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Multiple Club Sports teams gear up for national championships

Postseason competition is about to heat up for many Liberty University Club Sports teams preparing to travel to national events held up and down the East Coast and across the United States. National tournaments begin this week and will continue over the next two months.

Liberty wrestler Ike Podell is one of a few returning All-Americans.
Liberty 149-pound junior Ike Podell is one of two All-Americans from the defending NCWA national champions.

Two teams look to defend their national titles — Liberty’s ACHA Division I women’s hockey team and the NCWA Grand National Championship wrestling team.

The defending ACHA Division I women’s hockey national champions, ranked first in the past four national polls, are favored to reclaim their crown. Competing in Kalamazoo, Mich., they will play three games in their pool — against Michigan on Wednesday, Lindenwood-Belleville on Thursday, and Grand Valley State on Friday at 7:45 p.m. The top two teams will advance to the Final Four, set for Saturday and Sunday.

The Flames wrestling team, which placed third in the NCWA National Duals, Jan. 22-23 in Dalton, Ga., has 17 wrestlers, the same number as last season when it captured its first NCWA tournament title. Liberty's wrestlers will vie to reach the championship and consolation finals, Thursday through Saturday in Kissimmee, Fla.

Fourteen members of Liberty’s men’s and women’s ski & snowboard teams begin competition Tuesday in the USCSA National Championships on Whiteface Mountain at Lake Placid, N.Y., site of the 1980 Winter Olympic Games. The Flames and Lady Flames will enter individual women and complete men’s teams in the Rail Jam on Tuesday, the Slopestyle events on Wednesday, and the Boardercross and Skier-Cross races on Thursday and Friday, respectively.

This past weekend, Liberty’s archery team had two individuals earn medals in the regional competition of the United States Collegiate Archery Indoor National Championships, where senior Ian Rigney was the defending national champion in the men’s bowhunter division.

On Tuesday, Liberty’s ACHA DIII men’s hockey team begins play in its first National Championship tournament in Grand Rapids, Mich., where it will challenge Oakland (Mich.), the top-seeded team out of the North Region, at 4 p.m. The Flames, seeded fourth out of the South Region, will face Metro State (Colo.), the second-seeded team out of the Pacific Region, on Wednesday at 4 p.m., and California University of Pennsylvania, the third-seeded team out of the Atlantic Region, on Thursday at 1:15 p.m., to conclude pool play. Only the top team out of each pool advances to Friday’s semifinals.

Liberty ACHA Division II men's hockey team is making its third straight trip to nationals.
Liberty ACHA Division II men's hockey team is making its third straight trip to nationals.

On the final weekend of Liberty’s spring break, March 18-20, the Flames’ DII men’s hockey team will travel to West Chester, Pa., to compete in its third consecutive ACHD DII National Championships.

The Flames (26-3) clinched their first autobid into the tournament and will be the No. 1 seed out of the South Region in a pool that also includes Northeast Region No. 2 seed William Paterson, Central Region No. 3 seed Lindenwood, and West Region No. 4 seed Arizona State University’s Maroon squad. Only the top team out of each pool advances.

Other Club Sports teams preparing for upcoming national championship events include:

  • Men's and women's racquetball, March 29-April 2, USA Racquetball National Intercollegiate Championships in Tempe, Ariz.
  • Men's and women's disc golf, April 13-17, National Collegiate Disc Golf Championships in North Augusta, S.C.
  • Men's paintball, April 15-17 National Collegiate Paintball Association National Championships in Kissimmee, Fla.
  • Men's and women's triathlon, April 22-23 USA Triathlon Collegiate National Championships at Clemson University
  • Men’s and women’s tae kwon do, April 23-24 National Collegiate Taekwondo Championships in Boulder, Colo.
  • Men’s and women’s cycling teams, May 13-15 USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships near Asheville, N.C.
  • Men's volleyball will compete in the March 26 ECVA Division I South Tournament at Virginia Tech and the April 2 East Coast Championships at Penn State to determine its seeding for the April 7-9 NCVF National Championships in Louisville, Ky.
  • Men's lacrosse will travel to Florida for three games in four days over next week’s spring break and is shooting to qualify for its first MCLA Division I National Cha
    mpionships, set for May 9-14 in Orange County, Calif.

Liberty's thriving Club Sports program has 35 distinct teams competing in 19 sports, featuring a total of more than 500 student-athletes. Every season, several teams and individuals participate in regional and national tournaments in their respective sports.