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Wrestling Returns to Action at Virginia Duals
Live Video Streaming (provided by TheMat.com)
National College Tournament Bracket
For the remainder of the regular season, Liberty's wrestling team will be in dual action, beginning with this weekend's competition at the Virginia Duals. The Flames will be a part of one of the toughest fields in the event's three decade history.
The Virginia Duals, hosted by the Peninsula Wrestling Association at the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Va., will be celebrating its 30th anniversary this Friday and Saturday.
Nine of the 16 teams in the National College Tournament bracket are currently ranked in the latest
Top 25 nationally rankings, with Liberty drawing the highest ranked opponent in their first round matchup.
Oklahoma State, currently ranked No. 4 in the nation, is one of the most storied wrestling programs in the country. The Cowboys have won 34 national championships, which is the most national championships won by any NCAA program in any sport. Next on the list is USC's men's outdoor track and field program, which has won 26 national titles.
Nine of Oklahoma State's 10 starting wrestlers are currently ranked in their respective weight classes, spotlighted by heavyweight Jared Rosholt. The senior, who finished third at last year's national championship, has reeled off 14-straight victories and is currently ranked No. 2.
The lone starter in the Cowboys' lineup not nationally ranked is Quinten Fuentes at 149 pounds. However, 11 of the junior's 13 wins on the season have come by fall, which leads the team in the statistical category.
The first round matchup for the Flames, which is slated to open competition at the Virginia Duals on Mat 2 on Friday morning at 9 a.m., will pit Liberty's wrestling program against its highest ranked opponent in dual action in the program's history. The Flames are 0-1 against Top 25 program in dual action this season, having dropped a 43-3 match to No. 11 Indiana at the Hoosier Duals early this year on Nov. 28 in Bloomington, Ind.
The other two programs in the "A" draw of the National College Tournament bracket are No. 23 Old Dominion and Clarion.
The Monarchs, who are 3-1 in dual action this year, are paced by James Nicholson, who is ranked as high as No. 3 at 125 pounds. Nicholson was recently named the CAA Wrestler of the Month for December, an honor the senior has received twice this year, thanks to a 16-1 record through the first three months of the season.
Joining Nicholson among national ranked grapplers on Old Dominion's roster is Chris Brown, who is currently ranked No. 16 and is 16-3 on the year at 165 pounds.
The final team in Liberty's bracket is Clarion, who has only wrestled in one dual match, but the Golden Eagles have shown they can tangle with the nation's best with a 24-15 setback at home against No. 14 Kent State.
Clarion is led by Hadley Harrison, who is coming off a seventh-place finish at the Midlands Championship in December. The 149-pounder took home seventh place when he won his fifth match at the event with a second-period pin (3:35) against No. 12 Colton Salazar of Purdue.
Both the Liberty vs. No. 4 Oklahoma State matchup and the No. 23 Old Dominion vs. Clarion dual will be taking place at the same time on Friday morning.
The victors of the two duals will square off on Mat 3 in a championship quarterfinal later on Friday at 1 p.m. The two losers will square off at the same time on Mat 2, as they begin to work their way through the consolation bracket of the double-elimination event.
Liberty is coming off its second-straight, 16th-place finish at the Southern Scuffle. However, this year's field of 31 programs was much stronger than the previous field, as it included seven Top 25 programs and 53 wrestlers ranked in their respective weight classes.
Frankie Gayeski led four grapplers into the second day of action, as the redshirt senior remained alive in the championship draw at 149 pounds.
However, his personal 15-match winning streak came to an end in the semifinals, as he lost to Penn's Cesar Grajales in a one-point bout, 2-1, that was decided by riding time.
After picking up a 9-6 decision win over N.C. State's Bobby Ward, Gayeski was forced to bow out of the event due to an injury, resulting in a fourth-place finish for the senior at the event. Gayeski comes into the Virginia Duals with an 18-4 record, which leads the Flames in total wins.
The three remaining grapplers to advance to the second day at the Southern Scuffle were Joe Pantaleo (133 pounds), Shaun Smith (157 pounds) and Josh Pelletier (285 pounds).
Pelletier was the lone member of this trio to post a win on the second day, as he picked up his second win by fall on the year when he pinned Kent State's Joe Tymoszuzuk in 58 seconds.
The redshirt junior raised his record to 11-4 during the event with a 4-2 mark. He only surrendered five total points during the two days, either by escape or by riding time. Pelletier also continued a season trend at the event, as his two losses were to Top 20 ranked grapplers, making all four of his 2009-10 setbacks to nationally ranked wrestlers.
This will mark the third time Liberty has made the trek across the Commonwealth to participate in the Virginia Duals in the last four years.
Last year, Liberty suffered an opening round 27-15 loss to No. 13 Central Michigan, before staving off elimination with a 25-16 victory over Northern Colorado in the consolation bracket. However, the Flames' run at the event was halted by a 35-9 setback to No. 22 Penn.
Fans wishing to follow the Flames action on the mats inside the Hampton Coliseum will have multiple options to do so, including a live blog, live tournament results and live video streaming.
For the second-straight event, LibertyFlames.com will be mat side blogging live during each of the Flames' dual matchups.
Due to the faster paced nature of dual action, as compared to last week's Southern Scuffle, the live blog will focus more on quick individual weight class results as each dual progresses, as compared to the more in-depth spotlight cover provided during the Southern Scuffle.
Additional, www.VirginiaDuals.org, will be providing live results through its web site, following each bout, while www.TheMat.com will be on site video streaming key dual events.
Coverage by the TheMat.com, which is provided free of charge, is slated to begin at 9 a.m., when the web site will be spotlighting the four opening duals, while doing more in-depth coverage of the championship quarterfinal matchups beginning at 1 p.m.
Liberty's Probable Starters:
125 – Jonathan Childress (8-8) or Justin Branham (2-7)
133 – Joe Pantaleo (7-8) or Sean Katz (5-9)
141 – Scott Clymer (12-9) or Collin Lewis (6-7)
149 – Frankie Gayeski (18-4)
157 – Shaun Smith (8-6) or Joseph Bayer (2-2)
165 – Chad Porter (14-6)
174 – Brad Clark (13-6)
184 – Nick Knowles (8-9) or Joseph Son0-5)
197 – Jacobi Johnson (7-11)
285 – Josh Pelletier (11-4) or Andrew Wilson (9-6)