Thomas Flitz jumped to his feet, flexed his muscles and let out a scream toward his team’s bench.
With four close, dramatic wins, including back-to-back victories against top-10 opponents from NC State, App State hung plenty tough before the fourth-ranked Wolfpack gained late separation in a 24-12 home win against the Mountaineers.
Victories from Jonathan Millner (149 pounds), Will Formato (165), Flitz (174) and Julian Gorring (184) cut the deficit to 14-12 with two matches remaining as App State (0-1) made its 2020-21 dual debut against an NC State team that improved to 2-0 this season and survived a scare in increasing its overall winning streak to 19 matches.
Formato started a string of three straight App State wins with a 4-0 shutout of seventh-ranked Thomas Bullard, and the 17th-ranked Flitz used a takedown in the first 30 seconds of the Sudden Victory period to claim a 6-4 decision against 10th-ranked Daniel Bullard.
Erasing a 1-0 deficit with a takedown late in the second period, Gorring followed with a 3-1 decision against Jacob Ferreira, and Millner produced the Mountaineers’ first win of the night by overcoming a 3-1 deficit in the third period of a 5-3 decision against freshman Ed Scott, a top-50 overall recruit.
Down two points but possessing a 1:07 advantage in riding time, Millner began the third from the neutral position rather than on bottom, sacrificing a potential escape but maintaining his hold on a possible bonus point. He secured a takedown near the edge of the mat less than 30 seconds into the third period, increased his riding time to 1:15 and, after an injury timeout for Scott, Millner chose to move to the down position with the idea of executing an escape in less than 15 seconds. He succeeded seven seconds later and won his first match of the season — he didn’t participate in the Black and Gold Intrasquad or the App State Individual Quad.
At 165, Formato took a lead on a takedown with 1:24 left in the first period and, without giving up an escape, received two more points on a near fall in the last 20 seconds of the period. Formato had a riding time advantage of 1:24 by the end of the period and picked the neutral position to start the second period on his feet. Still down 4-0 to begin the third, Bullard chose top with hopes of making a turn for near fall points, but Formato stayed out of trouble despite failing to produce an escape.
Formato is 3-1 this season with two wins against 2020 NCAA quaifiers.
Flitz and Daniel Bullard engaged in three closes matches a season ago, with Flitz winning the first one, and they each had a takedown during a first period that ended 3-all. Each wrestler had an escape over the final two periods, and Flitz got in on a single leg 13 seconds into the first OT period before securing the celebration-worthy takedown 12 seconds later.
NC State clinched the team victory with Nick Reenan’s win by fall against Mason Fiscella at 197 and 10th-ranked Deonte Wilson’s major decision against Tim Warren. Fiscella was making his first career dual start at 197 pounds after wrestling at 184 last year, and Warren made his first dual start of any kind.
The Wolfpack won four of the first five matches, the closest being 16th-ranked Jarrett Trombley’s 4-2 decision against Sean Carter in his first dual at 133 pounds.
Codi Russell lost by decision in his first dual start at 125 pounds, in a match against seventh-ranked Jakob Camacho, and 10th-ranked Tariq Wilson won by a major decision at 141 pounds in Anthony Brito’s first dual start for the Mountaineers. Cody Bond was also making the first dual start of his career, and he dropped a 14-5 major decision against second-ranked Hayden Hidlay, a three-time All-American, at 157 pounds.
No. 4 NC State 24, App State 12
125: #7 Jakob Camacho (NCST) def. Codi Russell (APP), 11-4 dec.
133: #16 Jarrett Trombley (NCST) def. Sean Carter (APP), 4-2 dec.
141: #10 Tariq Wilson (NCST) def. Anthony Brito (APP), 14-1 maj. dec.
149: #10 Jonathan Millner (APP) def. Ed Scott (NCST), 5-3 dec.
157: #2 Hayden Hidlay (NCST) def. Cody Bond (APP), 14-5 maj. dec.
165: Will Formato (APP) def. #7 Thomas Bullard (NCST), 4-0 dec.
174: #17 Thomas Flitz (APP) def. #10 Daniel Bullard (NCST), 6-4 dec. (SV-1)
184: Julian Gorring (APP) def. Jacob Ferreira (NCST), 3-1 dec.
197: Nick Reenan (NCST) def. Mason Fiscella (APP), fall, 2:16
285: #18 Deonte Wilson (NCST) def. Tim Warren (APP), 11-2 maj. dec.