Flames pad lead, land five in NCWA championship finals
March 13, 2015 | Allen, Texas
On the second day of the NCWC National Championships, Liberty University's wrestling team built onto its team lead with more pins, as well as major decisions and technical falls, and sent five individuals into Saturday's championship finals at the Allen Event Center in Texas.
With 176 points, including 24 for winning the NCWA National Duals, the Flames lead Mid-Atlantic Conference (MAC) rival Middle Tennessee State University (115.5) by more than 60 points heading into the third and final day of competition. Rochester (108), Naval Academy Prep (104.5), Central Florida (83), and Air Force Prep (82.5) are also in contention as Navy and Air Force each have four finalists.
Liberty sophomore 235-pounder Evan Canady, who recorded four pins en route to the Feb. 28 MAC tournament championship, has chalked up four more to advance to Saturday's final. On Friday, he needed just 1:21 to deck Dan Breit of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute before Central Florida's Tyrell Walker took him into the third period before Canady finally leveled his shoulders to the mat at 5:14. Canady, seeded second, will meet North Florida's top-seeded Stuart Maddox in Saturday's final.
Similarly, the 285-pound final will pit the top two heavyweights — Flames graduate student Josh Pelletier, who's ranked No. 1 in the NCWA, and Davenport's No. 2-seeded Glenn Geurink. After winning his first matches by pin on Thursday, Pelletier settled for two major decisions on Friday — by 10-2 count over Grand Valley State's Miguel Correa and a 12-4 score over Rochester's Luis Pinto.
Liberty sophomore Tim Nordan, who won his first two matches by pin on Thursday, advanced to the championship final with two narrow decisions on Friday — 6-4 over Brett Himes of Penn State-Dubois and 7-4 over Michael Dauterive of Texas-Arlington. He will meet Air Force Academy Prep's Isaac Jimenez in Saturday's final.
Flames sophomore 141-pounder Ike Podell evades a hold by Massachusetts' Greg Williams in a consolation match won by Podell by pin in 2 minutes, 47 seconds. Like Ryan Diehl, he has locked up All-American status. (Photo courtesy of Sam Janicki.).
At 141 pounds, Flames sophomore defending 133-pound national champion Ryan Diehl, who needed less than a minute to finish off falls in Thursday's first two rounds, took 2:04 to pin Wayne State's Casey Glassgow before advancing to the championship bout with a 16-0 technical fall over Glendale Community College's Alexis Martinez. Diehl will try to defend his title against second-seeded Naval Academy Prep's Adam Connell.
Flames freshman 174-pounder Josh Llopez, who advanced to the semifinals with two first-period pins, cruised into the championship bout with two technical falls — 20-5 over Kennesaw State's Eric Brovont and 20-4 over Rochester's Cory Berry. Llopez will face PSU-New Kensington's Phil Marra, who pinned Liberty senior Josh Sturgill in Thursday's second round, in Saturday's final.
Senior Chase Boontjer reached the semifinals in the 165-pound weight class with an 18-3 technical fall over Rochester College's Tyler Vogt before being forced to take a medical forfeit in his bout with PSU-Mont Alto's Clay Kocsis.
On Thursday, Liberty 149-pound junior Peter Tatanish was sent to the hospital with a neck injury sustained during his consolation match against Rowan's John Chillem. The Flames visited him there that night and he was released in time to watch some of Friday's action in person.
Action resumes Saturday at 11 a.m. (EST). Results and live streams of matches throughout the tournament are available online.