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App State overpowers Lock Haven

BOONE, N.C. -- As the lead continued to increase, so did the noise inside Varsity Gym. Takedowns on the mat repeatedly brought fans to their feet.

App State posted its most impressive showing of the season and extended its winning streak to five matches with a 29-10 dual victory Thursday against Lock Haven, which is unofficially No. 31 in the NWCA Coaches Poll as the sixth-place team in the others receiving votes category.

A year after suffering a lopsided loss to the Bald Eagles, the Mountaineers (5-2) rolled to a decisive win thanks to victories by Codi Russell (133 pounds), Jonathan Millner (149), Matt Zovistoski (157), Will Formato (165), Thomas Flitz (174), Julian Gorring (184) and Cary Miller (285).

In addition to Millner's pin and Zovistoski's tech fall, dramatic two-point wins for Russell and Flitz sent the App State fans into a frenzy.

"I was really pumped," App State head coach JohnMark Bentley said. "I thought our guys wrestled really well. We looked motivated and hungry, which is something I wanted to see. We had an opportunity to wrestle a team that beat us pretty convincingly last year at their place, and getting a chance to wrestle them on our home mat was really good. Just a lot of great efforts tonight."

Russell trailed 3-2 after two periods and used a tiebreaking takedown with 53 seconds left to earn a 5-3 decision against DJ Fehlman, who had beaten Russell last year in the dual at Lock Haven and in the NCAA Championships.

With Lock Haven (5-3) ahead 7-3 after three matches, Millner took a 2-0 lead into the second period against Brock Port before using an escape and takedown to set up a pin midway through the period, and Zovistoski turned a 5-0 lead entering the third period against Collin Glorioso into a 21-6 tech fall thanks to a whopping seven takedowns in the final 90 seconds. In rapid succession, Zovistoski repeatedly took down his exhausted opponent, cut him loose and succeeded in going for two more points.

Leading 14-7 going into the halfway-point intermission, App State fed off the bonus-point surge and crowd excitement to win the next three matches, starting with Will Formato's 4-0 decision against Austin Bell. Formato rode out the second period in a scoreless match and took control with a reversal early in the third.

Flitz then used a takedown with 12 seconds left in the Tiebreaker-2 period to win a 4-2 decision against Jared Siegrist, who had defeated Flitz in the 2019 dual at Lock Haven. Tied 2-2 after three periods, they went through a scoreless Sudden Victory period to enter a pair of 30-second tiebreakers that gave each wrestler a chance to escape from the down position. Flitz executed an escape in the first one, and Siegrist did the same in the next one, but Flitz responded with a takedown 10 seconds later and road out his opponent.

The Mountaineers increased their lead to 23-7 when true freshman Julian Gorring claimed a 6-1 decision against Ray Bernot while competing against a team from his home state of Pennsylvania. With App State ahead 23-10 going into the final match, Lock Haven opted to not send its heavyweight out to face Miller, who added six points with a win by forfeit.

The Bald Eagles picked up wins at 125 from 25th-ranked Luke Werner, at 141 from Kyle Shoop, a 2019 All-American, and at 197 from Parker McClellan. Even in defeat against ranked opponents, App State limited the damage as Lock Haven finished one point shy of a major decision at 125 and one point shy of a tech fall at 141.

With Lock Haven strong at the lower weights, App State held a 9-7 lead after Millner's pin in the fourth match instead of being tied, in part, because of the way the two losses ended. That set the stage for Zovistoski's big win.

The 2019-20 wrestling season for App State is presented by Hungry Howies, and the Mountaineers return to action next Thursday, Jan. 23, against Duke.

Results:
125: #25 Luke Werner (LH) def. Sean Carter (APP), 7-0 dec.
133: Codi Russell (APP) def. DJ Fehlman (LH), 5-3 dec.
141: #20 Kyle Shoop (LH) def. Bradley Irwin (APP), 14-0 maj. dec.
149: #20 Jonathan Millner (APP) def. Brock Port (LH), fall, 4:10
157: #19 Matt Zovistoski (APP) def. Collin Glorioso (LH), 21-6 tech. fall
165: Will Formato (APP) def. Austin Bell (LH), 4-0 dec.
174: Thomas Flitz (APP) def. Jared Siegrist (LH), 4-2 dec. (TB-2)
184: Julian Gorring (APP) def. Ray Bernot (LH), 6-1 dec.
197: Parker McClellan (LH) def. Paul Carson (APP), 4-0 dec.
285: #25 Cary Miller (APP) def. Trey Hartsock (LH), forfeit

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