PITTSBURGH, Pa. — Appalachian State wrestlers Codi Russell (133 pounds) and Cary Miller (heavyweight) won matches Thursday night to advance to Day 2 of the NCAA Championships.
Russell, who recorded a second-period pin of Ohio’s Mario Guillen, and Miller, whose tiebreaking takedown with 40 seconds left against Virginia Tech’s Billy Miller led to a 3-2 decision, both went 1-1 on the opening day of the double-elimination event at PPG Paints Arena.
Randall Diabe completed a 77-48 career that included a 26-7 mark as a senior with a pair of one-point losses in Pittsburgh, and Matt Zovistoski finished a 27-15 junior season with two matches. They were both making their second NCAA appearances.
The NCAA Championships resume Friday at 11 a.m., and Russell (23-10) will face 24th-seeded DJ Fehlman of Lock Haven a month after Fehlman (35-7) won a close decision between them in a nonconference dual. Their rematch should occur in the opening hour of the 11 a.m. session.
App State’s Miller (24-12) will take on 12th-seeded Conan Jennings, a Northwestern senior with a 19-11 record this season.
After dropping a first-round match against Iowa’s Austin DeSanto, Russell trailed 3-1 in the second period against Guillen, who had managed to erase a third-period deficit and take advantage of a Russell misstep to record a pin when Ohio faced Appalachian State in late November.
Russell returned the favor in the final minute of the second period Thursday, switching a deficit into a win by fall.
After losing a major decision against 2018 third-place finisher Amar Dhesi of Oregon State, App State’s Miller was facing an opponent who placed third in the ACC and was making his fourth NCAA appearance. Miller executed a match-tying escape early in the third period, took the lead on his last-minute takedown and held on after allowing a post-takedown escape with 18 seconds remaining.
Oklahoma’s Jake Woodley won 4-3 in the Tiebreaker-2 period against Diabe, and Buffalo’s Brett Perry won a 3-2 decision by producing a tiebreaking takedown with 1:10 remaining.
Diabe and Woodley were tied at 1-all at the end of three periods thanks to one escape apiece, and neither wrestler managed a takedown in the Sudden Victory period. With each wrestler starting a 30-second tiebreaker from the down position, Woodley recorded an escape in six seconds to start that period and Diabe tied the match by getting an escape in 10 seconds.
That four-second difference ended up determining the outcome as the next 30-second tiebreaker included escapes by both Diabe and then Woodley in 10 seconds, meaning Woodley finished with a small but match-clinching advantage in riding time.
Needing to be aggressive to give himself a late chance in the first round, Zovistoski trailed 3-2 in the closing moments of a 10-2 major decision against Missouri’s Brock Mauller, a fourth-seeded entry who won twice Thursday to improve to 31-2. In the next round, Penn’s Anthony Artalona won by technical fall.
CODI RUSSELL (No. 26 seed, 133 pounds)
1st round: L, DQ, vs. (7) Austin DeSanto, Iowa
Consolation: W, fall in 4:10 vs. (23) Mario Guillen, Ohio
Friday: vs. (24) DJ Fehlman, Lock Haven
CARY MILLER (No. 27 seed, heavyweight)
1st round: L, 18-6 maj. dec. vs. (6) Amar Dhesi, Oregon State
Consolation: W, 3-2 dec. vs. (22) Billy Miller, Virginia Tech
Friday: vs. (12) Conan Jennings, Northwestern
RANDALL DIABE (No. 15 seed, 197 pounds)
1st round: L, 4-3 dec. (TB-2) vs. (18) Jake Woodley, Oklahoma
Consolation: L, 3-2 dec. vs. (31) Brett Perry, Buffalo
MATT ZOVISTOSKI (No. 29 seed, 149 pounds)
1st round: L, 10-2 maj. dec., vs. (4) Brock Mauller, Missouri
Consolation: L, 16-1 tech. fall vs. (13) Anthony Artalona, Penn