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Harner And Smith Highlight Flames' Third-Place Finish At Virginia Intercollegiates
Tim Harner and Christian Smith both claimed first place in their respective weight classes at the Virginia Intercollegiate State Wresting Tournament, helping the Flames place third against their fellow wrestling programs inside the Commonwealth on Saturday.
Host Old Dominion claimed first place in the team standings with 196 points, thanks in part to three weight class champions, followed by Virginia who finished in second place with 179 points after a tournament-best four individual champions.
The Flames rounded out the top three teams with 116 points, just edging out George Mason (114 points) for third place. Harner was named the event's Outstanding Wrestler and Liberty had nine of its 12 wrestlers place in the tournament which was an impressive feat considering the Flames had several starters sidelined for the event.
Liberty forfeited two weight classes (174 and 184) and the Flames had the likes of Patrick Walker (18-5 on the year) and Kyle Walters (7-7 on the season) unavailable due to nagging injuries.
Smith finished the day with a perfect 3-0 record en route to the 125 pound championship, including two wins by fall and a 3-2 decision over Virginia's Ross Gitomer in the championship bout. Sean Katz also competed at 125 pounds and posted a 1-2, which included a 5-2 decision over Old Dominion's Kyle Hutter.
Sam Walters placed fourth at 133 pounds thanks to a 3-2 record which included a pair of major decision wins and a victory by fall over George Mason's Mostafa Ibrahim (1:31) in the consolation bracket.
Harner recorded an unblemished 4-0 mark as the champion of the 141 pound weight class, marking the fourth tournament, the sophomore has placed in. Harner's victory march included a win by fall, a technical fall and pair of decisions which included a 3-2 decision win over Old Dominion's Ryan Williams in the title match.
Aaron Kelley finished the day with a 3-2 record to place fifth at 149 pounds, including a victory by technical fall and two by fall with the final pin coming over Appreciate's Matt Perry (3:22) in the fifth-place match-up.
Shaun Smith placed fourth in the 157 weight class with a 3-2 record. Smith opened the day with a 12-2 major decision win over George Mason's Kovash Dasatan's, followed by two wins by decision, before succumbing to ODU's Chris Brown, 10-2, in the third-place bout.
Liberty had two wrestlers place at 165 pounds as Chad Porter finished third, followed by Joseph Son who finished fifth. Porter finished the event with a 2-1 record, which included two major decision wins with the last being a 9-1 victory over VMI's John Burton to claim third place. Son posted a 1-2 record to place fifth.
Rory Bosek and Mike Nielson represented the Flames at 197 pounds and Bosek kept the Flames' run of placements going as he finished sixth. Bosek posted a 1-3 record on the afternoon, including his second pin of the year at 5:30 over George Mason's David Russell.
Josh Pelletier was the final Flame to place at the state tournament as the junior finished sixth with a 1-3 record which included a 3-1 decision win over Virginia's Jack Danilkowicz.
The Flames will remain inside the Commonwealth for their next event as they travel back across the state to participate in the Virginia Duals on Saturday at the Hampton Coliseum.