Campbell's Josh Heil is seeded No. 1 at 141 pounds (Photo/Mark Lundy, Lutte-Lens.com)
SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- Seeding for the 2020 Southern Conference Wrestling Championship has been released, the league office announced Tuesday. The tournament will take place Sunday at the Holmes Convention Center in Boone, North Carolina, with the SoCon title and 14 NCAA allocations on the line. Campbell will look to defend its tournament title from 2019 after taking this year's regular-season title, with Appalachian State finishing as a close second.
Six of last year's SoCon individual champions will be back in the field this year, attempting to defend titles in their respective weight classes. Campbell's Korbin Meink (125), Josh Heil (149) and Chris Kober (184) all return after titles last year, with Heil dropping down to 141 pounds this year. Appalachian State's Codi Russell (133) and Cary Miller (HWT) are back for another year, while VMI's Neal Richards (174) attempts to defend his title. The SoCon was allocated 14 spots in the NCAA Championships, one for each weight class except for the 149, 174, 184 and 285-pound weight classes, which were awarded two each.
Campbell's Meink, the defending 125-pound champion, will face stiff competition for his title as he enters as the third seed, with Chattanooga's Fabian Gutierrez and Appalachian State's Sean Carter seeded first and second, respectively. All three wrestlers were ranked in the latest NCAA coaches' panel, with Gutierrez ranked No. 24, Carter No. 28 and Meink coming in at No. 31.
Campbell's Noah Gonser is aiming for his first title at 133 pounds after finishing as the runner-up last year. Ranked seventh in the latest NCAA coaches' panel, Gonser will have competition from Gardner-Webb's Trevon Majette and the reigning champion Russell, who enter the tournament as the second and third seed, respectively. Russell came in at No. 30 in the latest NCAA coaches' panel.
Campbell's Heil will attempt to win a second SoCon title in a different weight class after taking the 149-pound title last season. Heil comes in as the top-seeded 141-pound wrestler and was No. 10 in the latest NCAA coaches' panel. Heil will have to fend off second-seeded Bradley Irwin of Appalachian State. Third-seeded Mason Wallace of Chattanooga and fourth-seeded Reid Stewart of Presbyterian will also look to challenge Heil in the weight class.
The 149-pound weight class will see a new champion this year, with Appalachian State's Jonathan Millner entering as the favorite and the first seed. Millner was ranked No. 21 with second-seeded Tanner Smith of Chattanooga not far behind at No. 23. Campbell's Jason Kraisser enters as the third seed after leading the league with 11 pins this season.
Appalachian State's Matt Zovistoski returns in a new weight class after finishing third at 149 pounds last season. The senior bumped up to the 157-pound weight class and earned the top seed and a No. 25 ranking in the latest NCAA coaches' panel. Campbell's Matthew Dallara is the second seed, with Presbyterian's Zachary Phillips and VMI's Will Lawrence seeded third and fourth, respectively.
Campbell's Quentin Perez is the top seed at 165 pounds after taking a redshirt year last season. Perez won the 165-pound title during the 2016-17 season and was listed at No. 15 in the latest NCAA coaches' panel. The second and third seeds are occupied by Gardner-Webb's RJ Mosely and Appalachian State's Will Formato, respectively. The Citadel's Dazon Casto comes in as the fourth seed and was ranked No. 33 in the NCAA coaches' panel.
Reigning champion Richards of VMI will have to settle for the second seed after Appalachian State's Thomas Flitz was awarded the top seed at 174 pounds after scoring a 12-11 decision over Richards in the final match of the regular season. Both wrestlers were included in the NCAA coaches' panel with Richards coming in at No. 16 and Flitz trailing him at No. 28.
Campbell's Andrew Morgan made the jump to the 184-pound weight class and enters as the favorite and top seed for the tournament after an impressive regular season. Morgan was ranked No. 8 in the latest NCAA coaches' panel, as was the second-seed Matthew Waddell of Chattanooga at No. 22. Appalachian State's Julian Gorring and Presbyterian's Austin Stith rounding out the top half of the bracket as the third and fourth seeds, respectively.
Chattanooga's Rodney Jones headlines the 197-weight class as the top-seeded wrestler with Campbell's Kober, last year's 184-pound champion, right behind as the second seed. Appalachian State's Demazio Samuel comes in as the third seed and VMI's Zach Brown enters as the fourth seed.
The final weight class is headlined by two of the top heavyweights in the country in Campbell's Jere Heino and Appalachian State's Miller, the reigning conference champion in the weight class. Heino, the 2017-18 heavyweight champion, took the top seed while Miller comes in as the second seed. Both wrestlers were included in the NCAA coaches' panel with Heino at No. 13 and Miller at No. 24. The Citadel's Michael McAleavey and VMI's Chris Beck enter as the third and fourth seeds, respectively.
Tickets for Sunday's action, which begins at 10 a.m., will be single-session with doors opening at 9 a.m. Prices are $15 for adults, $10 for youth (6-12). Students from Southern Conference schools, including wrestling associate member schools, can pick up a ticket free of charge simply by showing their school IDs.
125 (1 NCAA allocation)
1. Fabian Gutierrez, Chattanooga
2. Sean Carter, Appalachian State
3. Korbin Meink, Campbell
4. Cian Fischer, Davidson
5. Jacob Brasseur, Presbyterian
6. Jordie White, The Citadel
7. Will Edmiston, Gardner-Webb
8. John McGarry, VMI
133 (1 NCAA allocation)
1. Noah Gosner, Campbell
2. Trevon Majette, Gardner-Webb
3. Codi Russell, Appalachian State
4. Wade Cummings, Chattanooga
5. Kyle Gorant, Davidson
6. Cliff Conway, VMI
7. Nathan Orosco, The Citadel
8. Khalid Brinkley, Presbyterian
141 (1 NCAA allocation)
1. Josh Heil, Campbell
2. Bradley Irwin, Appalachian State
3. Mason Wallace, Chattanooga
4. Reid Stewart, Presbyterian
5. Jacob Dado, The Citadel
6. Brandon Bright, Gardner-Webb
7. Noah Roulo, VMI
8. David Loniewski, Davidson
149 (2 NCAA allocations)
1. Jonathan Millner, Appalachian State
2. Tanner Smith, Chattanooga
3. Jason Kraisser, Campbell
4. Selwyn Porter, The Citadel
5. Job Chishko, VMI
6. Will Baldwin, Davidson
7. Bryton Goering, Presbyterian
8. Anthony Schiess, Gardner-Webb
157 (1 NCAA allocation)
1. Matt Zovistoski, Appalachian State
2. Matthew Dallara, Campbell
3. Zachary Phillips, Presbyterian
4. Will Lawrence, VMI
5. Douglas Gudenburr, The Citadel
6. Hunter Costa, Davidson
7. Tyler Shilson, Chattanooga
8. Christian Trimble, Gardner-Webb
165 (1 NCAA allocation)
1. Quentin Perez, Campbell
2. RJ Mosely, Gardner-Webb
3. Will Formato, Appalachian State
4. Dazjon Casto, The Citadel
5. Drew Nicholson, Chattanooga
6. Noah Satterfield, Davidson
7. Jon Hoover, VMI
8. Parker Corwin, Presbyterian
174 (2 NCAA allocations)
1. Thomas Flitz, Appalachian State
2. Neal Richards, VMI
3. Austin Kraisser, Campbell
4. Hunter Fortner, Chattanooga
5. Evan Schenk, Gardner-Webb
6. Steven Newell, Davidson
7. Kyle Kretzer, The Citadel
184 (2 NCAA allocations)
1. Andrew Morgan, Campbell
2. Matthew Waddell, Chattanooga
3. Julian Gorring, Appalachian State
4. Austin Stith, Presbyterian
5. Samuel Mora, Gardner-Webb
6. Gavin Henry, Davidson
7. Max Gallahan, VMI
8. Cooper Youngblood, The Citadel
197 (1 NCAA allocation)
1. Rodney Jones, Chattanooga
2. Chris Kober, Campbell
3. Demazio Samuel, Appalachian State
4. Zach Brown, VMI
5. Martin Duane, The Citadel
6. Roderick Davis, Gardner-Webb
285 (2 NCAA allocations)
1. Jere Heino, Campbell
2. Cary Miller, Appalachian State
3. Michael McAleavey, The Citadel
4. Chris Beck, VMI
5. Grayson Walthall, Chattanooga
6. Mitchell Trigg, Davidson
7. Imani Heslop, Presbyterian
8. Gabriel Pickett, Gardner-Webb