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No. 4 Wolves thwart upset minded West Liberty, 32-11

Scarlet and gray win first three and last three bouts to start 1-0 at the Super Region I Duals

PEMBROKE, N.C. - With wins in the first three of its matches, it looked like No. 4 Newberry was well on its way to another one of its signature blowout victories. The trouble was, West Liberty had a different outcome in mind before the Wolves rattled off three straight wins to end the dual.

The scarlet and gray overcame a shaky performance from the middle of its lineup to take a 32-11 win over the Mountaineers. With the win, the pack has piled up 529 total team points this season compared to a scant 134 scored by its opponents.

Connor McDonald (Rehoboth, Del.) began the match for the Wolves in convincing fashion. After Preston Foster scored a quick takedown to begin the match, McDonald recorded a quick escape point and went on the offensive from there. The No. 5 125 lbs. warrior in the land slammed Foster to the mat and recorded his fifth fall of the season at the 1:38 mark.

Not wanting to be outdone, the Wolves' freshman sensation BJ Young (Jackson, N.J.) looked to produce some fireworks of his own at the 133 lbs. level. Pete McAtee was the unfortunate Hilltopper who had the misfortune of facing off with the No. 5 133 lbs. wrestler in the nation, and Young produced his 14th dual victory of the season with a fall just 0:58 into the bout.

In a contrast to the rapid decisions produced by his two comrades, Deral Brown (Elgin, S.C.) took a slow, methodical approach to his victory over Matt Cunningham at the 141 lbs. slot. The sophomore recorded only two points via a takedown in the first before stepping up his attack. Brown would pick up an escape point to begin the second and sent Cunningham to the mat with a pair of takedowns to extend his lead. Brown added another pair of two-point slams in the third to walk away with a 14-4 major decision.

After a quick pair of takedowns against Brian Leggett, Dale DeBacco (Niagara Falls, N.Y.) found himself in a jam against the Mountaineer. Leggett would record a takedown in the first before adding three more in the second to know matters at five. Leggett kept his upset bid alive with a three point near fall in the third and added another two point near fall and a point for riding time, handing DeBacco just his fourth duals setback.

Possibly the most anticipated bout of the dual occurred at the 157 lbs. weight class when No. 6 Sean Byrnes (Jackson, N.J.) took the mat against No. 4 Seth Phalen. The Mountaineer got on the board first with a takedown one minute into the initial frame before Byrnes trimmed the lead to one with an escape point just seconds later. With a takedown late in the period, Byrnes would snatch the lead from Phalen heading into the second. The junior did not squander his lead, scoring a pair of reversals in the second and adding an escape point as well to take an 8-4 lead. Byrnes added one more escape point in the third to take a 9-6 decision and get revenge against Phalen, who had beaten Byrnes at the Midwest Classic in late December.

Braden Carter (Christiansburg, Va.) battled Jarrod Shaw through a scoreless first period in the 165 lbs. fight before the points started appearing on the scoreboard. The redshirt freshman escaped from the clutches of Shaw to take a 1-0 lead at the midway point of the second, but Shaw answered right back with a takedown to take a one point lead of his own heading into the potential final frame. Carter looked to have the upper hand in the third but was ultimately stymied by a reversal from Shaw. The Mountaineer would tack on another point via riding time for a 5-1 decision over Carter.

In his first dual at the 174 lbs. level, Blake Ridenour (Maryville, Tenn.) wound up in dire straits against Matt Littleton. The Mountaineer would pick up 10 points in the first period and pin Ridenour at the 5:55 mark of the bout.

With its once sizable lead evaporating, Newberry turned to defending 184 lbs. national champion Bryant Blanton (Summerville, S.C.) to help the Wolves regain their cushion. Derrick Williams was no match for the two-time All-American, as Blanton thrashed the Mountaineer, 14-0, for his team-leading 16th dual win.

Karl Reed (Mount Laurel, N.J.) took the mat for the scarlet and gray at the 197 lbs. weight class and found himself a part of the closest bout of the dual. Reed held a 1-0 lead over No. 3 Mitch Knapp at the onset of the third frame before Knapp scored an escape point of his own for a 1-1 deadlock. The pair butted heads through the one minute extra frame and Reed held his ground in the first 30 second tiebreaker. West Liberty was deducted a point for from its team score after an outburst from the bench and Reed would go on to score his escape point for a 2-1 upset win.

Rounding out the dual for the pack was Corey Anderson (Rockton, Ill.). Anderson sent Drake Kowchek to the mat with a takedown at the one minute mark of the first and continued to run him ragged throughout the rest of the matchup. The junior held a 14-0 lead before finally recording the third Newberry pin of the evening at the 6:21 mark.

The Wolves will return to action later this evening with a tilt against No. 12 Pittsburgh-Johnstown. The first pair of wrestlers will take the mat at 8 p.m.

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