App State Wrestling Secure SoCon Sweep

App State Wrestling Secure SoCon Sweep

BOONE, NC — App State Jon Jon Millner flashed four fingers on each hand as he walked off the mat following another conference title.

Millner’s swansong in a defining SoCon career contributed to another team title in the head coach’s 2022-23 season. John Mark Bentleyprogram.

Millner (149 pounds), Caleb Smith (125) and Tommy Askey (157) won the individual title Saturday in Boone as the Mountaineers fielded eight finalists in 10 weight classes to capture the team event title with 103.0 points, 24.5 more than runner-up Campbell’s total score.

Will Miller (who earned the SoCon’s second automatic NCAA championship at 174 pounds), Ethan Oakley (133), Will Formato (165), Carson Floyd (197) and Jacob Sartorio (heavyweight) also advanced to the finals as App State finished with its largest margin of victory since 2013. Heath Goner He was third at 141 and Luke Uliano was fourth with 184.

No. 20 App State went 8-0 in SoCon duals and captured its first title since 2018, a year before the tournament began its current run at the Holmes Center.

Millner cemented Holmes’ status as royalty in the building with his fourth straight conference title to go along with a 41-0 career record in SoCon duals and tournament play — the highest undefeated total in modern league history.

One of only four wrestlers to be a four-time All-SoCon selection, Millner became the first four-time state champion since Chattanooga’s Nick Soto (2012-15).

Millner’s career undefeated streak in SoCon games was a 30-0 dual record and an 11-0 tournament record. Soto went 34-0 overall in SoCon games and four-time All-SoCon selection Leslie Apedoe of VMI went 26-0 in SoCon games from 1996-99.

Thanks to App State’s big lead in the quarterfinals, semifinals and consolations, night practice was another crowning achievement from a team perspective.

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App State went 10-0 in the quarterfinals and was 20-2 in singles matches going into third-place play. With eight finalists winning their semifinal matches, compared to four from Campbell and three from the other two schools, App State led the way with 87.0 points to 36.0 in the consolation matches.

In addition to pins by Millner and Floyd, App State’s flawless quarterfinals included two technical falls, two major decisions and four decisions.

Millner added another pin in the first period in the semifinals, needing just 12 seconds to record a takedown of Chattanooga’s Noah Castillo to win the final 4-0.

In a 6-3 final against Presbyterian’s Dominic Chavez, Smith surrendered the first takedown before taking a 3-2 lead on a first-period takedown to end the period on top. He started the second period with an escape and added a critical takedown with four seconds left.

In Davidson’s 5-1 title win over Tanner Peake, Askey led 2-1 midway through the second inning. He added the final takedown 33 seconds into the third period.

The Mountaineers have four wrestlers already in the NCAA bracket for the March 16-18 event at Tulsa State. Oakley and Formato are the ranked wrestlers with the best chance of getting big deals.

After a 2-0 start, Oakley lost 4-3 to Brayden Palmer in the 133 final and lost 6-3 to Campbell’s Dom Zaccone. The difference in the first period was Formato’s 3-1 loss to Gardner-Webb’s RJ Mosley in the 165 final.

In the semifinals, the Mountaineers scored a pair of dramatic victories.

Oakley trailed 5-4 in the third period against Gardner-Webb’s Todd Carter before tying it with 1:13 left. Oakley turned defense into offense and tied the game with 22 seconds remaining, and staying on top allowed him to add more than a minute of riding time in the 8-5 victory.

Another highlight of the semifinals was Sartorio’s 4-2 decision over second-seeded Jonathan Chesser, who pinned Sartorio in his App State heavyweight dual debut earlier this season. Sartorio followed suit and finished the regular season 7-1.

In the second period, he reversed Chesser from Citadella and took a 2-0 lead, then scored a takedown at the end of the period for a 4-1 lead.

Among the non-finalists, third-seeded Gonyer went 3-1 to take third at 141, and fourth-seeded Uliano went 2-2 to finish fourth at 184 pounds with three ranked wrestlers.

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125: #1 Caleb SmithApplication status
QF: W (TF, 16-1) vs. #8 Devon DiacoDavidson
SF: W (Dec. 8-1) vs. #4 Drew West, Gardner-Webb
Final: W (dec. 6-3) vs. 2. Dominic Chavez, Presbyterian

133: #1 Ethan OakleyApplication status
QF: W (Dec 4-1) vs. #8 Dyson Dunham, VMI
SF: W (Dec. 8-5) vs. #4 Todd Carter, Gardner-Webb
Final: L (dec. 4-3) vs. #3 Brayden Palmer, UTC
True 2nd place match: L (dec., 6-3) vs. #2 Dom ZacconeCampbell

141: #3 Heath GonerApplication status
QF: W (Dec 9-4) vs. #6 Freddy JunkoVMI
SF: L (Dec. 8-1) vs. #2 Zach Price, Gardner-Webb
Conso Semi: W (dec., 4-0) vs. #4 Franco ValdesUTC
3rd place match: W (Dec. 8-4) vs. #5 Jacob SilkaThe Citadel

149: #1 Jon Jon MillerApplication status
QF: W (fall, 2:00) vs. #8 Parker CorwinGardner-Webb
SF: W (fall, 1:46) vs. #4 Ryan Vigil, VMI
Final: W (dec., 4-0) vs. #2 Noah Castillo, UTC

157: #1 Tommy AskeyApplication status
QF: W (TF, 17-2) vs. #8 Michael Ramirez, Presbyterian
SF: W (MD, 14-5) vs. #5 Good ChishkoVMI
Final: W (dec. 6-2) vs. #3 Tanner PeakeDavidson

165: #1 Will FormatApplication status
QF: W (MD, 10-1) vs. #8 Brodie Porter, The Citadel
SF: W (dec, 4-1) vs. #4 Dom Baker, Campbell
Final: L (dec. 3-1) vs. #2 RJ Mosley, Gardner-Webb

174: #2 Will MillerApplication status
QF: W (MD, 13-3) vs. #7 Zach Wells, Presbyterian
SF: W (dec., 5-1) vs. #3 Ben HaubertThe Citadel
Final: L (dec. 4-2) vs. 1. Rocky Jordan, UTC

184: #5 Luke UlianoApplication status
QF: W (dec, 3-0) vs. #4 Cordel DuhartPresbyterian
SF: L (dec. 3-0) vs. 1. Caleb Hopkins, Campbell
Conso Semi: W (dec., 3-0) vs. #6 Tim Fitzpatrick, The Citadel
3rd place match: L (Dec. 4-3) vs. #3 Matthew Waddell, UTC

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197: #2 Carson FloydApplication status
QF: W (fall, 3:11) vs. #7 Gavin Henry, Davidson
SF: W (MD, 15-5) vs. #6 Malcolm Wiley, Presbyterian
Final: L (dec. 3-1) vs. #1 Levi Hopkins, Campbell

HWT: #3 Jacob SartorioApplication status
QF: W (dec. 7-1) vs. #6 Jake FernicolaDavidson
SF: W (Dec. 4-2) vs. #2 Jonathan ChessThe Citadel
Final: L (autumn, 1:42) vs. #1 Taye GhadialiCampbell

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