Liberty wrestlers first to defend NCWA National Duals title
January 26, 2019 | Mesquite, Nev.
Liberty University's men's wrestling team, seeded first in this weekend's NCWA National Duals in Mesquite, Nev., accomplished an unprecedented feat by becoming the first team in the tournament's 11-year history to defend its national title, rallying from behind to upend second-seeded Apprentice School in Saturday night's championship final.
It was Liberty's fourth NCWA National Duals tournament crown altogether, also a record, and the Flames pulled it off in nearly as dramatic fashion as they had against Emmanuel College last season on their home mats.
The Mid-Atlantic Conference rivals had met in the consolation bracket of the Jan. 11-12 Virginia Duals, when the Flames rallied from a 24-4 deficit to beat the Builders, 26-24.
In Saturday's championship rematch, Liberty trailed 15-0 before making its move, starting with sophomore Chad Cantrell's 10-5 decision over Tristan Mabe at 149 pounds. Flames junior 157-pounder Andrew Burgette needed less than two minutes to record an 18-0 technical fall of Aprprentice's Tyler Allen before Sam Karel's pin of Jeremy Mosley at 174 pulled Liberty back within 18-14.
"It's hard to give another team that kind of momentum, but our guys were anticipating going down early," Liberty Assistant Coach Chris Williamson said. "Our senior guys and upperweights, especially, did a really good job of keeping their composure, not panicking, and wrestling the way they should have."
Josh McIlhenny scored a critical 11-3 major decision over William Sorey at 184 before fellow senior captain Austin Amos gave the Flames their first lead at 21-18 with a 6-1 decision over Dan Henson at 197. (Amos' 235-pound individual national championship lifted Liberty over Apprentice by one-half point in last year's NCWA Grand Nationals.) Then at 235, Liberty sophomore Jeffrey Allen clinched the team title with a 14-2 major decision over Ross Graham, the defending 197-pound national champion.
"That basically sealed the dual up for us," Williamson said. "Any time Ross would get out of position, Jeff would put him on his back and he dominated the match."
Complete results are available online.
By winning the National Duals, the Flames earned 20 bonus points toward the defense of their NCWA Grand National Championship, set for March 14-16 in Allen,Texas.
"It's pretty amazing," Williamson said. "We were pumped up afterwards, but we realize that's only half of the battle. We can get excited that we are Dual National Champions, but the big one is in March."
Liberty 43, UNLV 15
125: Lukas Araujo (L) by forfeit
133: L.J. White (L) by forfeit
141: Charles Hudson (L) p. Juan Bravo, 2:11
149: Chad Cantrell (L) p. Daniel Murray, 1:08
157: Andrew Burgette (L) d. Elias Edmondson, 9-3
165: Luis Lopez (UNLV) p. Edmond DeAngelis, 1:56
174: Sam Karel (L) p. Destry Talledo, 1:38
184: Richard Kilgore (UNLV) p. Cody Richmond, 2:53
197: Austin Amos (L) t.f. Shane Slater, 16-1, 2:47
235: Jeffrey Allen (L) t.f. Trent Miller, 18-3, 6:37
285: Jordan Karst (UNLV) d. Dominick Johnson, 6-2
Liberty 30, Central Florida 17
125: Alex Radli (CF) t.f. White, 16-0, 1:51
133: Jacob Toledo (CF) p. Arauho, 1:08
141: Justin Trinh (CF) d. Hudson, 5-4
149: Cantrell (L) p. Eric Pullman (CF), 1:42
157: Matthew Seymour (CF) d. Burgette, 4-3
165: Luke Ely (L) d. Clay Perry, 3-1
174: Karel (L) p. Ethan Ahrens (CF), 1:36
184: Josh McIlhenny (L) t.f. Jose Fernandez, 19-2, 4:16
197: Austin Amos (L) m.d. Jarrod Smiley, 11-2
235: David Smith (L) d. Jordan Consillio, 8-2
285: Allen (L) d. Jesse Gaudin, 8-5
Liberty 28, Apprentice School 18
125: Colton Messick (AS) p. White, 1:57
133: Kolin Johnson (AS) p. Araujo, 0:45
141: Ty Boyd (AS) d. Hudson, 5-4
149: Cantrell (L) d. Tristan Mabe, 10-5
157: Burgette (L) t.f. Tyler Allen, 18-0, 1:55
165: Chad Simmons (AS) d. Ely, 4-3
174: Karel (L) p. Jeremy Mosley, 2:35
184: McIlhenny (L) m.d. William Sorey, 11-3
197: Amos (L) d. Dan Henson, 6-1
235: Allen (L) m.d. Ross Graham, 14-2
285: Johnson (L) d. Peter Corpapasso, 4-2