BUIES CREEK — The Southern Conference’s top two wrestling teams delivered plenty of drama in a highly anticipated dual Feb. 13. App State came up a little short in a 20-13 loss to 20th-ranked Campbell in Carter Gym.
Unofficially 27th in the latest NWCA Coaches Poll, the Mountaineers (8-3, 5-1) built a 10-6 lead and benefited from wins by Jonathan Millner (149 pounds), Matt Zovistoski (157), Thomas Flitz (174) and Sean Carter (125).
Zovistoski earned a key bonus point with an early major decision, and Carter’s tiebreaking takedown with less than 30 seconds remaining in a 6-4 win against Korbin Meink cut the Mountaineers’ deficit to 16-13 with one match remaining. Campbell (9-2, 5-0) clinched the first-place showdown with a major decision at 133 pounds.
The Camels have SoCon duals remaining against Davidson and VMI, which visits Boone on Feb. 23 for App State’s Senior Day in Varsity Gym.
The dual began at 141 pounds with 10th-ranked Josh Heil claiming a 7-5 decision against App State’s Bradley Irwin, and the 22nd-ranked Millner responded with a 9-2 decision against Campbell’s Jason Kraisser. Millner took a 5-0 lead into the third period of his 27th win this season.
The Mountaineers made it two straight victories as the 20th-ranked Zovistoski used two takedowns and one near fall in the second period to open up an 11-2 lead in his 17-6 major decision against Matthew Dallara. Zovistoski picked up his 97th career win in the process.
Campbell responded with a 4-1 decision from 18th-ranked Quentin Perez in his match at 165 against Will Formato, and the Mountaineers were ahead 10-6 following Flitz’s 6-3 decision against Austin Kraisser. They entered the third period tied at 3-3, with Flitz starting on bottom and possessing more than a minute in riding time. He seized control with an escape and takedown in the third.
Campbell’s comeback began with a win at 184 pounds from sixth-ranked Andrew Morgan, who executed a late takedown to earn a bonus point and claim a victory by major decision against freshman Julian Gorring. In the next match, App State’s Demazio Samuel rode out the second period, got a third-period escape and, with a riding time point awaiting, put himself in position to possibly claim a 3-2 victory. Chris Kober’s late takedown denied Samuel’s chance at a win and gave Kober a 4-3 decision.
In a battle of top-25 heavyweights, Campbell’s 14th-ranked Jere Heino had a first-period takedown and overcame a third-period stalling penalty to win a 3-2 decision against 24th-ranked Cary Miller.
With App State trailing 16-10 and needing a win from Carter, the true freshman came through. He trailed 3-1 entering the third period and produced an escape with 1:28 left, after Meink had increased his riding time over a minute.
Carter’s takedown with just under a minute to go and his ability to get Meink’s riding time back under a minute gave the App State wrestler a 4-3 lead. The crowd cheered as Meink made a match-tying escape with 30 seconds left, but Carter answered back immediately with another takedown.
That set up a finale with App State needing a win by decision to even the scoreboard or a win with bonus points to clinch the team victory. Campbell’s Noah Gonser, ranked No. 8 in his weight class, jumped out to an early 6-0 lead in an 11-2 major decision against Codi Russell.
#20 Campbell 20, #27 App State 13
141: #10 Josh Heil (CU) def. Bradley Irwin (APP), 7-5 dec.
149: #22 Jonathan Millner (APP) def. Jason Kraisser (CU), 9-2 dec.
157: #20 Matt Zovistoski (APP) def. Matthew Dallara (CU), 17-6 maj. dec.
165: #18 Quentin Perez (CU) def. Will Formato (APP), 4-1 dec.
174: Thomas Flitz (APP) def. Austin Kraisser (CU), 6-3 dec.
184: #6 Andrew Morgan (CU) def. Julian Gorring (APP) 12-3 maj. dec.
197: Chris Kober (CU) def. Demazio Samuel (APP), 4-3 dec.
285: #14 Jere Heino (CU) def. #24 Cary Miller (APP), 3-2 dec.
125: Sean Carter (APP) def. Korbin Meink (CU) 6-4 dec.
133: #8 Noah Gonser (CU) def. Codi Russell (APP), 11-2 maj. dec.