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Flames Take Three at Eastern Regional Duals
Due to the latest winter weather system to hit the East Coast, the five-team field was trimmed to three programs. Duquesne and Millersville, both teams who hail from the state of Pennsylvania, were unable to make the trek down south to North Carolina.
Liberty and host Campbell split their squads, while Gardner-Webb continued to field just one complete team. The Flames were the big winner on Saturday, posting a 3-1 record, while Gardner-Webb was 1-1. The Fighting Camels rounded out the field with a 1-3 mark on the day.
The event traditionally crowns a team champion at the end of the day, with Liberty having taken the last two Regional Duals titles. However, due to two out of the five teams not being able to participate, the event was altered and no team champion was determined.
With the three wins on the day, Liberty raised its 2009-10 record to 10-9 and moved head coach Jesse Castro within a dual victory of picking up his 50th career dual win at Liberty (49-38-2 in three-plus years at Liberty).
Both Liberty's A and B squads opened the day with victories. The Flames' A team scored a 31-9 dual victory over Gardner-Webb, while the B team posted a 34-14 victory over Campbell's B squad to open the day during Session 1.
In the Gardner-Webb matchup, the Bulldogs took a quick lead after 125 pounds, as Michael Slaughter recorded a 9-3 decision over Jonathan Childress. However, Liberty took the next seven bouts to open up a 31-3 dual lead and never looked back in the win.
The seven-match victory streak was spotlighted by wins by fall from Chad Porter (165 pounds) and Brad Clark (174 pounds), while Joe Pantaleo (133 pounds) added a major decision win and Scott Clymer (141 pounds) scored a technical fall win.
Over on Mat 2, Liberty's B team had a bit more of a challenge, but still managed to secure a 21-point victory for the Flames over Campbell's B counterparts.
Just like the Gardner-Webb dual, Liberty dropped the opening bout, as C.J. Gittens scored a 16-6 major decision win over Justin Branham at 125 pounds.
T. J. Mitchell put the Flames on the board with a 6-1 win over Gabe Gardner at 133 pounds, while the Flames regained the lead when Collin Lewis picked up a forfeit win at 141 pounds.
Peter Crawford (149 pounds) and Joseph Bayer (157 pounds) kept things rolling for the Flames with wins by major decision and technical fall.
Following a decision win by Chris Mazzatta over Justin Krop at 165 pounds and a forfeit at 174 pounds, Liberty closed out the dual with three victories. Joseph Son scored a 12-4 major decision win at 184 pounds, while Brandon Lawrence added a win by fall (4:58) at 197 pounds. Andrew Wilson was the final victor with a forfeit at heavyweight.
During the second session, Liberty's A team fell behind Campbell's A squad to start, but the Flames quickly silenced the hometown crowd by reeling off nine-straight wins to secure a 38-4 dual win.
Gittens made it 2-for-2 on the day against the Flames, when the 125-pounder opened with a 10-2 major decision victory over Childress.
Pantaleo quickly answered back with his third win by major decision on the season, when the redshirt freshman scored a 12-1 decision over Richie Apolinar at 133 pounds to knot the dual at 4-4.
Pantaleo's 11-point win seemed to jumpstart the Flames, as Liberty closed out the dual with eight more wins, including wins by fall by Frankie Gayeski (149 pounds) and Clark. Porter added a major decision over Peter Comis, 12-2, giving the junior his ninth-straight career victory at the Eastern Regional Duals.
With three wins in hand, Liberty's B squad tried to close out a perfect day for the Flames against Campbell's A team. However, the hometown favorites took three of the first four bouts to open up a lead they would never relinquish, en route to the Fighting Camel's first dual win of the season (1-11).
Gittens defeated Branham for the second time on the day with a 10-5 decision win at 125 pounds, while Kelin Bidelspach added a major decision win over Lewis at 141 pounds and Billy Heemer scored a win by fall over Peter Crawford in the first period (1:38).
Liberty's lone win during the opening four weight classes was by Mitchell, who scored a 10-1 major decision win over Apolinar at 133 pounds.
Liberty scrapped its way back and took a 14-13 lead, as the Flames picked up wins from Bayer at 157 pounds (major decision) and Krop at 165 pounds (fall). But Campbell took the next three bouts to secure the 29-20 victory over Liberty's B team.
The Flames forfeited the bout at 174 pounds, while Derek Tomasone carded a win by fall over Joseph Son 60 seconds into the 184-pound matchup and Parker Burns added a major decision win over Brandon Lawrence, 12-4, at 197 pounds. Josh Pelletier gave the Flames their final six-team points, when the heavyweight scored a win by forfeit to wrap up action on Saturday.
Clark was tabbed Liberty's team Most Outstanding Wrestler on the day, as the 174-pounder finished with two wins, both by fall in the first period. The pair of wins upped the redshirt sophomore's record to 15-10 on the season and 6-1 in bouts decided by fall.
Pantaleo (133 pounds), Clymer (141 pounds), Gayeski (149 pounds), Shaun Smith (157 pounds) and Porter (165 pounds) also were perfect on the day for Liberty's A team, while Mitchell (133 pounds) and Bayer (157 pounds) led the Flames B team with 2-0 marks.
Liberty will have a chance to avenge its loss to Campbell for the Session 3 setback, when the Flames and the Fighting Camels square off against each other on Tuesday night inside the Vines Center. The dual match, which starts at 7 p.m., is a rescheduled dual, when the original Jan. 30 matchup was postpone due to inclement weather.