LYNCHBURG, Va. – Emmanuel College parlayed a quick lead into winning five of the first six matches, and the Lions rolled on to a 33-13 win over Liberty in the championship match of the NCWA National Duals. It is Emmanuel’s first NCWA title of any kind.
With the win, the Lions take the Collegiate Cup Trophy home for a year as the Duals champion and more importantly earn 24 team points that will advance to the NCWA Championships in March. Liberty, as runner-up, earned 23 points toward the nationals, and so on down the 20-team field.
This is the eighth consecutive season that the NCWA will have a new National Duals champion. No team has repeated with the title since Grand Valley State won three in a row from 2007-09.
Emmanuel clinched the title following the 197-pound bout when Maveric Reichsteiner, the top-ranked NCWA wrestler in that class, pinned Austin Amos of Liberty in 1:43. Reichsteiner scored a takedown in the opening seconds and moved for the fall from there.
Just prior to the clincher, fans watched one of the tournament’s best matches at 184 pounds as top-ranked and defending NCWA champion Cody Chaney took on sixth-ranked Taylor Westlake of Liberty. Chaney got ahead early with a pair of takedowns, scored another in the second period, and yielded only three escapes in recording an 8-3 win that put Emmanuel ahead, 21-10.
Trailing 18-4 through six weights, Liberty rallied in the 174-pound match, turning to the strength of its lineup in the middle weights. Josh Ferenczy turned the match around for a moment with a first-period pin against Dylan Gouine. Ferenczy, last year’s national runner-up, is the top-ranked wrestler at 174, while Gouine was wrestling up a weight while being ranked ninth at 165.
Emmanuel got a quick boost by gaining a forfeit at 125 for a quick 6-0 lead. Dylan Carlile then pushed the lead to 9-0 with a 6-2 decision over Ashton Robinson. Tyler Sigler got Liberty on the board with a gritty win at 141. Sigler had a 10-0 lead early, but gave up seven straight points before suffering a shoulder injury. The junior fought through it, rejoining the match with only 10 seconds left in injury time, and scored a takedown late for a 16-7 win.
Jeremiah Lutz kept Liberty from getting any momentum of Sigler’s tough win when he scored a 3-1 win over Brandon Robinson in the next match to put the Lions ahead, 12-4.
At 157, Jay Sheppard rallied from a 5–1 deficit by scoring a takedown with four near-fall points in the second period. Sheppard, ranked sixth in the nation, then added a few escapes for a 10-6 win over 11th-ranked Andrew Burgette of Liberty. Emmanuel’s lead moved to 18–4 after the 165 match when JA Jones posted a 4–0 decision over Richard Cerebe. Jones, a junior, is likely to move up in the NCWA rankings after sitting at 12th last week.
Despite the match being clinched, at 235, Charles Hancock put Liberty back on the board with a 3-1 decision over Zak Pitt to get the Flames to within 27-13. The Lions then finished off their championship run when Kenny Mason pins Dominick Johnson in 54 seconds at heavyweight.
In the third-place match, Grand Valley State six of seven matches from 149-235 to seal a 31-20 win over The Apprentice School. Trailing 10-3 at the time, Jake Sobeck started the Lakers’ rally with a pin at the end of the first period, and Trevor Pickett (174) added a major decision along the way before Derek Desloover punctuated the spree with another first-period pin at 197 that clinched the win. Harun Bogdanic closed the winning run with an 8-1 decision at 235.
Central Florida, the defending champion, placed fifth with a last-match rally for a one-point win over first-time participant Alfred State. Jesse Gaudin of UCF scored a third-period takedown against Jeff Andrews for a 4-3 decision that decided the match’s winner. Alfred State trailed 24-11 through seven weights before George VanValen and Brandyn Whitacre scored back-to-back first-period pins at 184 and 197 to get the Pioneers within one at 24-23. Mitchell Lattuca then took a 5-0 decision at 235 to put Alfred State ahead by two entering the final heavyweight match.
Springfield Tech defeated Middle Tennessee, 30-18, in the seventh-place match.
The NCWA Championships are March 9-11 in Allen, Texas, as the association will be celebrating its 20th anniversary.
CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH BOXSCORE
Emmanuel 33, Liberty 13
125 lbs. – Alberto Perez, Emmanuel, wins by forfeit
133 lbs. – Dylan Carlile, Emmanuel, def. Ashton Robinson, Liberty, 6-rty2
141 lbs. – Tyler Sigler, Liberty, def. Will Hale, Emmanuel, 16-7
149 lbs. – Jeremiah Lutz, Emmanuel, def. Brandon Robinson, Liberty, 3-1
157 lbs. – Jay Sheppard, Emmanuel, def. Andrew Burgette, Liberty, 10-6
165 lbs. – JA Jones, Emmanuel, def. Richard Cerebe, Liberty, 4-0
174 lbs. – Josh Ferenczy, Liberty, def. Dylan Gouine, Emmanuel, by fall 1:38
184 lbs. – Cody Chaney, Emmanuel, def. Taylor Westlake, Liberty, 8-3
197 lbs. – Maveric Reichsteiner, Emmanuel, def. Austin Amos, Liberty, by fall 1:43
235 lbs. – Charles Hancock, Liberty, def. Zak Pitt, Emmanuele, 3-1
285 lbs. – Kenny Mason, Emmanuel, def. Dominick Johnson, Liberty, by fall 0:54
Championship – Emmanuel 33, Liberty 13
3rd place – Grand Valley State 31, Apprentice 20
5th place – Central Florida 27, Alfred State 26
7th place – Springfield Tech CC 30, Middle Tennessee 18
9th place – Temple 31, Florida 24
11th place – Penn State WC 41, Connecticut 15
13th place – James Madison 28, Toledo 25
15th place – Maine 34, MIT 22
(Based on Duals finish, these are the team points that will carry over into the NCWA Championships in March)
DIVISION I STANDINGS AND POINTS POSTED TO NCWA CHAMPIONSHIPS
1. Emmanuel College 24
2. Liberty 23
3. Grand Valley State 22
4. Apprentice 21
5. Central Florida 20
6. Alfred State 19
7. Springfield Tech CC 18
8. Middle Tennessee 17
9. Temple 16
10. Florida 15
DIVISION II STANDINGS AND POINTS POSTED TO NCWA CHAMPIONSHIPS
11. Penn State WC 14
12. Connecticut 13
13. James Madison 12
14. Toledo 11
15. Maine 10
16. MIT 9
17. South Carolina 8
18t. East Carolina 0
18t. Md.-Baltimore County 0
18t. South Carolina 0
Note: East Carolina, Maryland-Baltimore County and the Ohio State Wrestling Club do not get to advance their team points due to not having a full roster at the National Duals.