CHARLESTON, S.C. – Appalachian State claimed the 2018 Southern Conference Wrestling Championship on Saturday, picking up a pair of individual titles and three NCAA berths, claiming coach of the year and most outstanding wrestler honors in the process.
Appalachian State paced the field, scoring 110 points. Chattanooga, which came in second, totaled 88 points. The 2017 champion, Campbell, was third with 63 points, followed by SIUE (62), The Citadel (30.5), Gardner-Webb (21), VMI (15.5) and Davidson (13).
Appalachian State’s John Mark Bentley was named the league’s coach of the year after leading his program to its second title in three seasons and a perfect 7-0 conference dual mark.
The Mountaineers had two champions in Irvin Enriquez (141) and Forrest Przybysz (174). Enriquez entered Saturday as the No. 4 seed, defeating SIUE’s Dakota Leach by major decision in the first round 11-2. Enriquez edged out Chattanooga’s Mike Pongracz before winning by major decision in the final against Campbell’s Jonathan Ryan (14-3). Enriquez was named the 2018 Southern Conference Most Outstanding Wrestler for his performance on Saturday.
Przybysz, who was the No. 1 seed, breezed through the first two rounds with a major decision, 12-1, and a decision, 5-1, to advance to the finals. Przybysz met Campbell’s Andrew Morgan in the championship, edging him out 3-2 for the title.
Przybysz also earned the Pinnacle Award, given to the student-athlete with the highest GPA on the championship-winning team. A senior from Jefferson, Georgia, Przybysz is pursuing his MBA and holds a 3.87 grade point average.
Appalachian State’s Randall Diabe finished third overall at 197 pounds while Cary Miller (Hwt) was runner-up to Campbell’s Jere Heino. The Mountaineers’ De’Andre Swinson-Barr (125), Codi Russell (133), Gavin Londoff (149) and Alan Clothier (184) all placed second in their respective weight classes.
Chattanooga tied SIUE for the most individual champions with three. Alonzo Allen was victorious at 125 pounds, while Bryce Carr and Scottie Boykin claimed titles at 184 and 197 pounds, respectively. Allen was dominant all day, scoring a pin and a decision before defeating Swinson-Barr 9-5 in the finals. Carr scored a pin in the first round before a 4-1 decision in the semifinals. The 2017 champion, Carr defeated Clothier 8-2 to claim his second consecutive title at 184 pounds. Boykin began his afternoon with a pin fall, a major decision (12-4) and ended it with a 13-9 victory over The Citadel’s Sayer Root.
SIUE’s John Muldoon (133), Tyshawn Williams (149) and Nate Higgins (165) all won their respective divisions. Muldoon and Higgins entered the tournament as No. 1 seeds, while Williams was seeded third. Higgins picked up two pins en route to the title, but Muldoon and Williams’ finals went down to the wire, with each wrestler winning by a point.
Campbell’s sole winner was Heino in the heavyweight division. Heino, who fell just short in last year’s championship, scored a technical fall (18-2) over Davidson’s Will Cooley in the opening round before defeating The Citadel’s McAleavey 8-0 in the second round. Heino would pin Appalachian State’s Cary Miller at the 1:48 mark to claim the 2018 title.
Gardner-Webb’s Tyler Marinelli was crowned champion at 157 pounds, defeating VMI’s Steve Midkiff, Campbell’s Austin Kraisser and Appalachian State’s Angel Najar on his way to the championship.
In addition to the 10 individual champions, two other SoCon wrestlers earned automatic NCAA berths: Appalachian State’s Alan Clothier at 184 pounds and The Citadel’s Sayer Root at 197 pounds.
The NCAA Wrestling Selection show will air on NCAA.com at 6 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday, March 7. The 2018 NCAA Championships will take place March 15-17 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.
Appalachian State – 110.0
Chattanooga – 88.0
Campbell – 63.0
SIUE – 62.0
The Citadel – 30.5
Gardner-Webb – 21.0
VMI – 15.5
Davidson – 13.0
Individual champions/NCAA qualifiers
125 – Alonzo Allen, Chattanooga
133 – John Muldoon, SIUE
141 – Irvin Enriquez, Appalachian State
149 – Tyshawn Williams, SIUE
157 – Tyler Marinelli, Gardner-Webb
165 – Nate Higgins, SIUE
174 – Forrest Przybysz, Appalachian State
184 – Bryce Carr, Chattanooga
197 – Scottie Boykin, Chattanooga
HWT – Jere Heino, Campbell
Additional NCAA allocations
184 – Alan Clothier, Appalachian State
197 – Sawyer Root, The Citadel
Southern Conference Coach of the Year
John Mark Bentley, Appalachian State
Tournament Most Outstanding Wrestler
Irvin Enriquez, Appalachian State
Pinnacle Award (student-athlete with the highest GPA on the championship-winning team)
Forrest Przybysz, Appalachian State