Former Byrd wrestler wins national title for Liberty U.
VINTON – William Byrd graduate Aaron Thompson was one of two Liberty University wrestlers who won individual national titles in their weight classes at the National Collegiate Wrestling Association Championships in Daytona Beach, Fla., on Saturday, March 10.
Aaron Thompson, at 197 pounds and teammate Scott Clymer at 141 joined 12 teammates at the competition. Seven Liberty wrestlers earned All-American honors, with the team ending the championships in third place.
“We had more championship finalists than any team, but couldn’t quite match the depth of Notre Dame (first) and California Baptist (second),” said head coach Jesse Castro.
Liberty came into the championships ranked first in the latest NCWA Coaches Poll. The Flames have already had success on a national scale. The team took home the NCWA National Duals trophy in January in Dalton, Ga.
Thompson, a senior, is a Type 1 diabetic. He wears an insulan pump and unhooks it to wrestle, making his accomplishment even more noteworthy.
Aaron graduated from Byrd in 2008 after a stellar senior year in wrestling. He was 39-1 and finished third in Group AA at 145, 52 pounds lighter than his collegiate weight class.
Liberty won the Mid-Atlantic Conference Championship in Lynchburg on Saturday, Feb. 25, where the Flames earned first place in seven weight classes, including Thompson, and had 14 wrestlers qualify for nationals. Liberty is in its first year of NCWA membership after reclassifying its NCAA Division I program to a club sport at the end of last season.
Thompson is studying Sports Management and will graduate in May.