Men's wrestlers build on lead; Manley sisters both in finals
March 15, 2019 | Allen, Texas
On Day 2 of the National Collegiate Wrestling Association (NCWA) Grand National Championships, Liberty University's reigning national champion men's team advanced five wrestlers to Saturday night's finals and expanded its lead over returning runner-up Apprentice to 16.5 (159.5-143), Friday at the Allen Event Center in Allen, Texas. The Flames also have six wrestlers still competing in the consolation brackets and hold a sizeable lead on Central Florida and Mott Community College, who are tied for third with 103 points.
In the women's bracket, Liberty top-seeded junior Cendall Manley, the two-time defending 170-pound national champion, took just 52 seconds to put away her quarterfinal opponent, UCLA's Isabel Dobrev, by fall, setting up a semifinal match against Dixie State's fourth-seeded Amaiyah Miller. She needed 54 seconds to pin Miller, advancing to Saturday's championship final against North Texas' third-seeded Genesis Simpson.
Manley's older sister Charisse (a first-year graduate student), the No. 1 seed in the 143-pound weight class, claimed an 8-2 decision over Florida State's fourth-seeded Jazlyn Villalona in her semifinal match. She will face Richlands' third-seeded Christina Ellis in the championship final.
In Friday's men's championship quarterfinals, Liberty 157-pound junior Andrew Burgette, seeded third, needed just 1 minute, 22 seconds to record an 18-0 technical fall over Ohio State World Campus' Al Caserta. He then earned a 15-7 major decision over JMU's 15th-seeded Calvin Kopstein in the semifinals to advance to the championship bout against Apprentice's fourth-seeded Chad Simmons.
Flames junior Sam Karel, seeded third at 174 pounds, edged UCF's fifth-seeded Ethan Ahrens by a 14-11 decision to advance to a semifinal against Springfield Tech Community College's second-seeded Jacob Berry. Karel earned an 8-7 decision to advance to Saturday's final against Toledo's fourth-seeded Major Moore.
Liberty's heavyweights strengthened the Flames' hold on first place, starting with second-seeded senior Austin Amos, who won his 197-pound quarterfinal by 7-3 decision over Ohio State WC's seventh-seeded Kyle Slade before scoring a 5-2 decision over Penn State WC's sixth-seeded Deontay Wadley in the semifinals to set up a rematch of his MAC Tournament final loss to Apprentice's top-seeded Ross Graham.
Flames sophomore Jeffrey Allen prevailed by 11-3 major decision in his 235-pound quarterfinal showdown with Pacific Lutheran's ninth-seeded Travis Mitchell, sending him to a semifinal match with Grays Harbor's fourth-seeded Octavio Alejandre. Allen emerged with a 10-4 decision, putting him in the championship final against Tampa's second-seeded William Farparan.
At heavyweight, Flames senior Dominick Johnson won a 2-1 decision in his championship quarterfinal match against STCC's Chaasadyah St. Phard, setting up a semifinal against UNLV's second-seeded Jordan Karst. In that bout, Johnson, a two-time All-American, overcame an early 2-0 deficit to pull out a 5-4 decision and advance to his first championship final, where he will face UCF's top-seeded Jesse Gaudin.
In the 235-pound consolation bracket, Flames graduate David Smith, seeded 15th, advanced through the round of 16 with an 8-2 decision over Maine's 16th-seeded Reagan Billingsley before upsetting UNLV's 10th-seeded Lord O'Roke by 9-7 decision. That put him in a consolation quarterfinal match against Treasure Valley Community College's Dylan Feldmeier.
Liberty sophomore 149-pounder Chad Cantrell, seeded fourth, scored a 6-1 decision over Florida Gulf Coast's Nicholas Carlson to set up a semifinal showdown with Toledo's Zach Blevins. Cantrell gave the top-seeded Blevins a battle before dropping 8-6 decision, sending him to the consolation semifinals.
At 165, Liberty junior Luke Ely earned a 12-1 major decision over Tampa's Aaron Senne before losing a 4-1 decision to Mott Community College's second-seeded Jerrod Mullins in the semifinals to fall to the consolation semifinals.
Liberty 184-pound senior Josh McIlhenny, a No. 2 seed, was upset by FGCU's seventh-seeded Jabari Irons, by 5-3 decision in the championship quarterfinals, sending him to a consolation quarterfinal match against Schreiner's 16th-seeded Brett Barefoot, who he defeated by technical fall, 21-4.
Complete results are available online through Flowrestling.org, which is also streaming matches live.