ST. LOUIS — Appalachian State wrestling added a new All-American to its history books on Saturday, March 20, when redshirt junior Jonathan Millner secured eighth place in the 149-pound weight class at the NCAA Division I Championships in St. Louis.
Millner was part of a record-setting seven wrestlers from App to attend, alongside Codi Russell (125), Sean Carter (133), Anthony Brito (141), Cody Bond (157), Will Formato (165) and Thomas Flitz (174). Formato and Flitz each received at-large bids to make it to the championships, while the other five Mountaineers were Southern Conference Champions in their weight class for automatic bids.
Russell, Carter and Millner were the only three to make it past the first day of the competition, with no other Mountaineers securing a win in their two matches each. Millner secured two day-one wins, while Carter and Russell both went 1-1. Carter lost to eventual national champion Roman Bravo-Young of Penn State.
On day two, Carter and Russell were stopped, but Millner kept going through the tournament. Millner lost in the third round of the tournament to Austin O’Connor of University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, but made up for it with a win over Duke’s Josh Finesilver in the “Wrestlebacks” bracket, allowing those who have already lost to compete for up to a third-placed finish.
O’Connor would later beat Ohio State’s Sammy Sasso to win the national title in the 149 weight class.
Millner’s run came to an end against Florida State’s Kyle Parco, but he finished high enough to make Mountaineer history. By winning an All-American spot, the Greensboro native joins the seven other NCAA All-Americans in program history, Charles Parks (1941), Al Crawford (1941), Donnell Rawls (1992), Mark Fee (2002, 2003), Kyle Blevins (2012), Austin Trotman (2012) and Denzel Dejournette (2017).
“I’m just really proud of Jon Jon and having another All-American in this rich tradition of App State Wrestling,” App Head Coach JohnMark Bentley was quoted as saying. “I couldn’t be more proud of him, our program and our coaching staff and all of our alumni and supporters. It’s tough when you get out here and you’re wrestling against the best guys in the country, and your emotions are going up and down throughout the tournament with different wrestlers participating.”
“To keep putting App on the map, just to represent the program and my coaching staff, it means the world to them and me,” Millner was quoted as saying.