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Club Sports teams thrive on the national stage

June 13, 2023

Highlighted by several record-setting performances, the 2022-23 school year was a memorable one for Liberty’s Club Sports programs

DIVISION I WOMEN’S HOCKEY: Liberty captured its sixth national championship, becoming the first ACHA women’s or men’s team at any level to win five championships in a row. The Lady Flames (26-2-1) survived back-to-back, one-goal games, rallying from a 4-1 deficit to top Adrian College 5-4 in overtime of the semifinals before securing the title with a 3-2 triumph over No. 3 Minot State.

DIVISION I MEN’S HOCKEY: Seeded No. 5, the Flames (18-13-2) advanced to the semifinals of the National Championships, losing to top-ranked Minot State 3-2. Five players competed on Team USA and one on Team Canada at the World Cup of University Hockey in Cârta, Romania. Team USA defeated Canada to win gold.

MEN’S WRESTLING: Senior Jeff Allen became the NCWA’s first-ever four-time national champion at the NCWA Grand Nationals team championship tournament, held for the first time in Puerto Rico. The Flames came up just short in the quest for their fifth consecutive nationals title.

SHOOTING SPORTS: After back-to-back silver medal performances, the shotgun team struck gold in Division III of the ACUI Clay Target National Championships. The rifle team earned a program-best second-place aggregate finish at the ASSA Intercollegiate Rifle Club National Championships, also notching second- and third-place finishes in smallbore and air rifle, respectively.

WOMEN’S GYMNASTICS: Junior Sophie Boone claimed a national title on the balance beam to lead Liberty to a program-best second-place showing behind Penn State at the National Association of Intercollegiate Gymnastics Clubs (NAIGC) Championships. Liberty set a program record with 109.8 points in the finals.

MEN’S LACROSSE: The team advanced to the MCLA Division I National Championships Final Four for the first time in program history by defeating the University of California Santa Barbara and Georgia in the first two rounds before being eliminated by eventual national champion Concordia Irvine (Calif.). Liberty (15-4) was seeded No. 3 after losing to top-ranked Virginia Tech in the Atlantic Lacrosse Conference championship final 14-13 in double overtime in Lynchburg.

DISC GOLF: The Division I team rose to sixth place out of 63 teams at the College Disc Golf (CDG) National Championships with a 22-under-par 224 total after the final round. The defending national champion Division III men’s team came in third at 21-under 204 after losing a tiebreaking shootoff with North Carolina State.

SKI & SNOWBOARD: The men’s snowboarders landed on the podium with a second-place team showing in the Slopestyle competition and third-place finish in Boardercross at the USCSA National Championships in Mammoth Lakes, Calif. (Most of the events were canceled due to record snowfall in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.)

TAEKWONDO: Liberty freshman Xena Sawyer won the women’s middleweight black belt championship, qualifying to represent Team USA at the World University Games in China in July. Junior Julia Eesley won the blue belt welterweight division gold medal at the National Collegiate Taekwondo Association (NCTA) National Championships. The Flames and Lady Flames added five bronze medals in various divisions of sparring and breaking.

TRIATHLON: The men’s team placed sixth out of 87 collegiate club programs in the April 14-16 USA Triathlon Collegiate National Championships while the Lady Flames landed in 10th out of 22 teams for a combined eighth-place overall finish. Giovanni Bianco crossed the finish line 26th out of 590 participants, followed by fellow Liberty graduate student Drew Thibault at 30th.

FIGURE SKATING: Junior Kristine Neumeyer won a gold medal in the Excel Pre-Juvenile freeskate to lead Liberty to a program-best sixth-place finish out of 16 teams at the U.S. Figure Skating Collegiate National Intercollegiate Finals.

CYCLING: Freshman James Povolny won both the Class B criterium and Class B road race at the Atlantic Coast Cycling Conference Championships in Charlottesville, Va., clinching the ACCC men’s overall season title.

MEN’S SWIMMING: The Flames placed second out of 128 programs in the College Club Swimming (CCS) National Championships. Liberty’s 25 swimmers scored in all but one event and set two team and CCS Championships records, in the 800-yard freestyle relay and 400 medley relay. Senior Matt Davidson defended his national title in the 100 backstroke.

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