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Appalachian State Wrestlers Compete At U23 World Team Trials

Appalachian State Wrestlers Compete at U23 World Team Trials

Representing Boone RTC, wrestlers from App State had strong freestyle showings at the U23 World Team Trials, highlighted by a final appearance by Jonathan Millner at 70 kg and a fifth-place finish by Caleb Smith at 57 kg.

With folkstyle wrestling used during the NCAA season, freestyle wrestling puts more emphasis on exposure points, and 11 Mountaineers advanced to the second day of the U23 World Team Trials. That helped Boone RTC record a top-10 point total with nearly 150 clubs/programs represented.

A two-time folkstyle All-American who is relatively inexperienced in freestyle wrestling, Millner still went 4-0 by a combined score of 47-4 before building a 9-0 lead in a 10-6 semifinal win against Drew Roberts (Minnesota).

In a best two-of-three finals matchup with Northwestern’s Yahya Thomas, who had previously made a Junior Freestyle World Team as a team trials champion, Thomas shut out Millner twice to qualify to represent the United States at the 2022 UWW World Championships in Serbia.

Smith went 5-2 in the tournament, suffering a quarterfinal loss before winning 7-3 and 9-3. A loss dropped him into the fifth-place match, but he won 9-0 against Dominic Chavez to secure fifth.

Heath Gonyer was one of the last 12 wrestlers left in the 65 kg bracket, and he finished the event with a 6-2 record. Will Formato also went 6-2 in the 74 kg bracket.

The other wrestlers to reach Day 2 from Boone RTC were Chad Bellis, Sean Carter (2-2 record), Ethan Oakley (4-2 record), Tommy Askey (2-2, with a 10-8 victory after trailing 8-0), Will Miller (3-2 record), Lucas Uliano (5-2 record) and Jacob Sartorio (4-2 record).

On Friday, Triston Norris won three matches and took eighth place in the 130 kg Greco-Roman bracket at the U23 World Team Trials.