The App State women's basketball team defeated the Sun Belt's No. 3 team, James Madison,…
Highlighted by Cody Bond’s run to the 149-pound final, which included a semifinal pin of a top-10 opponent, App State had seven wrestlers reach the podium as top-eight placers at the Southern Scuffle, presented by Compound Sportswear.
Bond advanced to the championship match with a 3-0 start to the event, including an overtime win and a second-period pin of ninth-ranked Jadan Abas from Stanford. Chad Bellis’ quarterfinal win against 15th-ranked Brayden Palmer from Chattanooga served as another highlight.
Abas, a 2021 All-American and three-time NCAA qualifier, led 6-2 after one period before Bond threatened to ride out the entire second period of their semifinal match. After a restart with 15 seconds left, Bond executed a “suck-back” move from on top to pin Abas with three seconds left in the period and exit the mat with a stunning development that elicited high-fives from pumped-up head coach JohnMark Bentley and assistant Randall Diabe.
In the 149 final against 25th-ranked Graham Rooks from Indiana, matching escapes led to a 1-1 score after three periods — a potential takedown for Rooks at the end of regulation was not awarded following a lengthy review. Rook did produce a takedown early in the Sudden Victory period to win 4-1 against Bond, whose other victories were an 8-5 overtime decision against Brock Rogers of CSU Bakersfield (decided by a Sudden Victory takedown) and a 3-0 quarterfinal decision against Benji Alanis of Northern Colorado (with help from a reversal early in the third period).
The next-highest finishes for App State were fourth-place showings at 141 from Riley Edwards and at 125 from Bellis, who jumped out to a 7-0 lead (with a first-period takedown, then four near fall points early in the second period) and led 11-2 thanks to a takedown in the final seconds of his quarterfinal victory against Palmer. Edwards, who was 3-2 for the season entering the new year, produced four wins in Chattanooga after reaching the semifinal round with his 3-0 run Monday.
App State’s other placers were Luke Uliano (fifth place at 174 pounds), Jeremiah Price (sixth at 149 pounds), Jacob Sartorio (sixth place at heavyweight) and Drake Acklin (eighth place at 165 pounds). Uliano and Acklin won four matches apiece in the event, while Sartorio and Price were victorious three times apiece
The Mountaineers had 17 total entries, including six of their 10 dual starters, and totaled 84 team points as the top three spots in the team standings belonged to Stanford, Indiana and Oklahoma.
Ranked No. 24 in the national dual team rankings, App State returns to action Monday at Duke.