds.

1:00 p.m. – The P.A. announcer is calling the wrestlers back to the mats to open the seventh round of the wrestleback bracket. Frankie Gayeski and N.C. State's Bobby Ward are "on deck" at Mat 6.

12:58 p.m. – Regardless of the outcome of Frankie Gayeski's bout with N.C. State's Bobby Ward, the senior is assured two more matches today. If Gayeski is successful in defeating Ward, he would advance to the third-place bout against the victor of the Frank Hickman (Bloomsburg) and Torsten Gillespie (Edinboro) bout. The losers of those two matchups will face off against each other to determine this year's fifth-place wrestler at the Southern Scuffle.

12:45 p.m. – Action has just wrapped up in the semifinal and sixth wrestleback rounds. The P.A. announce should be opening up the seventh round of the wrestlebacks at 1 p.m., where Frankie Gayeski will be in Bout 776 against N.C. State's Bobby Ward.

12:08 p.m. – With the minor upset, Penn's Cesar Grajales, the No. 7 seed in the event, will advance to the finales at 149 pounds, where he will take on Army's Matt Kyler, who is ranked No. 10 nationally in the weight class. The loss brings to a close Frankie Gayeski's 14-match winning streak and sends the senior team captain into the wrestleback bracket. Gayeski will face N.C. State's Bobby Ward for the right to advance to the third-place bout at 149 pounds. Ward is coming off a first-period pin (2:21) over Old Dominion's John Nicholson to advance to his wrestleback matchup with Gayeski.

12:02 p.m. – Another low scoring match did not go the way the Flames would have wanted it to, as Frankie Gayeski dropped his semifinal match to Penn's Cesar Grajales, 2-1, sending Gayeski in the wrestleback bracket. Neither grappler could gain much of an advantage during the first three minutes of action, leaving the matchup tied at 0-0 after one period. Starting down in the second, Gayeski got to his feet to try and net an escape point, but before he could not complete getting away from Grajales, the Penn wrestler was able to sling Gayeski back to the mat. With two seconds left in the period, Gayeski was finally able to get away from Grajales, but the move hurt Liberty's senior, resulting in a stoppage for injury time. After starting down to begin the third, Grajales was able to slip away from Gayeski 26 seconds in the third round, tying the match at 1-1. But Grajales was holding a 1:34 riding time advantage, meaning Liberty's senior was going to have to make a move to win the match. Roughly one minute later, Gayeski was able to get Grajales on his head and nearly gain his needed two points for the takedown, but the officials stopped the bout because they deemed the move was potential harmful to Grajales, who was able to stay away from Gayeski to gain the 2-1 victory, thanks to the riding time advance.

11:42 a.m. – This matchup between Frankie Gayeski and Penn's Cesar Grajales was predicted early this year, when the two could have met up at the Keystone Classic ,which was hosted by Penn. But Grajales, who is a three-time national qualifier with over 90 career wins, was upset early in the draw, while Gayeski went on to capture the individual title at 149 pounds, starting his current 14-match winning streak.

11:33 a.m. – The semifinals have just started with action on Mats 1-8, thrilling the fans in attendance inside the Special Events Center. Liberty's Frankie Gayeski will be the featured match on Mat 6 in just a few minutes, where Gayeski will put his 14-match winning streak on the line against Penn's Cesar Grajales, for the right to advance to this year's Southern Scuffle title bout at 149 pounds.

11:25 a.m. – For the sixth time in the Southern Scuffle, Josh Pelletier found himself in a low scoring bout, and this time, his match was decided by riding time. Facing the No. 19 ranked heavyweight in the country in Kent State's Brendan Barlow, the two grapplers scrapped to a scoreless tie after three minutes. After feeling each other out for the first two and half minutes, Barlow tried to make two or three late moves in the first, but Pelletier fended off the charges. Barlow started down to begin the second and easily escaped for a point in just eight seconds, and the quick move eventually led to the deciding factor in the match. Pelletier started down in the third and was able to get away from Barlow just before the two grapplers slipped outside the circle midway through third period. But Liberty's junior slipped away when Barlow had amassed 1:03 of riding time, which eventually gave the Kent State grappler the match and ended Pelletier's run at this year's Southern Scuffle.

10:59 a.m. – The P.A. announcer has just called Josh Pelletier and Kent State's Brendan Barlow to Mat 4 for the wrestleback matchup. As previously mentioned, Pelletier has won nine of his last 10 bouts to raise his record to 11-3 on the year. Barlow, ranked No. 19 in the country at heavyweight, comes into his matchup with Pelletier with an 18-4 overall record. The redshirt sophomore has won two of his bouts by fall this and five major decision wins, with two of those coming at this year's Southern Scuffle.

10:52 a.m. – As we are in between action on the mats for the Flames, let's take a look at the updated team standings following the completion of the first session this morning. No. 8 Cornell still has six grapplers left in the championship draw and now holds a sizeable lead over No. 5 Minnesota, who suffered five losses in the championship round bracket. Cornell now leads the field of 31 teams with 97.5 points, followed by Minnesota's 85.0 points. No. 13 Indiana finds itself in third place with 64.5 points, while No. 20 Edinboro (63.0 points) and Ohio (60.5 points) round out the top five teams in the updated standings. With two wrestlers remaining in the active draw, Liberty finds itself in 15th place with 33.0 points.

Team Standings:
1. Cornell – 97.5 points
2. Minnesota – 85.0 points
3. Indiana – 64.5 points
4. Edinboro – 63.0- points
5. Ohio – 60.5 points
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15. Liberty 35.5 points

10: 40 a.m. – Here are some updates for the remaining two Flames in the draw at this year's Southern Scuffle. At 149 pounds, Frankie Gayeski will be taking on Penn's Cesar Grajales in Bout 742, as Grajales advanced to the semifinals with a 5-2 decision victory over Minnesota's David Zilverberg earlier this morning. Josh Pelletier has drawn the loser in one of the featured bouts from the quarterfinal rounds earlier this morning, as No. 14 Chris Birchler of Edinboro escaped with a 5-2 decision over No. 19 Brendan Barlow of Kent State. Pelletier and Barlow are slated to square off in Bout 728 in the next 30 minutes.

10:20 a.m. – If you weren't in position to watch action on Mat 1 when the bout between Liberty's Josh Pelletier and Kent State's Tymoszuzuk starter, then you probably missed the entire bout, as Pelletier quickly disposed of his heavyweight foe to advance in the wrestleback bracket. Tymoszuzuk tried to jab in three or four times with his right arm to gain position on Pelletier, but the fourth time left Tymoszuzk's left leg open, which Pelletier swooped in on for the takedown 40 seconds in the match. And 18 seconds later, Pelletier was able to turn Tymoszuzuk completely to the mat and pin the Kent State 285-pounder to the mat for the victory at 58 seconds. For Pelletier, it was the junior's ninth victory in his last 10 bouts and moved him to 11-3 on the season. The win by fall was his second of the year and the third pin of his Liberty career.

10:09 a.m. – It looks like Mat 1 is the official wrestleback mat for the Flames, as Josh Pelletier is next up where the heavyweight will take on Kent State's Joe Tymoszuzuk. If Tymoszuzuk's name sounds familiar that is because the junior ended Liberty's Andrew Wilson's run in the wrestleback bracket late last night in a 7-2 decision.

9:52 a.m. – About 30 minutes ago, Frankie Gayeski was called to the head table and during Shaun Smith's bout, I noticed the senior walking around the arena and checking out the bracket posted on the wall near the entrance. Following Smith's match, I was able to confirm that Virginia Tech's Peter Yates had officially forfeited his bout to Gayeski, meaning Liberty will have one grappler in the semifinal round of this year's Southern Scuffle. Gayeski will square off against the victor of the Cesar Grajales (Penn) and David Zilverberg (Minnesota) bout in the semifinal rounds, which are scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m.

9:45 a.m. – Shaun Smith was able to overcome an early 3-0 deficit to force overtime, but the senior suffered a quick takedown just 12 seconds into the extended period to bow out of the event. With roughly 50 seconds left in the first period, Smith tried to put a move on Michigan's David Johnson and looked to have him, but the Wolverine reversed the position and was able to score the match's first points with a takedown. Johnson chose down to being the second and quickly escaped for his third point of the 157-pound match. However, Smith got a hold of Johnson's right leg with a quick move and took the Michigan grappler down for his first two points of the match. Smith started down in the third and was able to escape the grasp of Johnson to knot the match at 3-3 with 90 seconds left in regulation. Both grapplers scrapped during the waning seconds of the period, but neither could do enough to merit any further points. From the neutral position to open the overtime period, Johnson swiftly moved in on Smith for the match's deciding move to end Smith's stay at this year's Southern Scuffle with a 5-3 sudden victory decision.

9:17 a.m. – Following three-straight wins in the wrestleback bracket, Joe Pantaleo saw his run at this year's Southern Scuffle come to an end following a 4-1 decision loss to Navy's Ben Levin. Midway through the first period, Belin took Pantaleo down on Mat 1 with a sweeping move to the left and remained in control the rest of the period. Levin choose down to begin the second and Pantaleo controlled the pace of action during the entire two minutes, erasing Levin's riding time advance. However, Pantaleo could do no more than keep Belin to the mat during the second, leaving the score 2-0 in favor of Navy's grappler. From the neutral position to begin the third, neither wrestler gained much of an advantage during the opening minute, until Levin's moved in on Pantaleo and got his right arm around Pantaleo's head, which led to the second takedown of the match with 45 seconds left. Pantaleo was able to get away from Levin with 20 seconds left before the final whistle blew, but that would be all Liberty's 133-pounder could do, falling out of the Southern Scuffle after the 4-1 decision setback.

9:05 a.m. – Just as a reminder, fans who want more immediate action from inside the arena can watch a video stream of the event, via Spartan All Access (click here for more info). The two guys behind the microphones are amazing, as they called all the action from yesterday … that's over 10 hours straight of broadcasting, following action on all 10 mats.

9:02 a.m. – Joe Pantaleo is the first Flame to hear his name called by the P.A announcer, as the 133-pounder is "on deck" on Mat 3.

9:00 a.m. – Promptly at 9 a.m., the arena is filled with the music usually associated with Fox's coverage of NFL and the P.A. announcers has called all the wrestlers to the various 10 mats inside the arena. According the P.A. announcer, we are in store for some "Wow action in the semifinals and some double wow action" in the championship rounds.

8:54 a.m. – Below are the matches for Liberty's four remaining grapplers:

Bout 623 (133 pounds) – Liberty's Joe Pantaleo vs. Navy's Ben Levin
Bout 635 (149 pounds) – Liberty's Frankie Gayeski vs. Virginia Tech's Peter Yates
Bout 648 (157 pounds) – Liberty's Shaun Smith vs. Michigan's David Johnson
Bout 688 (285 pounds) – Liberty's Josh Pelletier vs. Kent State's Joe Tymoszuzuk

8:51 a.m. – Liberty has four grapplers who are still alive in this year's event, with one in the championship bracket and three in the consolation rounds. Frankie Gayeski won all three of his bouts yesterday and will be wrestling in the quarterfinals of the championship bracket at 149 pounds, while Joe Pantaleo (133 pounds), Shaun Smith (157 pounds) and Josh Pelletier (heavyweight) will be looking to scrap their way back in the wrestleback bracket.

8:48 a.m. – Welcome back inside the Special Events Center of the Greensboro Coliseum for the second day of the Southern Scuffle. Just as a reminder, below is today's schedule of event:

Wednesday, December 30 - Southern Scuffle Schedule:
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