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Flames' Wrestling Team Places Seventh At Navy Classic

November 18, 2006
|  Annapolis, Md.
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Shaun Smith (157 pounds) finished fourth at the Navy Classic.

Shaun Smith (157 pounds) finished fourth at the Navy Classic.

The Liberty University wrestling team placed seventh out of 13 teams in its first tournament of the season at the Navy Classic, hosted by Navy at Halsey Field House on Saturday. 

Navy, behind the strength of four weight class championships, won the Navy Classic with 148.5 points, marking the third-straight season that the Midshipmen have claimed the event's title. Bloomsburg finished second with 141.5 points and West Virginia finished third with 102 points. The Flames placed seventh with 46 points. 

The Flames' strong finish was helped by a pair of fourth-place finishes as Tim Harner finished fourth at 141 pounds and Shaun Smith finished fourth at 157 pounds. Chad Porter was the only other Flames wrestler to place at the tournament as he finished fifth at 165 pounds. 

Sean Katz highlighted Liberty's performances at 125 pounds as he picked up wins over Rutgers' Andrew DelGurcio (4-0) and Binghamton's Rob Slavin (pin at 1:00) before falling to Navy's Matt Pagan (pin at 4:54), who finished fourth in the weight class, and Davidson's Ben Altman (8-6). 

The Flames had three compete at 133 pounds with Zachary McCray leading the way. McCray picked up wins over Davidson's Chris Panfili (2-0) and McDaniel's Artie Kaehler (7-2) before bowing out of the event against Rutger's Dan Hilt. 

At 141 pounds, Harner defeated Bucknell's Andrew Scannell (pin at 1:48), Rutger's Kyle Milanese (7-0) and George Mason's David Emison (4-2) before falling to eventual champion Brandon Rader from West Virginia (19-7) and third-place finisher Brad Canterbury from Navy (7-5) to claim fourth place in the weight class. 

Aaron Kelley dropped an early match to seventh-seeded Dennis Bermundez (14-4) at 149 pounds, but rebounded to make a nice run in the consolation bracket with wins over George Mason's Chris Cartella (8-4), Bucknell's Anthony Deleo (pin at 3:16), Bucknell's Mike Guttilla (6-5). But Bermendez ended the run in a rematch where the Bloomsburg wrestler pinned Kelley at 1:17. 

At 157 pounds, Smith picked up wins over George Mason's Dan Cook (9-1), Navy's Dustin Packard (6-4), Delaware's Joshua McGregor (3-1 sd) and George Mason's Robert Henry (5-2) before Bucknell's Brantley Hooks claimed a 2-0 win over Smith in the third-place round. 

Porter continued the Flames' success at 165 pounds as he rebounded from an early loss to Bloomsburg's Rickey Schmelyun (11-3) to down teammate Joseph Son (10-3), Davidson's Kevin Cook (10-1), Navy's Andrey Ivashchenko (10-3) and West Virginia's Eric Connolly (6-2). Schmelyun got the better of Porter again, 9-2, later in the tournament before Porter downed Duquesne's Cody Midlam, 7-0, to finish in fifth place. 

However, the upper weight classed didn't prove to be quite as successful for the Flames as Jonathan Campbell's wins over Duquesne's Scott Black (7-5) and Duquesne's Mike Buczkowski (pin at 2:25) at 174 pounds were the only Flames wins in the final four groupings. 

Wrestling returns to the Liberty University campus for the first time since the 1994 season when the Flames host James Madison, Campbellsville and Newberry in a quad meet in the Vines Center on Wednesday starting at 10 a.m.

2006 Navy Classic Team Points
Place   Points   Team  1.      148.5    Navy  2.      141.5    Bloomsburg  3.      102      West Virginia  4.      91.5     Bucknell  5.      76.5     George Mason  6.      48.5     Rutgers  7.      46       Liberty  8.      42.5     Davidson  9.      42       Duquesne  10.     34       Campbell  11.     28.5     Binghamton  12.     15.5     McDaniel  13.     13       Delaware