Louisville, Kentucky, January 13, 2020 – Both the Life University men’s and women’s wrestling teams took part in the NWCA National Team Duals this past weekend in Louisville, Kentucky and came out with terrific results.

Men’s Wrestling:
The No. 15 Life University men’s wrestling team took second place for the second year in a row at the 2020 NWCA National Team Duals over the weekend. The Running Eagles upset the number two, three and four teams in the country in shocking fashion at the tournament.

Life U began its journey matching up with fellow Mid-South Conference member No. 4 University of the Cumberlands. Kevin Saravia started the bout with a pin 1:01 into the contest with unranked Tramon Jenkins earning the 14-5 upset major decision at 133 over the No. 7 ranked wrestler in the class. Unranked Julian Hernandez followed the performance with an upset of his own on a 6-5 decision at 141 over the No. 8 ranked wrestler in the class. Cumberlands bounced back with a technical fall at 149, before No. 8 Osvani Ley earned a dominant 22-6 technical fall at 157. Cumberlands won its second matchup of the dual at 165. No. 14 Sid Ohl swung the momentum back towards the Running Eagles with a win via pin fall at 174 as Mike Edouard tallied the pin at 184 to give Life U a commanding 30-8 lead. Cumberlands finished the dual with a pair of major decisions as Life U pulled off the upset 30-16.

The men had a short rest before they were back on the mat to face No. 3 Campbellsville University for a spot in the semifinals. Unranked Chase Ayers pulled off the upset to start the dual with a pin over the No. 8 wrestler in the class to put Life U ahead 6-0. No. 20 Sean Deshazer followed the performance with an upset of his own at 133 over the No. 2 wrestler in the class with an 8-6 decision in overtime. Hernandez kept the momentum rolling with his second upset of the day over the No. 1 wrestler in the class on a 3-2 decision. Campbellsville took a narrow 6-5 decision at 149 before Ley took a 3-2 decision at 157 to put the Running Eagles ahead 15-3. No. 14 Ohl earned his second bonus point victory of the day with an upset at 165 over the No. 12 wrestler in the class on a 9-1 major decision.

Campbellsville responded with a 9-5 decision at 174, before unranked Michael Gibson pulled off the upset over the No. 19 wrestler in the class at 184 with a 5-4 decision. Diallo Matsimella picked up the pin at 197 as Andre Bissainthe won via forfeit at 285 to give Life U its second upset of the day in dominant fashion 34-6.

On day two, in the semifinals, Life U matched up with No. 2 Reinhardt University. Reinhardt took an 11-5 decision at 125 before Jenkins tied the dual at three with a 9-5 decision at 133. Hernandez picked up his third upset of the tournament over the No. 10 ranked wrestler in the class with an 8-7 decision at 141. No. 11 Marcelo Sierra followed the performance with an upset of his own at 149 over the No. 6 wrestler in the class with a 6-4 sudden victory decision. Ley improved to 3-0 during the tournament with a 3-1 sudden victory decision at 157 as Reinhardt bounced back with a 3-0 decision at 165. No. 9 Mason McDaniel tallied the upset over the No. 3 wrestler in the class at 174 to put Life U ahead 15-6. Reinhardt earned a 6-4 decision at 184 and a 9-1 major decision at 197 to cut the Running Eagle lead to two, 15-14, with one weight class remaining. With the dual on the line, Bissainthe earned the exciting pin to send Life U to the finals for the second consecutive year on the 21-13 upset victory.

Grand View won the finals at every weight class to claim their ninth consecutive NWCA National Duals championship.

In total, Life U tallied ten individual upset victories over the weekend. Head coach Omi Acosta had this to say on his team’s performance, “This week we saw how good we can be and also how much work we still have to do. This will get us ready for the Mid-South Conference Championships and the NAIA Nationals in March.”

The men’s wrestling team will return to action on Saturday, January 18, as they travel to West Palm Beach, Florida to face off against MSC opponents No. 10 Southeastern and Keiser University at Keiser.

Women’s Wrestling:
The Life University women’s wrestling team recorded its highest finish in program history over the weekend with a third place finish at the 2020 NWCA National Team Duals.

As the number two seed in the tournament, the Running Eagles received a bye in the first round, which matched them up with No. 8 University of Providence for a spot in the semifinals. Faye Cherrier started the dual with a forfeit victory at 101 as Providence tied the dual at five with an injury forfeit at 109. Katalina Bartelt responded with a 5-3 decision at 116 as Julia Vidallon earned the 12-0 technical fall at 123 to put Life U ahead 12-6. Aysia Cortez earned the 10-6 decision at 130 as Alex Enrizuez picked up the win via pin fall just 1:25 into the match at 136. Erica Sotelo kept the momentum rolling as she pinned her opponent in 4:11 at the 143 weight class to give Life U a commanding 25-7 lead. Providence responded with the pin at 155 as Jordan Nelson pinned her opponent in 3:54 at the 170 weight class. Gabrielle Hamilton won via forfeit to send the Running Eagles to the semifinals 35-12.

Life U matched up with No. 4 Menlo in the semifinals as Cherrier picked up the 7-6 decision to start the dual at 101. After a forfeit in favor of Menlo at 109, Bartelt responded with a 13-2 decision to tie the dual at seven. Menlo earned a 10-0 techincal fall at 123 and a 4-3 decision at 130 before Cortez won at 136 with a 4-2 decision. Menlo won the next three weight classes as Hamilton provided a late spark with a pin 25 seconds into the match at 191. Menlo won the dual 25-18, as the Running Eagles would head to the third-place match for the first time in program history at the tournament.

In the third-place match, Life U took on fellow Mid-South Conference member and No. 7 University of the Cumberlands. Cherrier started the dual with her third win of the tournament via injury at 101 as Cumberlands took a 10-8 decision at 109 and a forfeit at 116. Trailing 8-6, Vidallon and Enriquez each picked up decisions to give Life U a 12-9 lead. Cumberlands earned the pin at 136 as Sotelo swung back the momentum with a 12-0 technical fall to put the Running Eagles back ahead 16-14. Cumberlands answered immediately with a 4-3 decision at 155, but Rivera was able to score a point to tie the dual at 17 with two weight classes remaining. Nelson earned the 9-2 decision for a 20-18 advantage in favor of the Running Eagles. With third place on the line, Hamilton won her 16th match of the season with an 11-0 technical fall to give Life U the 24-18 win and third place finish.

Head coach Ashley Sword had this to say on her team’s record performance, “This weekend our ladies showed what they are capable of this weekend as a team and as individuals. We had a few late roster changes due to injury, and our team bounced back and pulled together to show their strength. This finish is a program milestone and achieves our goal of continuous improvement, but it is not the end of our goals for the season.”

The women’s wrestling team will return to action on Wednesday, January 15, as they host Brewton-Parker College and Limestone College for a tri-dual that is set to begin at 5:00 p.m. Seniors Erica Sotelo and Aysia Cortez will be recognized for their contributions to the program.

For more information on Life University Wrestling or Athletics, please contact Sports Information Director Billy Mangum at 770.426.2833.

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