Liberty men’s wresting team finishes runner-up in NCWA National Wrestling Championship
The Liberty men’s wrestling team put on a great performance, finishing as the runner-up overall in the NCWA National Wrestling Championships in San Juan, Puerto Rico. This would end the Flames four-year run as the champions of the NCWA, and the program finished with 12 All-Americans this season.
Even finishing as runners-up, Head Coach Jesse Castro had high praises for his team.
“I am very proud of the team,” Castro said. “It was a battle.”
Jeff Allen accomplished what no other male wrestler at Liberty had done in the NCWA — win four straight national championships. Allen has always had this particular goal in the back of his mind.
“It’s a surreal feeling. I had to train for it… and thought about it for so long,” Allen said. “That was my goal when I came to Liberty. I wanted to win four national titles.”
Allen is a Central Virginia native from Amherst County High School. He originally started his collegiate wrestling career at Virginia Tech, who at the time of his tenure was ranked nationally. Allen, after his redshirt year at Tech, came home to wrestle for the Flames, and he attributes that to his relationship with Castro.
“I was in the seventh grade, and I came over to the Virginia Gold Wrestling Club, and he would show (me) technique(s), and I learned what he was talking about and I just like the way that he talked and carried himself…you know he’s a real man of God,” Allen said.
With the goal in mind to win four straight national championships, Allen knew the dream was achievable because Castro had won four straight national championships with the NCCAA.
Now that the season for wrestling has concluded, Castro now identifies what needs to be done going into the offseason.
“We are fast at it. Now is the time of year where we start to solidify those decisions. I think that we are on to some very strong recruits. Not just strong kids on the mat, but strong in character as well… We look forward to getting these guys to ‘sign of the dotted line’ with us. I think that we are on the verge of getting about four or five solid commitments,” Castro said.
Allen ends his career at Liberty with the all-time wins record with 136 wins. Allen also finished the year with 17 pins this year, which led the team overall.
Allen, who is a senior, is planning on becoming a wrestling coach after he graduates with a degree in sports management in May.
“I want to coach for a while (for) young guys up and coming and just give back and try and spread the gospel a little bit to some of these guys and hopefully help influence them in their life,” Allen said.
Hughes is a sports reporter for the Liberty Champion. Follow him on Twitter