Mountaineers perform at NCAA Wrestling championships

Garrett Wold, Sports Reporter

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Four members of App State’s wrestling team competed in the NCAA Wrestling Championships on March 22-23 including senior Randall Diabe, juniors Cary Miller and Matt Zovistoski, and sophomore Codi Russell.

Diabe, Miller and Russell all earned their seed in the tournament by winning a Southern Conference title during the regular season.

   In the final year of his career at App State, Diabe finished the regular season with a record of 26-7 and a SoCon Championship. He was defeated in the first round of the tournament by a 4-3 decision to Jake Woodley of the University of Oklahoma. He lost his following match in the consolation bracket 3-2 to Brett Perry of the University at Buffalo.

   Diabe will finish his time at App State with a career record of 77-48 and a SoCon Championship, with two appearances in the NCAA Wrestling Championships.

   Miller also lost in the first round of the tournament after an 18-6 major decision to Amar Dhesi of Oregon State University. He advanced to the second day of the consolation bracket after defeating Billy Miller of Virginia Tech.

“He was a good kid, but I felt him slowing down, and I heard my coaches telling me to finish,” Miller said. “That’s something I’m trying to get better at: turning my brain off and just listening to my coaches.”

He lost his next match 3-0 to Conan Jennings of Northwestern University. Miller finished this season with an overall record of 24-13.

   Russell, in his first NCAA appearance of his career, became the first Mountaineer to record a pin in the tournament since Mike Longo in 2016. He was defeated the next day by DJ Fehlman of Lock Haven University by a 6-1 decision. His season record was 22-12.

“I didn’t come to this tournament for the experience,” Russell said. “I didn’t come here to go 0-2; I came here to win and make it to the second day.”

The only Mountaineer in the tournament that did not win a SoCon title, Zovistoski, lost his first match by a 10-2 major decision to Brock Mauller of the University of Missouri. He was defeated by technical fall in his next match 16-1 by Anthony Artalona of the University of Pennsylvania.

This was Zovistoski’s second career appearance in the championships, following his 27-15 junior season.

Miller, Russell and Zovistoski will all return for 2019-20 after a season that ended in two of the group’s first NCAA Championship appearances. With a team of experienced wrestlers and the guidance of head coach JohnMark Bentley, the App State wrestling team will look to add a fifth straight SoCon Championship and more individual appearances in the postseason.