|Flames freshmen Ryan Diehl receives the NCWA Wrestler of the Year award after winning the 133-pound title in Allen, Texas.|
Liberty University wrestler Ryan Diehl capped off a phenomenal freshman season as an undefeated 133-pound national champion, helping the Flames hold on for a second-place team showing at Saturday's NCWA National Championships at the Allen Event Center in Allen, Texas. Diehl also received the NCWA's Wrestler of the Year award.
The second-seeded Diehl upset Massachusetts Institute of Technology's top-seeded, undefeated, defending national champion senior Sam Shames, 15-10, to finish his first year of collegiate wrestling at 34-0. As the Flames' only championship finalist, he needed to win to allow Liberty (171.5 points) to hold off third-place Shorter University (162.5) and finish runner-up to national team champion Grand Canyon University (254.5).
"It was an amazing day," Flames Head Coach Jesse Castro said. "It's been like a roller coaster."
Seven Flames wrestlers reached the championship quarterfinals after Thursday's opening day of competition, with Diehl advancing to the finals.