Lineberger caps off ca­reer with sec­ond na­tional ti­tle

Stone grad­u­ate leads Notre Dame Col­lege to NCAA team ti­tle

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By AJ MA­SON aj­ma­son@somd­news.com

Back in 2014, the Notre Dame Col­lege (Ohio) wrestling team claimed its first-ever NCAA Divi­sion II championship in em­phatic fash­ion in only its sec­ond year of full mem­ber­ship in the divi­sion.

That sea­son, Gar­rett Lineberger be­came the Fal­cons’ sec­ond fresh­man in a row to win an in­di­vid­ual ti­tle, af­ter Joey Davis achieved the feat the pre­vi­ous year.

Af­ter a three-year hia­tus atop the na­tional podium, the 2013 Thomas Stone High School grad­u­ate and a Hugh­esville na­tive who starred with back-to-back state ti­tles his fi­nal two years of high school with a per­fect 79-0 record, was among three na­tional cham­pi­ons for Notre Dame en route to the team reg­is­ter­ing 103.5 points, 36 points ahead of St. Cloud State (Minn.), on March 11 in Birm­ing­ham, Ala.

It was a me­morable mo­ment for the Fal­cons se­nior, who re­peated suc­cess from his first sea­son in the col­lege ranks.

“It’s un­be­liev­able still to me,” said Lineberger, who was ranked No. 1 in the coun­try in his weight class of 184 pounds. “I could not have ended my ca­reer any bet­ter with an in­di­vid­ual and team NCAA ti­tle. I knew God had a plan for me and I thank him for ev­ery op­por­tu­nity he has blessed me with good or bad. Be­ing able to lead these guys this year was un­be­liev­able. We have been through so many dif­fer­ent tri­als and tribu­la­tions, so it was good to know that our sac­ri­fices were worth it.”

Af­ter a close 6-4 win over Aero Amo with the help of two back points in the semi­fi­nals, Lineberger surged to a 15-0 win by tech­ni­cal fall over Ni­cholas Fiegener of Cal­i­for­nia Bap­tist to cap­ture the 184-pound na­tional ti­tle.

He was able to put Fiegener on his back three times in the first pe­riod, in­clud­ing twice in the last 20 sec­onds, to go up 14-0 af­ter the first three min­utes.

“My sopho­more year didn’t work out well. My junior year didn’t work out well, but I got it done this year,” Lineberger said. “I lost my grandfather [Joe] [last April]. He was my best friend and I know he’s watching right now.”

On what it was like to wres­tle at the col­lege level for four years, Lineberger said: Col­lege wrestling is very com­pet­i­tive through­out all the di­vi­sions. We mainly wres­tled in Divi­sion I tour­na­ments and com­pe­ti­tion through the year un­less it was a Divi­sion II championship event. The level of com­pe­ti­tion in­creases ever year and I love it. It makes me push past my lim­its. I love the pres­sure, it makes you feel alive.”

With ma­jor sup­port from his Notre Dame coach­ing staff and fa­ther Joseph, Lineberger cred­its the off­sea­son work­out regime that pre­pared his body for the gru­el­ing sea­son.

“This sea­son’s regime con­sisted of go­ing back to my old ways with improvements in my diet, wrestling and men­tal game,” he said. “Tak­ing it back to my roots in my base­ment in South­ern Mary­land where my dad and I would go at night to get ex­tra work. You get what you earn, no­body de­serves any­thing. Con­trol­ling my weight, not go­ing out, late-night runs and weightlifting was key. Hav­ing com­plete faith in the Lord to guide me down the right path is im­por­tant.”

Lineberger, who went 112-4 in the high school ranks, fin­ished with a record of 107-15 for his col­le­giate ca­reer and also claimed three Su­per Re­gional cham­pi­onships as a Fal­con.

“Lastly, I just want to thank my par­ents for all the sac­ri­fices they made me over the years,” he said. “I can never ever re­pay them them for how they raised me and pushed me. I hope I made them proud in the end.”

SUBMITTED PHOTO

Gar­rett Lineberger, a 2013 Thomas Stone High School grad­u­ate and now a se­nior at Notre Dame Col­lege (Ohio), capped off his se­nior ca­reer with his sec­ond NCAA Divi­sion II in­di­vid­ual wrestling championship in the 184-weight class. He also led the Fal­cons to a team ti­tle on March 11 in Birm­ing­ham, Ala.

SUBMITTED PHOTO

Gar­rett Lineberger, a 2013 Thomas Stone grad­u­ate, stands atop the podium af­ter cap­ping off his se­nior sea­son at Notre Dame Col­lege (Ohio) with an NCAA Divi­sion II na­tional wrestling ti­tle in the 184-pound weight class. Notre Dame went on to win the na­tional team ti­tle.

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