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Wrestling to Compete in Tri-Match in Chattanooga
Liberty wrestling will make its first trip to Chattanooga, Tenn., this weekend, where they will face off with Chattanooga as well as Cumberland in a tri-match on Sunday afternoon in Chattanooga's McKenzie Arena.
Liberty is coming off of a successful opening weekend, posting a 3-1 record at the Terrapin Duals in College Park, Md. The Flames defeated the host, Maryland (21-17), as well as McDaniel (30-9) and Johns Hopkins (35-9). Their lone loss came at the hands of West Virginia (24-12).
The upper weight classes proved to be a strength for the Flames, as Aaron Kelley (184 pounds), Aaron Thompson (197 pounds) and Josh Pelletier (HWT) led the way for Liberty, compiling a combined 9-2 record in their bouts.
Kelley, who returns to action for Liberty after redshirting last season, posted a 3-1 record. After dropping an 11-4 decision to West Virginia's Matt Ryan, Kelley earned a 13-2 major decision over McDaniel's Scott Forrester, a 7-3 decision over Maryland's Alex Pagnotta and a 16-0 technical fall victory over Ben Finelli of Johns Hopkins.
Thompson's 3-1 mark also came despite dropping his opening match by way of a 9-0 major decision from Kyle Rooney of West Virginia. Thompson then claimed back-to-back decision wins over Will Yeo (3-1) of McDaniel, and Christian Boley (6-2) of Maryland before pinning Reid Mosquera of Johns Hopkins in just 1:39.
Redshirt senior Josh Pelletier anchored the Flames at heavyweight by producing a 3-0 record on the day. Pelletier earned a 4-0 decision over Phillip Mandzik of West Virginia, an injury default over Maryland's Spencer Meyers and wrapped up the day by pinning Rick Danilkowicz of Johns Hopkins in 2:54.
At 174 pounds, freshmen were able to make impressive debuts for the Flames, going 3-1 with each victory coming by fall. Kirtland, Ohio native Royal Brettrager II tallied two pins on the day, defeating West Virginia's Matt Weston 1:22 into the bout, and Johns Hopkins' Patrick Stanley in 1:28. Marcus Nielson of St. Frederick, Md., claimed the third pin at the weight class, defeating Brad Thomas of McDaniel only 1:08 into the match.
Liberty and Chattanooga will match up for the second time in the programs' history. The first meeting took place last season, when the Mocs and Flames squared off at the Hoosier Duals in Bloomington, Ind. Chattanooga came away with the 25-14 win.
Chattanooga (0-1) is coming off a full opening weekend, as they started with a dual match against Kent State, who is ranked inside the Top 25 in various national rankings, and finished by competing in the Hokie Open.
Cody Cleveland (141 pounds) and Jason McCrosky (184 pounds) highlight the Mocs roster, with each being ranked in the NWCA's latest rankings. Cleveland ranks No. 6, while McCroskey holds the No. 19 spot.
In Chattanooga's opening dual against Kent State, Cleveland recorded a pin (5:22) over Chase Skonieczny to open the season, while McCroskey picked up a 4-3 decision over Casey Newburg. Despite their victories, Kent State picked up the dual win, 24-12.
In the Hokie Open, three Mocs were able to place in the top five of the event.
McCroskey produced a 4-1 record, including a 4-2 decision over UNC Greensboro's 17th-ranked Andrew Saunders, to place third at 184 pounds.
Sophomores Josh Condon (157 pounds) and Niko Brown (197 pounds) ended the day with fifth-place finishes for the Mocs. Brown's lone loss of the day came to No. 16 Eric Schuth of Ohio.
The Flames' dual with Cumberland will mark the first meeting with the NAIA program. Located in Lebanon, Tenn., the Bulldogs are led by head coach Jared Swint, who is in his eighth season.
In the NAIA's preseason coaches poll, Cumberland was ranked No. 5, and has seven grapplers ranked inside the top 10. Michael Davis holds the highest ranking, being No. 1 at 141 pounds. Corey Bleaken is ranked No. 3 at 165 pounds, while Noah Hunt (125 pounds), James Casadaban (174 pounds) and Byron Stewart (HWT) each have a No. 5 ranking. Matthew Stanfield (133 pounds) and David Wiese (157 pounds) round out the Bulldogs ranked wrestlers, holding No. 8 and 9 rankings in their respective weight classes.
Three of the ranked Bulldogs are All-Americans. Bleaken is a two-time All-American at 149 pounds, with a third place finish in 2007 and a seventh place finish in 2009. Teammates Casadaban (157 pounds) and Davis (141 pounds) earned the honors last year, finishing second and third at their respective weights at the national tournament.
LibertyFlames.com will provide live coverage from Chattanooga's McKenzie Arena on Sunday via the LibertyFlames Twitter page. The Flames begin by facing Chattanooga at 2:00 p.m., and the match with Cumberland will immediately follow.
Fans wishing to follow Liberty Athletics' coverage at the Terrapin Duals will need to "follow" the LibertyFlames Twitter page by clicking here or the link at the top of the page.
Additionally, a live video feed will be available through Chattanooga All Access on GoMocs.com. Live scoring will also be available on GoMocs.com.
Liberty's Probable Starting Lineup:
125 – Jonathan Childress or Joel Stafford
133 – Joe Pantaleo
141 – Seth Hicks or Joey Montgomery
149 – Scott Clymer or Rich Bushby
157 – Eric Reger
165 – Eli Sanchez or Jonathan Perkins
174 – Chad Porter or Royal Brettrager II
184 – Aaron Kelley
197 – Aaron Thompson
285 – Josh Pelletier
Chattanooga's Probable Starting Lineup:
125 – Prescott Garner
133 – Cody Hood
141 – Cody Cleveland or Shawn Greevy
149 – Dean Pavlou or Alex Hudson
157 – Josh Condon or Dan Waddell
165 – Brandon Wright
174 – Levi Clemons
184 – Jason McCroskey
197 – Niko Brown
285 – Matt Lettner
Cumberland's Probable Starting Lineup:
125 – Noah Hunt
133 – Joshua Chappa or Matt Stanfield
141 – Ryan McKenzie or Dexter Bushart
149 – Andy Shoultz
157 – David Wiese or Cody Bleaken
165 – Zeke Hunt or Corey Bleaken
174 – James Casadaban
184 – Scott Stewart
197 – AJ Mott
285 – Sam Andrade