BOONE, N.C. — Appalachian State’s Michael Elliott, who has moved into the Mountaineers’ dual meet lineup for the first time in his career as a senior, was named the Southern Conference Wrestler of the Week on Wednesday.
Elliott’s team-leading 13 victories include impressive wins at 165 pounds against Oklahoma’s Jeremy Thomas on Sunday and Ohio’s Colt Yinger on Nov. 30 in his dual meet debut, part of a 2-1 mark while in App State’s lineup.
A local product from Jefferson, N.C., Elliott won a 5-4 decision against Oklahoma’s Thomas. Elliott had 36 seconds of riding time on his side when he erased a 4-2 deficit on a takedown in the final minute of the third period. From that position, he was able to remain atop Thomas for the rest of the period and get a tiebreaking point by pushing his riding time over a minute.
Afterward, Elliott jogged toward the bench and was congratulated with hand slaps from smiling head coach JohnMark Bentley and other staff members.
Elliott was named the Male Athlete of the Year during his time at Ashe County High School, where he won a 2-A state wrestling title as a senior and also earned recognition as an all-conference defensive back in football. He attended Western Carolina with hopes of playing football for the Catamounts before transferring to App State and walking on to the wrestling team.
“I knew my heart was still in wrestling,” Elliott said.
A criminal justice major, he had planned to have the end of his college wrestling career coincide with a spring 2018 graduation.
Instead, he has returned for his final season of eligibility and fared well with a 13-6 overall record that also includes a fifth-place showing at the Keystone Classic in Philadelphia.
“The coaches met with me and talked to me about staying for my last year,” Elliott said. “My wrestling was improving drastically, and I knew I wasn’t ready to hang my shoes up and end my career. If I did, I would have regretted it.”