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Liberty Wrestling Competes in Messiah Open
Aside from the two duals this past weekend, Liberty wrestling had success in the Messiah Open as several team members competed unattached in the event in Grantham, Pa.
Rich Bushby took the individual title at 165 pounds, while Joel Stafford (125 pounds), Joey Montgomery (141 pounds) and Andrew Wilson (HWT) claimed runner-up honors in their respective weight classes. Gabe Bird also notched a third-place finish at 157 pounds.
Unseeded Bushby started his run in the 165-pound bracket with a defeat of second seeded Ryan Pastore of host Messiah, knocking off the Falcon with a 5-0 decision. Bushby then recorded back-to-back pins, defeating Zack Cook of Elizabethtown (1:53) and Nick Grinups of Drexel (5:24). Meeting another unseeded opponent in the final, Bushby edged out a 3-2 decision over Drexel's Alex Rinaldi for the title.
Holding a three seed in the tournament, Stafford advanced to the finals without much opposition. After opening with an 11-3 major decision over Andrew Rentzel of Messiah, Stafford advanced with a technical fall over Delaware Valley's Anthony Miuccio.
The sophomore moved to the finals with pins of Taylor Stuart of Wilkes (5:46) and second seeded Tyler Erdman of Shippensburg (3:30). In the finals, the top seeded Naryman Arujau of American defeated Stafford with a fall at the 4:33 mark.
Montgomery held his second seed to advance to the finals at 141 pounds. The Flames' junior defeated Wilkes' Jeff Peterson, 4-2, to open the tournament. After earning an 11-4 major decision over Waynesburg's Dan Bruni and a 3-2 decision over Nick Grim of Elizabethtown, Montgomery fell to one seeded Frank Goodwin of Maryland, 9-4.
Freshman Bird posted a 5-1 record to place third at the event. Holding the two seed in the 157-pound bracket, Bird won by fall in two of his first three bouts, defeating Kyle Toth of Millersville (3:56) and Michael Ward of Lycoming (5:21). Bird also had an 11-6 decision over Thomas Andresen of Wilkes, before getting sent to the wrestle backs with a close defeat from Sam Lombardo of Waynesburg, 8-7.
In the wrestle back bracket, Bird received a default and a medical forfeit to claim third place.
In the heavyweight draw, Andrew Wilson came up one bout short of the title, becoming the Flames third runner-up on the day. Wilson began the event by defeating sixth seeded Marty Kisla of Waynesburg with a 3-1 decision. Wilson then advanced behind two wins by fall, besting Louis Orem of Wilkes (2:18) and Zane Bachert of Messiah (1:45).
Wilson upended seconded seeded Tim Katzaman of Elizabethtown with a 7-0 decision, before being defeated by top seed Blake Herin of American, 3-0.
The Flames have no more open tournaments left on the slate, with their next competition coming on Feb. 2 when they travel to UNC Greensboro to take on the Spartans in a dual scheduled for 7 p.m.