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Flames Return To Wrestling Mats With Pair Of Victories At Hokie Classic

November 5, 2006
|  Blacksburg, Va.
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The Flames finished 2-1 at the Hokie Classic on Sunday.

The Flames finished 2-1 at the Hokie Classic on Sunday.

For the first time in over 12 years, the Liberty University wrestling team returned to the mats on Sunday at the Hokie Classic in Cassell Coliseum, finishing the afternoon with a pair of victories amongst three matches. 

The Flames, now 2-1 on the early season, downed Anderson (37-3) and James Madison (29-23) and fell to Virginia Tech (40-6) in the quad match. The Hokie Classic marks the official return of wrestling to the University after the program was disbanded in 1994, with wrestling becoming the 18th NCAA Division I athletics program that the school offers. 

Liberty started the day with a resounding 37-3 victory over Anderson College, including victories in its first nine weight classes. Patrick Walker opened the match with a major decision over Aaron Lambert, 9-0, at 285 pounds, followed by the Flames' first pin of the season as Daniel Early stuck Nathan Flemming to the mat 6:17 into the match at 125 pounds. 

Kyle Walters (174 pounds) and Jonathan Campbell (184 pounds) capped off the opening-match victory with a pair of pins at 6:37 and 6:47, respectively, to secure Liberty's victory over the Trojans. 

In the second match, the Flames jumped out to an early lead on the homestanding Hokies as Walker recorded a 5-1 decision over Jim Powers at 285 pounds and two matches later, Zachary McCray picked up a 2-1 decision over Matt Rosen at 133 pounds to open up a 9-6 edge after three matches. 

But the remainder of the session belonged to the Hokies as Virginia Tech claimed victories in the last seven weight classes, including pins in five of the seven matches with the last being a 5:28 pin by Steve Borja, who ranks fourth in the nation at 184 pounds, over Campbell. 

The Flames' final session of the evening proved to be the most thrilling of the day as five of the 10 weight classes were decided by pins, including three by James Madison, but Liberty managed to claim victory in four of the last five weight classes to secure the win. 

Patrick Walker started the match with an early win as he pinned Zack Winfrey 2:57 into the match at 285 pounds. Early followed with a major decision over Nhat Nguyen, 19-9, at 125 pounds, but the Dukes responded with pins by Brandon Luce (133 pounds) and Jeff Jacobs (149 pounds) at 3:45 and 4:50 to narrow the Flames' early margin. 

However, a 6-3 decision by Shaun Smith (157 pounds) over Nick Broccoli, a pin at 6:42 by Chad Porter (165 pounds) and an 11-2 major decision by Kyle Walters (174 pounds) over Kwaki Duffour Donkor secured the win for Liberty to close out the afternoon. 

Walker finished the day with a 3-0 record with a pair of decisions and the pin against the Dukes to lead the way for the Flames at 285 pounds. McCray followed with the decisions over Anderson (at 133 pounds) and Virginia Tech (at 141 pounds), while Smith (157 pounds), Porter (165 pounds) and Kyle Walters (174 pounds) all finished the afternoon with two wins each. 

The Flames continue the 2006-07 comeback season with a tri-match at N.C. State on Wednesday where they will face the Wolfpack in their season opener and Campbell. The tri-match is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. in Raleigh, N.C.

Liberty def. Anderson, 37-3
285 Walker (LU) maj. dec. Lambert, 9-0
125 Early (LU) fall Flemming, 6:17
133 Catz (LU) dec. Wade, 9-6
141 McCray (LU) dec. Francis, 4-2
149 Kelley (LU) dec. Selke, 4-0
157 Smith (LU) dec. Gardner, 5-1
165 Porter (LU) dec. Godwin, 5-4
174 Walters (LU) fall Niesielowski, 6:37
184 Campbell (LU) fall Nothum, 6:47
197 Skinner (AU) dec. Bolsek, 6-2

Virginia Tech def. Liberty, 40-6
285 Walker (LU) dec Powers (VT), 5-1
125 Moran (VT) maj. dec Katz (LU), 13-4
133 McCray (LU) dec. Rosen (VT), 2-1 -1 team point for VT
141 Johnson (VT) pin McDonnell (LU), 2:39
149 Bonilla-Bowman (VT) pin Harner (LU), 6:40
157 Epperly (VT) maj. dec. Smith (LU), 16-4
165 Decker (VT) pin Son (LU), 4:32
174 Ratley (VT) pin Walters (LU) 3:23
184 #4 Borja (VT) pin Campbell (LU), 5:28
197 Miller (VT) dec. Bosek (LU), 4-3

Liberty def. James Madison, 29-23
285 Walker (LU) fall Winfrey, 2:57
125 Earler (LU) maj. dec. Nguyen, 19-9
133 Luce (JMU) fall McCray, 3:45
141 Mitchum (LU) TF McDonnell, 4:02 (16-0)
149 Jacobs (JMU) fall Kelley, 4:50
157 Smith (LU) dec. Broccoli, 6-3
165 Porter (LU) fall DiVello, 6:42
174 K. Walters (LU) maj. dec. Duffour Donkor, 11-2
184 Daggett (LU) med. def. Rafeedie
197 Robarge (JMU) fall Bosek, 2:38