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WREST: No. 25 Mountaineers Excel at Hokie Open


ROANOKE, Va. — Competing at the Hokie Open on Sunday, No. 25 Appalachian State had seven of its wrestlers place in the top six of the open division and three more place in the top five of the freshman/sophomore division.

Codi Russell (133 pounds) and Randall Diabe, who was wrestling unattached at 197 pounds, reached bracket finals before placing second. Cary Miller was third in the heavyweight division, followed by Alan Clothier (184 pounds) with a fourth-place finish. Angel Najar (157 pounds as an unattached wrestler) and Matt Zovistoski (149 pounds) both placed fifth, while Michael Elliott (165 pounds) was sixth in his open bracket.

True freshmen Riley Smucker (165 pounds), Michael Burchell (heavyweight) and Will Formato (157) led the way as unattached wrestlers in the younger division, with Smucker going 5-0 and taking first following a default in the championship round. Burchell was third, and Formato placed fifth.

With seven wrestlers placing in the open division, App State ranked second in the 15-team field behind only North Carolina, which had 13. Virginia Tech, Indiana and Campbell had six.

Russell earned decisions by scores of 7-4, 11-4 and 6-3 (in a semifinal victory against Campbell’s Noah Gonser) before he lost to West Virginia’s Matthew Schmitt in the final. Diabe had a 6-1 decision, a 10-2 major decision and a come-from-behind, 6-4 decision (against familiar SoCon counterpart Sawyer Root of The Citadel in a semifinal match) before he lost a 9-5 decision in the final against North Carolina’s Brandon Whitman.

Miller earned a 3-1 decision against Virginia Tech’s John Borst in the third-place match after recording a pin in 1:18, claiming a 5-1 decision and then falling 5-3 against UNC’s Cory Daniel in a semifinal match. Clothier reached the semifinal round with a 20-7 major decision and a 6-5 decision against UNC’s Chasen Blair.

Najar lost his first match before posting five straight wins, including a pin just 30 seconds into his fifth-place match against Campbell’s Zachary Barnes. Zovistoski went 4-1 and finished with three consecutive wins, including a 4-3 decision against West Virginia’s Kyler Rea and a 2-1 decision against The Citadel’s Douglas Gudenburr in the fifth-place match.

Elliott went 4-2, as he bounced back from an opening loss to post four straight victories that included one pin and a 3-1 decision against Campbell’s Austin Murphy to reach the fifth-place match.

Smucker’s day included a first-round pin (in 2:20), a 7-1 decision, a 6-2 decision, a 4-2 decision in the semifinal round and the win by default against NC State’s Tyler Barnes. Burchell opened with back-to-back pins (in 2:55 and 3:43) and earned a 5-2 decision in the third-place match. Formato opened his day with a pin (in 2:23) and followed a loss with three straight victories.­­

Irvin Enriquez went 2-2 in the open division, while De’Andre Swinson-Barr, Bradley Irwin (unattached), Andy Richard, Anthony Brito, Carl Guess, Demazio Samuel, Garrett Church, Jonathan Millner, Thierry Washington and Zack Willard all posted a victory. In the freshman/sophomore division, while competing unattached, Barrett Blakely and Mason Fiscella had two wins apiece, while Jett Steckline, T.J. Philpotts, Ramon Rodriguez and Rhett Golowenski had one victory apiece.