Flames wrestlers finish fourth and fifth at Star City Open
November 19, 2017 | Salem, Va.
Sophomore Cody Richmond placed fourth at 184 pounds and freshman Alex Hicks finished fifth at 197 to anchor a split squad of Liberty University wrestlers at Sunday's Star City Open tournament held in the Salem Civic Center.
The Flames were one of only three NCWA programs in the nine-team field along with Mid-Atlantic Conference rival Apprentice School and East Carolina. Liberty was the only one without a full complement of wrestlers, as the majority of its lineup competed in Saturday's Lindenwood Open near St. Louis.
Not surprisingly, its five-man contingent wound up at the bottom of the pack of mostly NCAA Division III programs including Averett, Elizabethtown (Pa.), Ferrum College, Huntington (Ala.), Stevens (N.J.) Institute of Technology, and Washington & Lee.
Senior heavyweight Austin Amos, a Roanoke, Va., resident who transferred in last season, was on his way to the semifinals before suffering a severe ankle injury. He was forced to default from the competition after his opponent from Ferrum twisted his body into an awkward position.
"Austin was cruising through the tournament and was dominating the guy the whole match and on his way to another win," Liberty Assistant Coach Chris Williamson said. "It was a pretty big bummer because he was beating a guy who was much larger than him pretty soundly and made one wrong step and he might be out for the foreseeable future."
He said Richmond, who has been out of wrestling for the past two seasons, is regaining his form and sharpening his mental approach.
"He had to make some adjustments in middle of the tournament to stop allowing guys to weasel their way out," Williamson said. "He's still kind of young and learning how to finish opponents off. If his wrestling IQ or mat awareness is higher, he would be able to close out those close matches."
Richmond wound up getting pinned in the consolation final.
Hicks won his opening match before losing his second and wrestling through the consolation bracket to the fifth-place bout, which he won by first-period fall over an opponent from Apprentice.
"Alex wrestled well," Williamson said. "He's a freshman and he's had some struggles early on this year, wrestling stronger guys. College is a different animal and he's adjusted to wrestling against men after being used to wrestling high school boys."
Liberty will next compete in a tri-match against Southern Virginia and West Virginia Tech, Dec. 9 in Beckley, W.Va.