ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The Southern Conference Wrestling Championship will take place Sunday at the Holmes Convention Center in Boone, North Carolina, with the SoCon title and 13 NCAA allocations on the line. Appalachian State will try and defend its 2018 title while Campbell and Chattanooga, along with the Mountaineers, enter as the three teams that tied for the regular-season championship.
Two of last year’s SoCon individual champions will be back in the field this year, defending titles in their respective weight classes. Chattanooga’s Alonzo Allen looks to defend his 125-pound title while Appalachian State’s Irvin Enriquez looks to defend his title in the 141-pound weight class. The SoCon was allocated 13 spots in the NCAA Championships, one for each weight class except for the 149, 174 and 197-pound weight classes which were awarded two each.
Neal Richards, the 2019 SoCon Wrestler of the Year, is aiming for his first title at 174-pounds. Ranked No. 16 in the latest NCAA coaches’ panel, Richards will have competition from Campbell’s Andrew Morgan, who is tied with Richards for the 16th rank in the latest NCAA coaches’ panel.
Appalachian State’s Irvin Enriquez looks to retain the crown at 141 pounds. He is 24-5 on the season, going 5-0 in the conference a 14-1 in duals. Enriquez will have to fend off Chattanooga’s Chris Debien and Campbell’s Nathan Boston who were awarded the No. 1 and 2 seeds, respectively. Debien was named to the all-conference team and is ranked No. 31 overall in the coaches’ panel.
The Mountaineers also have the favorite at 197 pounds in Randall Diabe after going 24-5 overall and a perfect 5-0 in conference duals. He was named to this year’s all-conference team and has competition right behind him in The Citadel’s Sawyer Root. Root, named to the all-freshman team, was a perfect 6-0 in SoCon duals and 11-1 in season duals while recording one pin.
Chattanooga has representation in the 125 class as senior Alonzo Allen enters as the No. 1 seed. Seeded second in the 125-pound class is 2018 freshman of the year, Korbin Meink. Allen is currently ranked No. 31 in the latest NCAA coaches’ panel while Meink boasts a 12-10 overall and a 5-1 conference record.
Campbell’s Noah Gosner is slated as the No. 1 seed at 133 pounds while teammate Joshua Heil is No. 1 at 149 pounds. Both Gosner and Heil were named to the all-conference team earlier this week. Gosner is ranked No. 17 by the NCAA coaches’ panel and is joined in the 149 class by 2019 freshman of the year, Chattanooga’s Tanner Smith. Smith went 9-6 overall, 4-2 in the conference and 6-4 in duals.
Last year’s 157-pound individual champion, Gardner-Webb’s Tyler Marinelli, is the No. 1 seed in the 165 class this year. Marinelli was selected to the all-conference team and is currently ranked No. 24 by the NCAA coaches’ panel. The redshirt senior is 16-2 on the season overall and 6-0 in conference matchups.
Rounding out this year’s number one seeds is Campbell’s Benjamin Barton (157) and Appalachian State’s Alan Clothier (184) and Cary Miller (285).
Tickets for Sunday’s action, which begins at 10 a.m., will be single-session. Doors open at 9 a.m.
Prices are $15 for adults, $10 for youth (6-12) and $8 each for groups of 10 or more. Students from Southern Conference schools, including wrestling associate member schools, can pick up a ticket free of charge simply by showing their school IDs.
As part of its partnership with Headlock on Hunger, the SoCon will offer $3 off the ticket price with the donation of a food item at the door.
2019 Southern Conference Wrestling Championship Schedule
9 a.m. – Doors open
10 a.m. – First-round matches
12 p.m. – Semifinals
2 p.m. – Consolation quarterfinals (consolation semifinals immediately after)
5:30 p.m. – Consolation finals
7 p.m. – Finals, true-place matches and award presentation