Flames wrestlers place five in top 10 at Citrus Invitational
December 30, 2015 | Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Liberty University's wrestling team recorded two fifth-place finishes and landed a total of five competitors in the top 10 at Tuesday's and Wednesday's Citrus Invitational Tournament in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
"We saw some great competition and kicked off the second semester on a great note," Flames Head Coach Jesse Castro said.
Liberty senior 197-pound wrestler Alex Cox entered the tournament unseeded but surprised the competition, earning three hard-fought decisions before decking Augsburg's Mitch Nelson with a 51-second fall in the fifth-place final.
Sophomore Josh Ferenczy also came in fifth in an extremely talented and experienced 174-pound weight class, scoring a 19-2 technical fall in his first match before earning an 8-3 victory over Augsburg's Jackson Graham. After slipping to the consolation bracket by dropping a 13-4 major decision to New York University's John Messinger, Ferenczy lost an 11-2 major decision to Augsburg's Austin Boniface, the eventual third-place finisher, before finishing fifth by forfeit.
Flames 125-pound freshman Dell Ngonga, seeded seventh, was shut out in his first bout before advancing through the consolation bracket and scoring a 13-5 major decision over Millikin University's Zach Whitsel in the seventh-place bout.
Fellow freshman Logan Smith, also seeded seventh, went 3-3 to place eighth in an extremely deep 141-pound weight class. He slipped to the consolation bracket with a 6-5 setback in his opening match before winning his next three bouts in the wrestlebacks — 9-4 over Williams College's Gabriel Corrochano, 8-6 over Augsburg's Mike Hayes, and by pin in 2:56 over Waynesburg University's Fillipo Crivelli — before dropping his last two matches by 6-2 and 6-5 scores.
Liberty 133-pound freshman Brian DiCesare, seeded fourth, finished ninth in his weight class after losing both his championship and consolation bouts.
Junior Ike Podell bumped up a weight class and exceled at 157 pounds before withdrawing from the tournament on Wednesday due to injury. He recorded two pins — in his opener against Cornell College's Jordan Girard in 2:27 and Leonard Bloom in 1:52 in the consolation bracket, after recording a 14-0 major decision over Augsburg's Dwayne Williams.
Podell filled in for sophomore Michael Bryant, who also wrestled up a weight class and went 2-2 with one pin at 165.
The Flames are now gearing up for the Jan. 8-9 Virginia Duals at the Hampton Coliseum, with a split squad also competing at the Jan. 9 Washington & Lee Invitational in Lexington, Va.