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App State wrestling victorious over Bellarmine, falls to No. 9 Cornell

Sam Fleming
157lbs Junior Tommy Askey takes down VMI’s John Yost Feb. 4, 2024. Askey took a 19-3 tech fall over Yost which gave the team an early lead.

The Mountaineers split a Sunday doubleheader in Varsity Gym against conference foe Bellarmine and No. 9 Cornell.

App State began on the mat against Bellarmine, winning the match 38-6 to improve to 6-1 in the SoCon.

“We’re getting the job done,” said head coach JohnMark Bentley. “I wish we would’ve went out with a little more aggression and taken control of matches early.”

Junior Chad Bellis won by tech fall 18-2 at 125 lbs. His victory included 2:45 in riding time after the second period. 

No. 27 redshirt sophomore Ethan Oakley defeated Trayce Eckman in the 133-pound matchup with a 10-3 decision as he had a second period takedown.

Redshirt junior Ike Byers secured a 14-2 major decision over Chase Hall at 141 lbs as Byers tallied two takedowns.

The Black and Gold added to their overall lead as No. 21 149-pound redshirt senior Cody Bond won a 22-8 major decision against Zac Cowan. Bond was down 7-3 after the first period, and scored 19 straight for a comeback victory.

At 157 lbs, redshirt freshman Anthony Conetta defeated Gray Ortis in a 1-0 decision after a third-period escape sealed Conetta’s first SoCon victory. 

The Mountaineers took a 22-0 lead over the Knights as No. 22 165-pound junior Will Miller won a 3-1 decision against Grant O’Dell. 

Redshirt sophomore Luke Uliano at 174 lbs defeated Cole Nance by tech fall with a 21-4 score, giving App State a 27-0 lead.

Freshman Tomas Brooker won the 184-pound match with a 17-1 tech fall against Sam Schroeder, improving to 6-1 in SoCon duals.

App State won their ninth-straight match at 197 lbs as sophomore Carson Floyd defeated Justin Hoffer by fall in the second period. 

The Knights broke the Mountaineers streak and scored six points by injury default, ending the contest with the Black and Gold winning 38-6.

“I felt like we did not show up to battle, like I expected us to,” Bentley said. “We lacked a little bit of motivation as a team today.”

In Sunday’s second matchup, App State was defeated by No. 9 Cornell 36-6.

The Big Red started with a 5-0 lead as Bellis lost the 125-pound matchup via tech fall, but Oakley responded against Ethan Quershi, totaling two third-period takedowns. Oakley won the 133-pound match in a 10-4 decision to give the Black and Gold three points.

Cornell took control by winning three consecutive matches as Byers, 149-pound freshman Jeremiah Price and 157-pound junior Tommy Askey were defeated, giving the Big Red a 16-3 advantage.

The Mountaineers got back on the scoreboard as Miller defeated Brody Oleksak in an 11-5 decision in the 165-pound match.

Miller’s victory was the last for App State as Cornell won the next four matches. With a 13-7 decision at 174 lbs, win by fall at 184 lbs, a tech fall at 197 lbs and a heavyweight foreign victory, the Big Red secured a 36-6 victory. 

With splitting Sunday’s doubleheader, the Mountaineers overall record sits at 9-4 with one matchup remaining before the SoCon Championship.

“We’re going to have to have a much better effort at the end of the season if we are going to reach our goals,” Bentley said.

The Black and Gold will compete in Varsity Gym against Gardner-Webb Sunday at 2 p.m. The matchup will be streamed on YouTube, Twitch and Facebook.

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About the Contributors
Chance Chamberlain, Associate Sports Editor
Chance Chamberlain (he/him) is a senior journalism major, media studies minor. This is his second year writing for The Appalachian.
Sam Fleming, Photographer
Sam Fleming (he/him) is a freshman Computer Science Major, from Greensboro, NC. This is his first year with The Appalachian.
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