The following are highlights from teams across Watauga County for the week of Aug. 29 — Sept. 2.
• BOONE — With the fall semester underway, App State Wrestling head coach JohnMark Bentley officially announced the Mountaineers’ newcomers for the 2022-23 season.
Last season, Bentley became a three-time national coach of the year finalist after leading the Mountaineers on an unbeaten run to a Southern Conference championship and a top-30 finish at the NCAA Championships. App State’s five NCAA qualifiers in 2022 included Jonathan Millner, who became a two-time All-American.
The 2022 newcomer class is made up of 14 high school standouts who combined for 21 individual state championships and 28 state finals appearances in their prep careers. Five members of the class are homegrown talents from North Carolina, while the national recruiting from Bentley, Ian Miller and Randall Diabe also brought in wrestlers from eight other states: Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and South Dakota.
Full Class (by weight class)
- Noah Luna — 125 pounds; Charlotte, N.C. (Providence HS)
- Colby McBride — 125 pounds; Lithonia, Ga. (Woodward Academy)
Ethan Shell — 133 pounds; Cranberry, N.C. (Avery County HS)
- Kai O’Dell — 141 pounds; Danbury, Conn. (Danbury HS)
- Anthony Conetta — 149 pounds; Massapequa, N.Y. (Massapequa HS)
- Nicholas Grizales — 149 pounds; Colorado Springs, Colo. (Cheyenne Mountain HS)
- Kaden Keiser — 149 pounds; Winner, S.D. (Winner HS)
Drake Acklin — 165 pounds; Collinsville, Okla. (Collinsville HS)
- Michael Quinones — 165 pounds; Winston-Salem, N.C. (East Forsyth HS)
- Hunter Adams — 184 pounds; Gainesville, Ga. (North Hall HS)
- Braden Welch — 184 pounds; Ashland, Ohio (Ashland HS)
- Carson Floyd — 197 pounds; Mooresville, N.C. (Lake Norman HS)
- Nick Woodruff — 197 pounds; Wyalusing, Pa. (Wyalusing Valley HS)
- Levi Andrews — 285 pounds; Newland, N.C. (Avery County HS)
• NEW ORLEANS, La. — The Sun Belt released the 2022 Cross Country Preseason Poll on Wednesday. The Mountaineer men are favored to clinch the title, earning 76 votes, including five first-place votes. App State’s men’s squad is also tabbed 15th in the Southeast region in USTFCCCA’s preseason rankings. The Mountaineer women are projected to place second in the Sun Belt, nabbing 152 votes and two first-place votes.
On the women’s side, Arkansas State is favored to take the conference crown, tallying 167 votes and 11 first-place votes.
Last fall, the men’s and women’s teams posted runner-up finishes at the Sun Belt Championships. The men scored 58 points and the women scored 73. Both Arkansas State squads captured the team titles. Izzy Evely garnered First-Team All-Sun Belt accolades after finishing second overall (17:16.7). Oliver Wilson-Cook and Ryan Brown earned Second-Team All-Conference honors for their efforts on the course. Ryan Teuscher, Danniel Smith, Isaac Benz, Karsyn Kane, and Jasmine Donohue received Third-Team All-Conference nods. Evely, Wilson-Cook, Brown, Teuscher, Kane, and Donohue all make their returns this season.
App State will open the season on Friday as it hosts the Covered Bridge Open at the Don Kennedy Trails located at State Farm Field. The women’s 5K is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. with the men’s 8K to follow at 5:45 p.m.