Flames wrestlers land two champions, fourth-place team finish in season debut at Messiah
Liberty University’s men’s wrestling team opened its 2021-22 season in fantastic fashion by earning two individual titles, posting one second-place and two third-place showings, and finishing fourth out of 10 teams overall at Saturday’s Messiah Invitational in Grantham, Pa.
“It was a great starting point for the Flames’ wrestling team,” Liberty Head Coach Jesse Castro said. “We got some very good performances from our returning wrestlers in what has become a very solid NCAA Division III tournament. It was a good measuring stick to test our mettle and I am very proud of the effort.”
Flames junior Josiah Murphy, who normally wrestles at 197, won the heavyweight bracket by medical forfeit after scoring three narrow decisions in his first three matches — sandwiching 3-2 wins around a 5-3 triumph with a takedown in overtime. Senior captain Jeffrey Allen placed third with a 6-1 decision over Wisconsin Eau Claire’s Mason Hawkins in the consolation bout.
At 184 pounds, senior Blake Barrick won his first three matches by fall before winning his last two by decision, including a 3-1 victory over Wheaton’s Nathanael Jara in the final.
At 133 pounds, Flames graduate Logan Robertson finished 5-1 and placed third, winning his consolation final by pin over Ursinus’ Jagger Clapsadle at the 3:35 mark.
Brandon Ahlemann finished runner-up at 149, winning his first match by pin, his second by technical fall, his third by major decision, and his fourth by third-period fall to advance to the final, where he lost by 15-5 major decision to Elizabethtown’s Dorian Gonzalez.
Sophomore Garrett Good finished fifth at 141 pounds, pinning Messiah’s Asa Brunk in the fifth-place bout.
As a team, the Flames racked up 106.5 points to place fourth behind Wisconsin Eau Claire (151.5), Washington & Lee (127.5), and host Messiah (112.5) and ahead of Ursinus (104), Wheaton (90.5), Johns Hopkins (72.5), Elizabethtown (71.0), Gettysburg (55.5), and McDaniel (47.0).
Complete results are available online.
Liberty will return to action next Sunday at the Cougar Open at Averett University in Danville, Va.