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Clymer's Win Spotlights First Day at NCAAs
Despite sending a record-tying six grapplers to the national wrestling championships, Liberty only has one of its six still alive following the first day's action on Thursday inside the Qwest Center.
Scott Clymer's championship round win at 141 pounds spotlighted Liberty's opening day at the 2010 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championship, and he will be the lone grappler return for the second day's action.
Following 340 bouts on Day 1, Liberty currently stands in a four-way tie for 55th place with two points. The Flames share the sport with Appalachian State, Chattanooga and N.C. State, as each of the four programs has one wrestler remaining in the consolation draw.
Session I – Championship Round
Jonathan Childress opened the session for the Flames by losing his bout, 6-2, to Appalachian State Tony Gravely at 125 pounds.
In their third matchup of the year, Gravely jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead after three minutes of action. Childress fought back with a takedown in the second, but that would be the last time either grappler would score until Gravely added a point for his 2:14 riding time edge to secure the four-point decision win.
The first three minutes of action also proved to be tough for Joe Pantaleo in his 133-pound bout with Bill Ashnault of Rutgers. The Scarlett Knight grappler jumped out to a commanding 9-0 lead, thanks to an early takedown and three different moves that led to seven total near-fall points.
During the last four minutes, Pantaleo managed to score an escape point, but that would be all he could do, losing by technical fall, 16-1 (7:00), as the Rutgers grappler secured the 15-point win with 3:16 of riding time.
After two active bouts, Liberty's next wrestler took to the mats for the lowest scoring matchup of the session for the Flames.
No. 12 seed Adin Duenas of Cal State Fullerton jumped out to a 2-1 lead on Scott Clymer at 141 pounds. During the first three minutes, Duenas scored a takedown with 20 seconds left, followed quickly by an escape by Clymer
Neither grappler added points to the scoreboard during the second; however, Clymer controlled the entire period from on top to amass a sizeable riding time edge.
Starting out of the down position, Clymer quickly opened the third with an escape. The redshirt sophomore set the pace the rest of the way and with his 1:46 riding time edge, scored the upset to pick up the championship bracket win.
With the victory, Clymer joined two elite Liberty wrestling groups. His upset of this year's No. 12 seed marks the fourth time a Liberty wrestler has defeated a seeded opponent at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships. It also marked the eighth time a Liberty wrestler has posted a win during the championship bracket at the national event.
The next match continued to be a low-scoring bout until the final period, when Iowa State's Mitch Mueller scored 14 third-period points to defeat Liberty's Frankie Gayeski, 14-2, at 149 pounds. After a scoreless first, Mueller controlled the second period from the top position to gain two minutes of riding time.
The No. 7 seed finally got on the board with a quick escape in the third and then managed to score two takedowns, and use moves that led to a combined eight near-fall points. Gayeski managed to get away from Mueller twice, but it was not enough, as the Iowa State grappler added a point for 3:13 of riding time to secure the 12-point win.
For the second time during his three years at the national championship, Chad Porter ran into the No. 1 seed in the event. In 2008, Porter faced the top seed after a championship round win. However, this time around he faced the event's best in the opening round.
Wisconsin's Andrew Howe, who entered the event with a 32-0 record, made a quick move on Porter and scored a takedown 90 seconds into the bout. Just seconds later, last year's national runner-up ended the bout, as he pinned Porter at 2:03.
Liberty's final championship round bout was another rematch for Liberty, as the Flames Nick Knowles squared off against UNC Greensboro's Andrew Saunders for the second time in two months at 184 pounds.
The bout mirrored the Feb. 2 match-up nearly move-for-move until the last few seconds. Thanks to two takedowns and an escape, Saunders led, 5-0, after five minutes.
Starting from the neutral position for the final period, Knowles was able to get on the board with a takedown. However, unlike the previous match-up, Saunders was able to get away from Knowles' final-period takedown with five seconds left and then added a point for riding time (1:21) to secure the 7-2 decision win.
Session II – Championship and Wrestletback Round
Session II opened with a tough loss for the Flames, as Liberty's wins leader was eliminated from the event following a first-period loss by fall.
In a pigtail match at 149 pounds, Frankie Gayeski took on Michigan State's David Cheza, who opened with an aggressive move within the first 30 seconds to score a quick takedown.
The Spartan's redshirt sophomore continued to control the pace and eventually pinned Gayeski at 2:10. The loss brings to a close Gayeski's season at 26-8 and his two-year career at Liberty with a 38-25 mark after transferring from Lehigh.
In Liberty's lone match in the championship bracket, Scott Clymer looked to do what no other Flames' grappler had done before. And the redshirt sophomore came within seconds of becoming Liberty's first-ever quarterfinalist, before dropping a last-second 6-5 decision to Lehigh's Seth Ciasulli.
Two wrestlers were tied after three minutes, with Ciasulli scoring a takedown, which was quickly followed by a reversal by Clymer. Clymer pulled the same move in the second out of the down position to take a 4-2 lead going into the final period.
Starting from the neutral position, Ciasulli tied the bout at 4-4 with a takedown 30 seconds in the third. After a stoppage in action, Clymer was able to get away and regain the lead. But with the clock winding down, Ciasulli made one last push and scored a takedown with 10 seconds left to secure the one-point decision and send Clymer to the wrestleback bracket.
Following a short break that allowed the championship bracket to wrap-up action, Liberty's lightweights returned to the mats in wrestleback action. However, within 10 minutes, both first-time national qualifiers Jonathan Childress and Joe Pantaleo saw their national runs come to an end.
Childress, who was pitted against Virginia's Ross Gitomer in 125-pound action, saw the Cavalier grappler take the early lead with a takedown late in the first. Following quick escape by Gitomer to open the second out of the down position, Childress found himself in a 5-0 hole after Gitomer's second takedown.
The Virginia wrestler continued to control the pace during the last two minutes, adding a reversal, takedown and 1:48 of riding time to Childress' lone escape point to secure the 10-1 major decision win.
On the adjacent mat, Pantaleo jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead with a takedown in the first in his 133-pound bout with Utah Valley's Flint Ray. However, Ray dominated the second, scoring a quick escape, a takedown and three near-fall points just before the final whistle to open up a 6-2 lead over Pantaleo.
The two started neutral for the final two minutes, which saw Ray shoot in on Pantaleo midway through the period to score his second takedown and erase Pantaleo's riding time en route to the six-point decision win, 8-2.
The pair of losses ended the seasons for Liberty's lightweight starters and the pair's first trip the national championships. The two setbacks gave Childress a 12-16 record following his true freshman season, while consecutive losses by Pantaleo ended his redshirt freshman year with a 15-12 record and 26 career wins.
Liberty's lone grappler with experience at the national championships took to the mats roughly 45 minutes after Childress and Pantaleo's losses, but Porter's prior knowledge could not help him extend his stay in his third trip the nation's elite collegiate event.
The first period was the decisive time frame, as Minnesota's Cody Yohn scored a quick takedown in the first 15 seconds. He then added three moves that accumulated seven total near-fall points to take a 9-0 lead after three minutes in the 165-pound bout.
After Yohn added an escape in the second, Porter finally got on the scoreboard with an escape of his own to open the third. However, the damage had already been done, as Yohn added a second takedown and an extra point for 3:31 of riding time to secure the 13-2 major decision win.
Porter, who lost for just the seventh time in 33 career matches with a major decision outcome, finishes his redshirt junior year with a 23-11 record.
Porter, Liberty's active career wins leader with 84 victories, will return to lead the Flames next year and look to accomplish a feat no other Flame grappler has, as he will look to become Liberty's first-ever four-time national qualifier.
Liberty's final grappler to take to the mats on Thursday night unfortunately found the same fate as the four other Liberty wrestleback competitors that preceded him, as Nick Knowles lost an 8-0 major decision to Pittsburgh's Zac Thomusseit.
The bout was scoreless until Thomusseit scored a takedown with just over a minute left in the first period. The Pittsburgh wrestler followed with an escape and a second takedown in the middle period to open up a 5-0 edge after five minutes.
Out of the neutral position to open the third, Thomusseit scored his third takedown with just 38 seconds left, and then added 2:48 of riding time to wrap up his 8-0 win over Knowles.
The loss brings to a close Knowles' third year with the program in a season where he nearly doubled his career win total. The junior finished the year with a 17-15 record, giving him 35 career wins during three seasons of action.