BOONE, N.C. — With a standing-room-only crowd surrounding the wrestling mat in Varsity Gym, App State pitched a P5 shutout.
The Mountaineers posted a 45-0 home victory against in-state ACC program Duke on Thursday night, running their winning streak to six straight duals with a dominant performance.
Unofficially No. 28 in this week’s NWCA Coaches Poll based on their high placement in the others receiving votes category, App State (6-2) beat a Power Five-level program for the seventh time since the start of the 2015-16 season and registered a shutout win against one for the first time in at least three decades.
Thomas Flitz’s 9-4 decision against 24th-ranked Mason Eaglin at 174 pounds highlighted a sweep that included wins from App State teammates Sean Carter (125 pounds, forfeit), Codi Russell (133, second-period pin), Bradley Irwin (141, forfeit), Jonathan Millner (149, tech fall), Matt Zovistoski (157, decision), Will Formato (165, decision), Julian Gorring (184, tech fall), Paul Carson (197, decision) and Cary Miller (heavyweight, tech fall).
“Thomas Flitz, he just had a great performance tonight wrestling an opponent he had lost to earlier in the year and one that’s nationally ranked,” said head coach JohnMark Bentley, who received a commemorative plaque from Doug Gillin recognizing career win No. 100 on the same night he posted his 103rd victory with the Mountaineers.
“There’s no doubt about it, the crowd here tonight in Varsity Gym was something I think helped push him over the edge. The crowd was fired up. It’s probably one of the biggest crowds I’ve ever seen here in Varsity Gym. When you get a lot of your teammates, they’re scoring a lot of points and putting a lot of points on the board, then you get a chance to go out and earn a victory like that, it’s pretty special. It was a great night in Varsity Gym.”
Zovistoski moved into a tie for seventh place in App State history with his 94th career win, and Miller climbed into a tie for ninth place with his 85th career victory.
Flitz, who had dropped a 9-5 decision against Eaglin at the Mountaineer Invitational in early November, improved to 22-10 this season with his second win against a ranked opponent and a second straight home victory against an opponent who had defeated him in their last meeting.
A week after beating Lock Haven’s Jared Siegrist with a takedown in the Tiebreaker-2 period, Flitz led 4-1 after one period and 6-3 after two periods against Duke’s Eaglin. Bloodied and bandaged because of a delay-causing cut that required stitches, he added another takedown in the third and energized the crowd by slamming Eaglin to the mat on back-to-back escape attempts in the waning seconds.
“We keep getting crowds like this over and over again, and it’s awesome because I know we feed off of it,” Flitz said. “It hypes us up even more and makes us want to put on a great show.”
Early forfeits in favor of Carter and Irwin were sandwiched around a pin from Russell, who improved to 7-1 in dual appearances this year with his victory against Harrison Campbell.
Millner was ahead 21-6 when his match ended against Wade Unger, who had lost 15-11 against Millner at the Mountaineer Invitational, and Zovistoski earned an 8-3 decision against Eric Carter.
After the intermission, Formato used a reversal late in the second period against Wyatt Pfau to move ahead 4-0 in a 7-0 decision. Gorring followed Flitz’s win with a 18-3 tech fall against Kai Blake, and Carson’s 9-5 decision against Vincent Baker preceded Miller’s 18-3 tech fall against Jonah Nisenbaum to end the dual.
Carson held a 6-5 lead in the third period when Baker put himself in position to execute a go-ahead takedown, but Carson avoided trouble and posted his own takedown to take control.
The 2019-20 wrestling season is presented by Hungry Howies. The Mountaineers will be back in action Saturday when they host the Appalachian Open in Varsity Gym.
App State 45, Duke 0
125: Sean Carter (APP) won by forfeit
133: Codi Russell (APP) def. Harrison Campbell (DU), fall, 3:23
141: Bradley Irwin (APP) won by forfeit
149: #20 Jonathan Millner (APP) def. Wade Unger (DU), 21-6 tech fall
157: #18 Matt Zovistoski (APP) def. Eric Carter (DU), 8-3 dec.
165: Will Formato (APP) def. Wyatt Pfau (DU), 7-0 dec.
174: Thomas Flitz (APP) def. #24 Mason Eaglin (DU), 9-4 dec.
184: Julian Gorring (APP) def. Kai Blake (DU), 18-3 tech fall
197: Paul Carson (APP) def. Vincent Baker (DU), 9-5 dec.
285: #24 Cary Miller (APP) def. Jonah Niesenbaum (DU), 18-3 tech fall