CLEVELAND, Ohio — Appropriately, the last win in Appalachian State senior Forrest Przybysz’s standout wrestling career was a memorable, dramatic triumph.
Przybysz went 2-2 in the second NCAA Championships appearance of his career, falling 11-3 against Oklahoma State’s Jacobe Smith not long after he advanced in the 174-pound bracket thanks to a sudden victory takedown of Utah Valley’s Kimball Bastian.
Przybysz picked up his 78th career victory by breaking a 2-2 tie with three seconds left in the first overtime period Friday at a sold-out Quicken Loans Arena.
“Over time, both guys are going to be exhausted,” Przybysz said. “I just knew if I pushed it a little harder than he did for that last sudden victory minute, then I’d be able to come out with a takedown. I got to my underhook and just decided to drive through it with everything I had. Luckily, he went down.
“I had a great experience in my five years at App. I couldn’t ask for a better coaching staff or teammates, so I’m really grateful for the people I’ve been surrounded with.”
Przybysz posted a 26-9 record during a redshirt senior year in which he earned a top-20 national ranking, went unbeaten in Southern Conference dual meets and won his first SoCon tournament title after three runner-up finishes.
A multi-year academic All-American and current MBA student, he helped the Mountaineers claim a third straight SoCon regular season title and complete a sweep of 2018 championships with his tournament breakthrough in Charleston, S.C.
“He’s really just a quality person, and those are the kinds of young men we want to put out from our program — in all aspects, and not just wrestling,” App State head coach JohnMark Bentley said. “He’s just a fine young man, and I know he’s going to be successful in the next chapter of his life.”
Seeded 12th in Cleveland, Przybysz won his first match with a 7-2 decision against Wisconsin’s Ryan Christensen on Thursday before falling into the consolation bracket with a loss to fifth-seeded Myles Amine of Michigan. Przybysz trailed 2-1 entering the third period against Bastian and quickly tied the match with an escape from the down position.
The 4-2 win against Bastian gave App State three victories at this year’s NCAA Championships, as junior Randall Diabe won his second match in the 197-pound bracket Thursday. Diabe, fellow junior Irvin Enriquez (141 pounds) and redshirt freshman Alan Clothier (184 pounds) were all making their NCAA debuts. Gavin Londoff (149 pounds) appeared in Cleveland as a first alternate and was part of a group coached by Bentley, Ryan LeBlanc, Josh Roosa and Dominic Parisi.
“I’m proud of this team and the growth we made this year,” Bentley said. “I think all the guys we had at this tournament competed hard, and they represented our university very well. I think the young guys are going to take a lot from this tournament, and hopefully it will help them in the future when they get here again.”