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Freshman is LU’s first female national wrestling champion; senior claims men’s title

Freshman Cendall Manley captured the 170-pound title Saturday in the female division at the National Collegiate Wresting Association Grand Nationals Tournament in Allen, Texas, becoming Liberty’s first NCWA women’s national champion. Senior Josh Ferenczy, a 174-pound captain on the Flames’ wrestling team, claimed the men’s title.

Liberty freshman Cendall Manley (center) celebrates her NCWA women’s division national title.

Although women’s wrestling is not an official club sport at Liberty, Manley was entered into the national tournament this year, after wrestling in exhibition matches in both the NCWA National Duals and the Mid-Atlantic Conference (MAC) tournaments. On Saturday, she defeated Richland’s Alexis Sauceda by fall in the championship bout. For Manley, the Hawaii high school girls state champion, wrestling for Liberty is a bit of a family tradition; her father is former Flames wrestler Randy Manley (’87).

Ferenczy capped his stellar career with a 6-2 decision over Penn State Monto Alto’s Clay Kocsis in the final, helping the Flames clinch their third runner-up team finish in six seasons at the NCWA level. They claimed the national championship in 2015.

Liberty senior Josh Ferenczy capped his career with a 174-pound NCWA title. (Photo courtesy of Dana Podell)

Ferenczy’s victory wasn’t his only highlight of the day. After the official raised Ferenczy’s arm in victory, Ferenczy celebrated by bending his knee on the center of the mat and proposing to his girlfriend, Riana Turner, a graduate student and second-year team manager; she said “Yes.”

“That was the first time in 34 years of coaching that I’ve seen that happen at a wrestling match,” Liberty Head Coach Jesse Castro said. “He actually proposed to his girlfriend right on the stage after he won the national championship.”


For a full recap of the tournament, visit Liberty’s Club Sports page.