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Liberty Rolls over Campbell
The Liberty wrestling squad picked up an overwhelming victory over the Campbell Camels on Saturday afternoon inside Liberty's Schilling Center, knocking off its fellow NCAA East Region foe, 38-3.
The Flames won eight of the 10 weight divisions, and picked up a forfeit victory in another, only allowing the visitors one weight class win on the night.
The win improves Liberty to 6-3 in dual meets this season, while dropping the Camels to 0-2.
The home win boosts the Flames' record in home matches to 14-5-1 since the reinstatement of the program for the 2006-07 season, including a 6-1 mark inside the Schilling Center.
Starting the dual at the 174-pound weight class, the Flames jumped out to a quick lead behind the effort from freshman Royal Brettrager II. Facing Peter Comis, Brettrager scored multiple takedowns in the opening period, to gain a 4-1 lead. Comis attempted to make a comeback in the final period by scoring two takedowns, but Brettrager II also had riding time, to take the bout 10-8.
At 184 pounds, John Merickel picked up the Camels' sole win on the evening, by defeating freshman Marcus Nielson, 4-1, which tied the match 3-3.
Aaron Thompson then put the Flames back on top at 197 pounds and also pushed his win streak to eight, winning by technical fall over Justin Sparrow. Thompson wasted little time, posting a takedown just 37 seconds into the bout. The Vinton, Va., native added three more takedowns in the first period to take an 8-3 lead into the second. After Sparrow chose the bottom position to start the second period, Thompson added more points by scoring back-to-back three-point near falls. Thompson added an escape and a takedown in the final period to seal the 19-4 technical fall win (5:29).
Moving to the heavyweight class, Josh Pelletier earned his 10th victory on the year, and seventh in dual meets. In one of the lowest-scoring bouts of the night, Pelletier used a first period takedown to account for the majority of his scoring. The Charleston, Maine native led 3-1 entering the final period, and held his opponent, Parker Burns to just an escape in the final stanza, earning the 3-2 decision. With the win, the Flames extended their lead to 11-3, and never looked back.
Joel Stafford scored his second win by fall this year at 125 pounds, pinning Tanner Bidelspach 3:58 into the bout and pushing the Flames' lead to 17-3.
Liberty's second win by technical fall came at 133 pounds, where T. J. Mitchell defeated freshman Michael Jordan in the third period, 17-2. The majority of Mitchell's points came in the opening period, where he tallied two takedowns, an escape, and two and three-point near falls to open a 10-1 lead. Mitchell sealed the victory by scoring a takedown 29 seconds into the final period.
In a high-scoring match, Joey Montgomery and Brad Merriman combined for 26 points scored, with Montgomery taking the bout, 16-10. Montgomery held a 12-5 edge moving into the final period, and managed to hold off a charge by Merriman who tacked on a pair of two-point near falls in the period. Montgomery received one penalty point and escaped twice, while also adding a point for riding time to hold on and win the decision, giving the Flames a 25-3 lead.
Liberty picked up six more team points at 149 pounds behind a forfeit from the Camels, to put the match well out of reach at 31-3.
After a scoreless first period at 157 pounds, Liberty's Julian Colon opened up a 5-3 lead behind a three-point near fall and a takedown in the second period. Each grappler scored a reversal in the final two minutes of action, while Colon also gained the riding time point, giving him the 8-5 decision.
In the final weight class of the evening, Chad Porter controlled his bout from start to finish after opening up a 6-1 lead in the first period. Porter added six more points in the final two periods without allowing Joel Caudill to post any more points, giving him the 12-1 major decision win at 165 and the Flames the 38-3 win for the match.
The Flames next compete on Dec. 19 when they travel to Reno, Nev., to take part in the Reno Tournament of Champions. The event is one of the top tournaments in the country and includes nearly 30 collegiate programs.