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Castro Announces Wrestling Transfer

January 18, 2006  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Liberty University head wrestling coach Jesse Castro has announced that former Duke/Virginia Tech wrestler Christian Smith has transferred to Liberty for the spring semester. Smith will be a part of the program's reinstated squad that is scheduled to return to competition in 2006-07 and he will have 1.5 years of eligibility left at Liberty.
"Christian Smith will be a great addition to our newly reinstated program," remarked Castro. "He is a seasoned wrestler with NCAA Division I national experience. This experience will serve as a catalyst going into our first competitive season in twelve years. Christian is definitely a great fit as he has a heart for God and a desire to minister to the youth."

Smith started his collegiate career at Duke where he finished the 2003-04 season with a 30-12 record and won the ACC title at 125 pounds as a freshman, earning a berth to the NCAA Tournament. He also recorded four top five finishes and tied for the national lead in falls for the 125-pound weight class.

During his sophomore season, Smith compiled a 12-5 record before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury. He was granted a medical redshirt for the year and finished his career at Duke with a 42-17 overall record. Smith was enrolled at Virginia Tech prior to coming to Liberty, posting a 5-7 overall record for the Hokies during the fall season.

"I am very excited to be a part of Liberty's wrestling program," stated Smith. "I recognize Liberty wrestling has had a great deal of success in the past. I am passionate about Liberty's wrestling program, and I feel honored to be part of its future."

"What more could I ask for? Liberty University's decision to reinstate its wrestling program will create a wrestling environment that is God-focused and driven," continued Smith. "That is what I am most excited about. My decision to transfer to Liberty was very much influenced by the desire God has put in my heart to concentrate on youth ministry. I expect great things to come from Liberty wrestling and I'm very grateful to be a part of it."
Smith was a four-year letterwinner at Western Branch High School in his hometown of Chesapeake, Va. where he was under the direction of head coaches Brian Dugan and Bob Simon. He finished his prep career with a 176-16 record and was ranked as high as fourth in the nation by Wrestling USA Magazine as a senior.
Smith was a three-time AAA Virginia State Champion (103, 112 and 119 pounds) and was a 2002 USA Wrestling junior grand champion.
"There is a strong tie with the university through Christian's father, Wayne Smith," commented Castro. "Ironically, Wayne was a member of the first wrestling team here in 1975 when former wrestling coach Bob Bonheim started the program. Wayne went on to become team captain and earn All-American status his senior year."
"As a freshman, Wayne was my senior captain. I had the utmost respect for him as a person and as a competitor. To see Christian here on campus is like déjà vu."