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LU Returns Home for Senior Night on Tuesday

February 8, 2010
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Seniors Frankie Gayeski, Sean Katz, Collin Lewis and Shaun Smith (pictured) will be honored prior to Liberty's dual against Campbell on Senior Night inside the Vines Center.

Seniors Frankie Gayeski, Sean Katz, Collin Lewis and Shaun Smith (pictured) will be honored prior to Liberty's dual against Campbell on Senior Night inside the Vines Center.

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Two familiar foes will hit the mats on Tuesday night inside the Vines Center, when Liberty hosts Campbell in a dual wrestling match. The dual is scheduled to kickoff at 7 p.m. and is a rescheduled match from a dual which was postponed due to inclement weather on Jan. 30.

Liberty and Campbell both squared off several times this past weekend at the Eastern Regional Duals, an event with Campbell hosted inside John W. Pope Jr. Convocation Center.

The event was supposed to be a prelude to the NCAA East Regional championship on March 6. However, Duquesne and Millersville, both Pennsylvania schools, were unable to make the trek south to Buies Creek, N.C., due the winter storm that hit the East Coast last weekend.

With two of the five programs out of the mix, the annual event's schedule was altered and Liberty and Campbell split their squads to fill the tournament bracket.

Traditionally, the event crowns a team champion, which Liberty had captured the piror two years, but, due to just three teams being able to participate, there was no title given out.

Liberty finished the day with a 3-1 record, with its "A" team posting a perfect 2-0 record and the Flames "B" squad recording a 1-1 mark. Campbell finished the day-long event with a 1-3 record and a 0-2 record by its "A" squad.

Following the event, Liberty's official 2009-10 dual meet record stands at 9-8, while Campbell remains winless on the season with a 0-10 mark.

Three of Liberty's four matchups on Saturday came against the Camels, with Liberty taking two of the three dual events. After Liberty's "A" squad opened the day with a 31-9 victory over Gardner-Webb, the same squad secured a 38-4 victory over Campbell's "A" team.

C.J. Gittens opened the matchup with a major decision over Jonathan Childress at 125 pounds, but Liberty closed out the dual by taking the last nine weight classes to secure the 34-point victory.

The nine-match run included major decision wins by Joe Pantaleo (133 pounds) and Chad Porter (165 pounds) and wins by fall from Frankie Gayeski (149 pounds) and Brad Clark (165 pounds).
Liberty's "B" squad split its two matchups with the Camels, scoring a 34-13 win over Campbell's "B" team and suffering a 29-20 setback to Campbell's "A" lineup.

Clark was Liberty's standout in the event, as the 174-pounder posted a 2-0 record with both of his wins coming by fall in the first period. Clark, who was dubbed the team's Most Outstanding Wrestler on the day, has now won three of his last four matches, raising his 2009-10 mark to 15-10 and 6-1 in matches decided by fall.

Also posting perfect 2-0 records on Saturday were Pantaleo, Scott Clymer (141 pounds), Gayeski and Porter. On Liberty's "B" team, T. J. Mitchell (133 pounds) and Joseph Bayer (157 pounds) were also unbeaten in two exhibition matches.

Tuesday's dual with Campbell will serve as Liberty's "Senior Night" event and the program is slated to honor senior's Gayeski, Sean Katz, Collin Lewis and Shaun Smith prior to the opening whistle inside the Vines Center.

Gayeski spotlights the graduating quartet, as the redshirt senior is capping off his days at Liberty with a banner season. Since returning to the lineup after a three-plus week layoff due to an injury, the 149-pounder has reeled off three-straight wins to up his record to 22-6.

Just like Gayeski, Smith is looking to leave his mark with a strong push during his final campaign. The 2009 national qualifier comes into Tuesday night with seven-straight wins and stands at 15-7 on the season.

He enters the night with a 59-56 career record, leaving him one victory short of joining Liberty's Bronze Eagle Medal Club (reserved for wrestles with 60-79 career victories).

Liberty will be officially looking to make it three in a row against the Camels, following last weekend's 38-4 win and last year's 27-12 win in Buies Creek, N.C., on Feb. 3.

A younger Campbell team, who has five underclassmen in its projected 11-man lineup, will be looking to snap a 12-match losing skid when the come into the Vines Center. Campbell's last dual victory came on Feb. 17, 2009, when the Camels scored a 39-9 victory at home over the Apprentice School.

The lighter weight classes are Campbell's strong suit, led by Richie Apolinar. The redshirt senior has posted a 14-12 record as he has split time at 125 and 133 pounds, finishing with five of the team's 11 wins by fall on the year to go along with two major decision wins.

Gittens has shared 125-pounder duties with Apolinar and is an even 11-11 on the season, including a 5-4 record in dual matches. He is tied for the team lead with four wins by major decision, along with Kelin Bidelspach (141 pounds) and Nick Rex (149 pounds).

The Flames Sports Network will continue is television coverage of the wrestling program when it broadcast the dual event locally on WTLU and WRTN, as well as video stream the coverage via the internet through the Big South Network.

Liberty (9-8)
125 – Jonathan Childress (10-11)
133 – Joe Pantaleo (11-11) or T. J. Mitchell (0-0)
141 – Sean Katz (5-10)
149 – Collin Lewis (6-11)
157 – Frankie Gayeski (22-6)
165 – Shaun Smith (15-7)
174 – Brad Clark (15-10
184 – Nick Knowles (13-13)
197 – Jacobi Johnson (9-17) or Brandon Lawrence (1-6)
285 – Josh Pelletier (12-6)

Campbell (0-10)
125 – C.J. Gittens (11-11)
133 – Richie Apolinar (14-12)
141 – Kelin Bidelspach (7-7)
149 – Billy Heemer (5-6) or Brad Merriman (1-4)
157 – Jake Fose (6-12)
165 – Peter Comis (6-9)
174 – John Merickel (4-13)
184 – Derek Tomasone (3-10)
197 – Parker Burns (6-6)
285 – Unknown