Liberty advances five wrestlers to NCWA quarterfinals
March 10, 2016 | Kissimmee, Fla.
A strong opening day of competition in the NCWA Grand National Championships put Liberty University's wrestling team in position to contend for its second consecutive tournament title, or at least its fifth straight top-five finish, Thursday at Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee, Fla.
The Flames advanced five wrestlers into Friday's championship quarterfinals and have seven more still alive in the consolation brackets. They are in fourth place in the team standings with 62 points, behind Grand Valley State (82.5), Central Florida (80.5), and Emmanuel College (73).
Liberty second-seeded junior 174-pounder Josh Ferenczy advanced to Friday's championship quarterfinals with a second-period pin and major decision in his first two matches. Ferenczy pinned Florida Gulf Coast's Deyrel Diaz in 3 minutes, 37 seconds, before scoring a 16-4 major decision over East Carolina's Jared Nicholson. Ferenczy will meet Akron's Shane Brown next.
Liberty freshman 141-pounder Brandon Robinson, who won the Mid-Atlantic Conference title in his first action with the Flames this season, improved to 5-0 on the year and recorded two pins in Thursday's first two rounds of competition — in 2 minutes, 28 seconds over Maine's Jack Clark and in 6:58 against Florida's Jacob Wasserman. Robinson, the 10th seed, will meet Grand Valley State's Zach Cooper, who won his two matches by first-period pin, in Friday's championship quarterfinals.
Flames 165-pound sophomore Michael Bryant, seeded eighth, improved to 14-4 with two decisions — 8-4 over Wisconsin's Jake Yatso and 3-1 over Fresno's Mason Temple. Bryant will face top-seeded Ricky Padilla of Air Force Prep in Friday's championship quarterfinals.
At 235 pounds, Liberty junior Charles Hancock (17-12), seeded sixth, took Michigan State's Alexander James into overtime before pinning him in 6:11. He advanced to the championship quarterfinals with a 6-2 decision over Rowan's Eric Wollermann and will face Connecticut's Steven Webb on Friday.
Flames senior heavyweight Josh Travers pinned his first opponent, Texas A&M's Cody Carpenter, in 42 seconds before pinning Apprentice's Devin Griffin in 4:12. Travers will face Mosese Fifita of Air Force Prep in the championship quarterfinals.
Also at 285, Liberty sophomore Dominick Johnson won his first-round match with a late pin of Temple's Eric An in 6:08 before slipping to the consolation bracket with a 10-7 loss to Central Florida's Jesse Gaudin. He will meet Marion Military Institute's Durell Robinson in his first consolation match.
At 149, the Flames had two wrestlers win their first matches before dropping their second to fall to the consolation bracket. Junior Ike Podell defeated Akron's Isaac Hammonds, 2-0, before losing an 8-6 decision to Colorado's Julian Prieto. Swinson scored an 18-7 major decision over BYU's Joseph Cooprider before being pinned in 1:54 by Tyler Warner of Penn State Mont Alto.
Swinson won his first two consolation matches — by 15-1 technical fall over Fresno's Kevin Pereira and 11-5 decision over Grand Canyon's Isaiah Sedillos — setting up a showdown with Podell in Friday's next round.
Freshman 125-pounder Dell Ngonga defeated Grays Harbor College's Fabian Wickham by a 17-2 technical fall 4:59 into his opening match before being pinned at the 5:00 mark of his second bout against Alfred State College's Ryan Thierman. He will face Northeastern's Yuval Shatil in Friday's first round of consolations.
Liberty 133-pound freshman Brian DiCesare lost his opening match to Florida's Damian Boada by 9-0 major decision before winning his first two consolation bouts over Central Washington's Andrew Vulliet by fall at 6:59 and by 9-8 decision over East Carolina's Jordan Decosse. He will face Penn State DuBois' Garrett Brown in Friday's next round of consolations.
At 157 pounds, Flames freshman Jacob Brooks decked his first-round opponent, Adam Samia of Texas in 5:23, before suffering a 16-2 technical fall loss to Utah State's Brett Naylor just 3:00 into their second-round match. Brooks then scored an 11-1 major decision over Akron's John Iacano before being pinned by Montana Western's Ben Conover.
In addition to Ferenczy in the 174-pound weight class, Flames freshman Taylor Westlake lost his first match to Grand Valley State's Ben Wright, 8-7, before upsetting Northern Kentucky's Tytus Collins, 7-2 in the consolations. He will face UMBC's Brandon Buckingham in the next round.