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Flames Fall to No. 4 Oklahoma State at Duals
With the victory, No. 4 Oklahoma State ups its dual meet record to 5-0-1 on the season and will face Clarion this afternoon at 1 p.m. in the quarterfinals of the championship round. The loss drops Liberty's mark to 6-4 on the season and pits the Flames against No. 23 Old Dominion also at 1 p.m., after the Monarchs suffered an upset loss to Clarion, 20-18, earlier this morning.
The Cowboys opened strong with an 11-3 major decision win by No. 9 Chris Notte over Justin Branham at 125 pounds. Most of the scoring took place late in the matchup, as Notte scored a reversal and takedown in the third to go along with 5:13 of riding time to secure the eight-point, match-opening win.
Liberty pulled within one point in the overall dual, thanks to a 6-5 decision win by Joe Pantaleo over Tyler Shinn at 133 pounds. Liberty's sophomore trailed 3-2 heading into the final two minutes of action, but was able to score four points during the final 120 seconds to overcome his Cowboy counterpart and secure the win.
At 141 pounds, No. 7 Jamal Parks jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the first period over Liberty's Collin Lewis. A second period reversal and a third takedown helped Parks widen his edge to 8-2 after five minutes, while the sophomore secured the win with a final takedown in the third and 5:10 of riding time to give Oklahoma State an 8-3 lead in the overall dual.
Liberty's leading wrestler Frankie Gayeski tried to keep the Flames in the dual, as the senior picked up his team-leading 19th win in a 5-4 decision at 149 pounds.
The senior looked like he was going to suffer a setback to James Peck, as the Cowboy grappler led 4-2 after two periods, but Gayeski scored an early escape and a takedown with 15 seconds left to pull Liberty within two points, 8-6, in the dual with the one-point decision win.
However, the remaining six bouts would go in the favor of the Cowboys, thanks to Oklahoma State sending five nationally-ranked wrestlers out onto the mats.
The six-bout run began at 157 pounds, as No. 12 Neil Erisman picked up an 11-2 major decision over Shaun Smith. Erisman stormed onto the mats, opening up a 7-0 lead after three minutes of action, thanks to a takedown and two moves that resulted in five near fall points. Erisman continued to control the pace the rest of the way en route to the nine-point win.
At 165 pounds, Oklahoma State got its first of two wins by fall. No. 14 Alex Meade took Liberty's Chad Porter to the mat 40 seconds into the first period, and then ended the bout with a win by fall at 1:10 to widen the Cowboys' lead to 18-6.
No. 14 Mike Benefiel was able to keep things rolling for the Cowboys, thanks to a 16-2 major decision win at 174 pounds over Liberty's Brad Clark. The sophomore scored five points in the first and second thanks to a takedown and three near fall points, while Benefiel added two more takedowns in the third, plus an additional point for 4:35 of riding time to lengthen the lead to 22-6 in favor of Oklahoma State.
The second period was the deciding factor in the matchup at 184 pounds, as Chris McNeil scored all three of his points in his 3-0 decision over Liberty's Nick Knowles during the middle period. After wrestling to a scoreless tie in the first, McNeil scored the bout's first points with an escape early in the second followed by a takedown midway through the two-minute session.
The highest-scoring bout of the morning came at 197 pounds, which ended in an 18-3 technical fall by No. 8 Alan Gelogaev over Jacobi Johnson. Gelogaev wasted little time taking a lead, as the sophomore jumped out to a 10-2 advantage during the first period. After adding six more points in the second, Gelogaev secured the bout with a takedown 34 seconds into the third period, ending the matchup and giving the Cowboys a 30-6 overall lead.
Saving its best for last, Oklahoma State sent No. 2 Jared Rosholt out onto the mat to end the dual against Andrew Wilson at heavyweight. And the two-time All-American secured his 15th-straight win with his fifth pin of the season, ending the bout and the overall dual with the win by fall at 1:56 of the first period.