|Flames wrestler Andrew Wilson claimed the 235-pound national title Saturday, leading Liberty to a third-place team finish at the NCWA championship tournament.|
Senior wrestler Andrew Wilson claimed the 235-pound national title at Saturday’s 16th-annual National Collegiate Wrestling Association championship tournament, held at the Allen Event Center in Allen, Texas.
Including Wilson, the Liberty University wrestling team nabbed seven all-American nods and finished third place as a team overall, repeating its standing from last year.
This was a fruitful four-day harvest for the Flames in their second national tournament of the year, after placing second at the NCWA national duals, Jan. 18 in Georgia. They reaped one national champion in Wilson, two runner-up medalists, two third-place consolation prize winners, one fourth-place finisher, and one seventh-place showing to amass 130.5 points and finish third behind California Baptist (145.5) and McKendree (Ill., 139). Liberty’s total was just two points ahead of fourth-place Lindenwood-St. Charles (128.5), the team that defeated it in the national duals final.
Liberty junior Aaron Thompson (22-6), the Flames’ only returning national champion and a Mid-Atlantic Conference winner at 197 pounds, came one point short of defending his crown, falling to McKendree’s Julian Smith (32-6), the Great Lakes Conference champion, 3-2 in the final.
Flames freshman Marcus Miller, a Liberty Christian Academy graduate, was one of the biggest surprises in the tournament, also claiming second-place honors with an extremely close match in the 157-pound title bout.
Liberty junior 184-pound wrestler Royal Brettrager, another returning runner-up from last year, was one of two third-place finishers along with Bobby Clymer at 165.