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Wrestling Opens Season At Hokie Classic - Live Scoring Available
The Flames will open the day-long event against Anderson at 3 p.m., followed by a meeting with host Virginia Tech at 4:30 p.m. Liberty will close out the season-opening competition against James Madison at 6 p.m. Gardner-Webb will also be at the event, but Liberty will not square off against the Bulldogs on the afternoon.
For those not able to attend the event, HokiesSports.com will be providing Live Scoring for the event throughout the day. Below is a link to Tournament Central for the Hokie Classic, plus a full schedule of events for the day.
Hokie Classic Tournament Central link
Virginia Tech vs. James Madison – 1 p.m.
Gardner-Webb vs. James Madison – 3 p.m.
Liberty vs. Anderson – 3 p.m.
Gardner-Webb vs. Anderson – 4:30 p.m.
Virginia Tech vs. Liberty – 4:30 p.m.
Virginia Tech vs. Gardner-Webb – 6 p.m.
Liberty vs. James Madison – 6 p.m.
Virginia Tech vs. Anderson – 7:30 p.m.
Brief History of Liberty Wrestling
Under the direction of coaches Bob Bonheim (1974-86) and Don Shuler (1987-94), the wrestling program grew from a small group of walk-on athletes in 1974 to one of the more successful programs at Liberty University.
The program began as a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) at which level the Flames competed for eight seasons. Liberty quickly made its mark at the NCCAA level, winning five-consecutive national championships, starting with the 1976-77 season.
In 1981, the Flames made the move to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) level where Liberty finished its first season 18th at the national tournament. The Flames followed with a pair of Top 20 finishes over the next three seasons, before moving to the NCAA Division II ranks for the 1983-84 season.
In its first season at the Division II ranks, the Flames placed 23rd at the national tournament, while continuing to improve over the next several seasons, highlighted by a fifth-place finish at the national championship in 1986.
In 1988, Liberty had its first major individual accomplishment as Warren Stewart won the NCAA II national championship at 142 pounds. The following season, the Flames made the move to the NCAA Division I level, where Liberty finished seventh at the NCAA Division I Eastern Regional, while having two athletes qualify for the national tournament.
Over the next five years, the program continued to develop, sending at least two individual athletes to the national tournament each season, while the team finished as high as 32nd in the national rankings in 1991.
In total, the Flames finished a 20-year span of wrestling with a cumulative 180-101-6 record and had 42 athletes earn All-American honors at various levels, including 22 NCCAA All-Americans, four NAIA All-Americans and 16 NCAA Division II All-Americans.
On February 24, 2005, the Liberty University Athletics Department announced the reinstatement of the wrestling program after an 11-year hiatus and former wrestling standout Jesse Castro was named head coach on August 9, 2005.
The reinstatement of wrestling marks the first addition to the Liberty University Athletic Department since 2001 when the school added women's tennis.