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    November 7, 2022 Grantham, Pa. RSS |

    Liberty University’s men’s wrestling team was beset by injuries in its first competition of the 2022-23 season and settled for sixth place in the nine-team, mostly NCAA Division III field at Saturday’s Messiah (Pa.) Invitational tournament in Grantham, Pa.

    The Flames racked up 71.5 points to place behind tournament champion Elizabethtown (Pa., 123.5 points), Washington & Lee (Va.) University (123), McDaniel (Md.) College (111.5), host Messiah (103), and Wheaton (Ill.) College (101). They finished ahead of Johns Hopkins (Md.) University (63.5), Ursinus (Pa.) College (54.5), and Gettysburg (Pa.) College (29.5).

    Liberty’s only wrestler to advance to the championship finals was three-time defending NCWA Grand National 235-pound champion Jeff Allen, a graduate who defeated Dylan Waller from Elizabethtown, the 15th-ranked wrestler in NCAA Division III, 3-2 on a riding time bonus point in the heavyweight final. Allen finished 4-0 in the tournament, pinning his first two opponents — Elizabethtown’s Jimmy Yeingst in 2:05 and Ursinus College’s Amir Pickens in the quarterfinals in 2:29 — before winning his semifinal match over Washington & Lee’s Matt Majoy by 12-4 major decision.

    Flames senior Rick Weaver, a two-time defending NCWA Grand National heavyweight champion, won his heavyweight consolation final match, 6-1, over Majoy for third place. Weaver won his first-round match by injury default over Elizabethtown’s Kurt Driscoll before pinning Wheaton’s Robert Osborn in 30 seconds, and dropping his championship semifinal to Elizabethtown’s Dylan Waller, 5-3. He then scored a 6-0 decision over Gettysburg’s Simon Taylor to advance to the consolation final.

    Liberty graduate Dante Minnino, the reigning 125-pound NCWA Grand National champion, finished fourth in that weight class along with freshman Zack Kaminski at 174 pounds. Kaminski won his first-round match by 14-5 major decision over Washington & Lee’s Jud Cummings before dropping a 6-3 decision to Johns Hopkins eventual tournament champion Joe Paul. He defeated two Gettysburg wrestlers in his first two consolation matches, topping Mike Daugherty, 8-2, before scoring a 13-0 major decision over David Bancroft. Kaminski’s 10-5 decision over Messiah’s Austin Brass sent him to the consolation final, where he lost by 9-2 decision to Elizabethtown’s Ganon Smith.

    Junior Grant Brammer (149), graduate defending 197-pound NCWA Grand National champion Josiah Murphy, and senior Seth Ellsmore (heavyweight) each placed sixth. Murphy lost his two consolation matches by medical forfeit, including his fifth-place bout to Elizabethtown’s Tyler Phenegar, who he had defeated, 3-2, in his first-round championship bracket match.

    Minnino lost to Wheaton’s Anthony Zamora by injury default in the consolation final after defeating Messiah’s Caiden Heller by 13-2 major decision in the consolation semifinals.

    Complete results are available on Messiah’s website.

    Next Sunday, Liberty will travel to Danville, Va., to compete in the Cougar Invitational hosted by Averett University.