Liberty wrestlers overtaken by Apprentice on NCWA Day 2
March 9, 2018 | Allen, Texas
After Liberty University's men's wrestling team seized an early lead in the NCWA Grand National Championships team standings by advancing seven wrestlers into the quarterfinals on Thursday's opening day, Mid-Atlantic Conference rival Apprentice overtook the Flames on Friday night by a 130-128.5 margin.
The Builders, the No. 1 team in the NCWA team rankings, will send three wrestlers to Saturday's championship finals, compared to one for Liberty, 235-pound senior Austin Amos. Central Florida is in third place in the team standings with 110 points, followed by Queens of Charlotte (98.5), BYU (94), two-time defending tournament champion Emmanuel (91.5), Springfield Tech (87), Middle Tennessee State (86.5), Grays Harbor (74.5), and UMBC (72).
Amos, Liberty's only No. 1 seed, edged Winona (Minn.) State's Giovanni Guarnero, 2-1 in the quarterfinals before earning a 3-2 decision over Ohio State's Seth Brennock in Friday night's semifinal round. He will face UConn's second-seeded Stevan Webb in the final.
The Flames lost their other three semifinal matches, with freshman 141-pounder Reid Stewart pinned by Queens of Charlotte's Devinaire Hayes in 6:11, sophomore 165-pounder Joe Scott dropping a 7-2 decision to Springfield Tech's Richard Viruet, and 174-pound sophomore Sam Karel being shut out by Akron's Shane Brown, 6-0.
"We had a rough semifinals round," Liberty Assistant Coach Chris Williamson said. "We'll have to count on (Amos) and the wrestlers in Saturday's consolation bracket for us to win the championship."
Stewart had reached the semis with an 8-3 decision over Apprentice's Shalek Colon. Scott advanced by decisioning Maryland's Mason Brestle, 8-5, and Karel by edging Springfield Tech's Jacob Berry, 8-6.
Liberty sophomore 141-pounder Ashton Robinson survived and advanced past his consolation round match against Macomb CC's Nick Pipes, 4-2, before Andrew Burgette won his 157-pound bout by 5-2 decision over Colorado State's Colin Saiz. At 174, sophomore Luke Ely emerged with a 1-0 decision over Apprentice's Dan Henson in the consolation bracket before junior co-captain Josh McIlhenny won his 184-pound match by pin over Maryland's Mauro Betata and heavyweight Dominick Johnson defeated Octavio Alejandre of Grays Harbor (Wash.), 6-4.
In the women's semifinal round, Liberty sophomore defending 170-pound national champion Cendall Manley needed just 28 seconds to win her first-round match over Winona State's MacKenzie Van De Walker by pin before scoring a 9-1 major decision over Texas Tech's Jennie Kim in the quarterfinals. She then advanced past Southwestern Oregon's Serena Rayon by fall in 4:57 and will face Southwestern Oregon Community College's top-seeded Saydie Kala in the title bout.
Full coverage of the tournament is available to watch with a subscription and to track results for free at www.arena.flowrestling.org. Saturday's wrestling begins at 9 a.m. (CST) with men's All-American consolation matches and women's third-place bouts. The NCWA championship finals start at 6 p.m. (CST).