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Appalachian State earns share of fourth straight SoCon title

BOONE, N.C. -- Another conference championship was a fitting way for this class to celebrate Senior Day.

Appalachian State Wrestling clinched a share of its fourth straight Southern Conference regular season title with a 39-8 win against The Citadel in the home finale at Varsity Gym on Sunday.

For the fourth-year wrestlers among the senior quintet of Randall Diabe, Irvin Enriquez, Angel Najar, Michael Elliott and Thierry Washington, it was a 4-for-4 finish. The Mountaineers have gone 25-2 in SoCon duals during the last four years.

"It was really special being Senior Day, and these guys that were honored today, they got to be part of four straight conference championships, which is a major feat in itself," said head coach JohnMark Bentley, who had led the program to five regular season titles in the last eight seasons. "I'm really proud of those five guys because they're a big part of the reason why we have been so successful the last couple of years."

App State, which began its current four-match winning streak with a 21-14 victory against Chattanooga, joined the Mocs atop the SoCon at 5-1. Campbell would make it a three-way tie for first with a win next weekend.

The Mountaineers won eight of the 10 matches Sunday, with Cary Miller (heavyweight) and De'Andre Swinson-Barr (125 pounds) closing the dual with pins. Codi Russell (133), Enriquez (141), Thomas Flitz (174) and Alan Clothier (184) earned five points apiece with technical falls, while Matt Zovistoski (149) posted a 14-5 major decision.

At 165 pounds, in an 8-2 decision, Elliott trailed 2-0 in the early going against Dazjon "Cheez" Casto before producing a tiebreaking takedown with 10 seconds left in the second period and a four-point near fall in the third period.

Enriquez had a takedown and three four-point near falls in the first period of his 18-2 victory against Keegan Connolly, and Diabe observed as teammate Demazio Samuel made his App State dual debut at 197 pounds.

The Citadel's Sawyer Root recorded a technical fall at 197, and the other win for the Bulldogs came from Rian Burris at 157.

App State closes the regular season Saturday with Pennsylvania-based duals at Bloomsburg (1 p.m.) and Lock Haven (7:30 p.m.) before hosting the Southern Conference Championships on March 10.

Tickets to the all-day Sunday event at App State's Holmes Convocation Center cost $15 for adults, $10 for youth (ages 6-12) and $8 apiece for members of a group with 10 or more people. Children ages 5 and under as well as students with a valid ID from Appalachian State, Campbell, The Citadel, Davidson, Gardner-Webb, Chattanooga and VMI can attend for free.

To purchase tickets, order them online HERE or call the App State Athletics ticket office at 828-262-2079. For more information about event, visit App State's Championship Central page by clicking HERE.

Results:
133: Codi Russell (APP) def. Paddy Kearney (CIT), 16-1 tech. fall
141: Irvin Enriquez (APP) def. Keegan Connolly (CIT), 18-2 tech. fall
149: Matt Zovistoski (APP) def. Chon Porter (CIT), 14-5 maj. dec.
157: Rian Burris (CIT) def. Angel Najar (APP), 5-0 dec.
165: Michael Elliott (APP) def. Dazjon "Cheez" Casto (CIT), 8-2 dec.
174: Thomas Flitz (APP) def. Cooper Youngblood (CIT), 17-0 tech. fall
184: Alan Clothier (APP) def. Martin Duane, 16-0 tech. fall
197: Sawyer Root (CIT) def. Demazio Samuel (APP), 18-3 tech. fall
HWT: Cary Miller (APP) def. Michael McAleavey (CIT), fall, 1:30
125: De'Andre Swinson-Barr (APP) def. Anthony New (CIT), fall, 5:49

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