BOONE, N.C. — With six preseason all-conference selections in the 10 weight classes, Appalachian State Wrestling has been voted the favorite to win another Southern Conference championship.
Seeking its fourth consecutive SoCon regular-season title, App State received a first-place vote from all six of the other head coaches — a coach could not vote for his own team or student-athletes.
The Mountaineers return eight wrestlers who were primary starters for a 2017-18 team that went unbeaten against its SoCon schedule and secured a title sweep by winning the league tournament, which will be held at the Holmes Center in Boone this March. App State has two more wrestlers returning who have started in multiple dual team matches for head coach JohnMark Bentley during the last two seasons.
Appalachian’s preseason all-conference selections are senior Randall Diabe (197 pounds), senior Irvin Enriquez (141 pounds), junior Cary Miller (heavyweight), junior Matt Zovistoski (149 pounds), sophomore Alan Clothier (184 pounds) and sophomore Codi Russell (133 pounds).
Diabe, Enriquez and Clothier all qualified for the NCAA Championships last season, as Enriquez claimed an automatic bid by winning a SoCon title in Charleston, S.C., and Zovistoski redshirted last season after being an NCAA qualifier in 2017.
Diabe and senior Angel Najar (157 pounds) had unbeaten records in their SoCon dual team matches last season, while Clothier (6-1), Russell (6-1), De’Andre Swinson-Barr (3-3 at 125 pounds) and Joe Accousti (2-0) made the league’s all-freshman team. Another returner, sophomore Thomas Flitz, competed in 10 dual team matches.
Enriquez, Swinson-Barr, Russell, Najar, Clothier and Miller all reached the championship round in their weight classes at the conference championships.
In the preseason team voting, App State was followed by second-place Campbell, third-place Chattanooga and fourth-place Gardner-Webb. All three of those SoCon teams, along with North Carolina and Oklahoma, will visit Varsity Gym in Boone this season.
Season tickets for App State Wrestling are available for $35 (adults) and $15 (youth) by clicking HERE for an online purchase, contacting the ticket office at 828-262-2079 or going to the App State athletics ticket office located at the Holmes Center. It is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays.
Single-match tickets are $7 (adult) and $3 (youth), with the visits from UNC, Oklahoma and Chattanooga set as premium matches with a price of $10 for adults and $5 for youth.
App State will open the 2018-19 season with its Black & Gold exhibition in Varsity Gym on Tuesday at 6 p.m. before traveling to out-of-state tournaments in Virginia (Southeast Open), New York (Northeast Duals) and Pennsylvania (Keystone Classic) on consecutive weekends.
2018-19 Preseason Poll
1. Appalachian State (36 points)
2. Campbell (30)
3. Chattanooga (27)
4. Gardner-Webb (21)
5. VMI (14)
6. The Citadel (11)
7. Davidson (8)
Preseason All-Conference Team
125: Alonzo Allen, Chattanooga
133: Codi Russell, Appalachian State
141: Irvin Enriquez, Appalachian State
149: Matt Zovistoski, Appalachian State
157: Tyler Marinelli, Gardner-Webb
165: Neal Richards, VMI
174: Andrew Morgan, Campbell
184: Alan Clothier, Appalachian State
197: Randall Diabe, Appalachian State
HWT: Cary Miller, Appalachian State