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With the fall semester underway, App State Wrestling head coach JohnMark Bentley officially announced the Mountaineers’ newcomers for the 2022-23 season.
Last season, Bentley became a three-time national coach of the year finalist after leading the Mountaineers on an unbeaten run to a Southern Conference championship and a top-30 finish at the NCAA Championships. App State’s five NCAA qualifiers in 2022 included Jonathan Millner, who became a two-time All-American.
The 2022 newcomer class is made up of 14 high school standouts who combined for 21 individual state championships and 28 state finals appearances in their prep careers. Five members of the class are homegrown talents from North Carolina, while the national recruiting from Bentley, Ian Miller and Randall Diabe also brought in wrestlers from eight other states: Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and South Dakota.
FULL CLASS (BY WEIGHT CLASS)
Noah Luna — 125 pounds; Charlotte, N.C. (Providence HS)
Colby McBride — 125 pounds; Lithonia, Ga. (Woodward Academy)
Ethan Shell — 133 pounds; Cranberry, N.C. (Avery County HS)
Kai O’Dell — 141 pounds; Danbury, Conn. (Danbury HS)
Anthony Conetta — 149 pounds; Massapequa, N.Y. (Massapequa HS)
Nicholas Grizales — 149 pounds; Colorado Springs, Colo. (Cheyenne Mountain HS)
Kaden Keiser — 149 pounds; Winner, S.D. (Winner HS)
Drake Acklin — 165 pounds; Collinsville, Okla. (Collinsville HS)
Michael Quinones — 165 pounds; Winston-Salem, N.C. (East Forsyth HS)
Hunter Adams — 184 pounds; Gainesville, Ga. (North Hall HS)
Braden Welch — 184 pounds; Ashland, Ohio (Ashland HS)
Carson Floyd — 197 pounds; Mooresville, N.C. (Lake Norman HS)
Nick Woodruff — 197 pounds; Wyalusing, Pa. (Wyalusing Valley HS)
Levi Andrews — 285 pounds; Newland, N.C. (Avery County HS)
FULL BIOS (ALPHABETICAL ORDER)
Drake Acklin — 165 pounds
Collinsville, Okla. (Collinsville HS)
BIO: Two-time state champion and three-time state finalist in Oklahoma … 5-A state champ at 160 pounds as a senior (tech fall in final) and 145 pounds as a junior … Went 42-6 as a senior, 27-4 as a junior and 43-7 as a sophomore for a mark of 112-17 in his final three seasons … State runner-up at 138 pounds as a sophomore … National ranking of 17th.
Hunter Adams — 184 pounds
Gainesville, Ga. (North Hall HS)
BIO: Two-time state champion in Georgia … Won 3-A state title at 182 pounds as a senior (major decision in final) and junior … Went 43-2 as a senior … NHSCA All-American (fifth place) and a 2021 freestyle state finalist … Helped North Hall reach team state final in three of four years and win two state dual team titles.
Levi Andrews — 285 pounds
Newland, N.C. (Avery County HS)
BIO: Four-time state champion in North Carolina, winning at 220 pounds as a freshman and sophomore before claiming heavyweight titles as a junior and senior … Career record of 190-10 at nearby Avery County High School, including 51-1 as a senior … Two-time NHSCA All-American and a second-place finisher at the Grappler Fall Classic … Helped Avery County win a team state title in each of his last three years (three state tournaments, two dual team titles) … As a senior, team trailed 24-15 in 1-A dual team final before his first-minute pin began a run of five straight wins in a 39-30 team victory.
Anthony Conetta — 149 pounds
Massapequa, N.Y. (Massapequa HS)
BIO: New York state finalist as a senior went 164-13 in prep career … NHSCA placer (fifth) in 2022 … Wrestling at 145 pounds, Nassau County champ and New York state scholar-athlete (third straight year) … All-Nassau County honoree in 2021 and All-Nassau County placer (third) in 2020 … In 2019, Eastern States placer (third) and New York State placer (third) while helping his high school win a team state title … 2018 state qualifier.
Carson Floyd — 197 pounds
Mooresville, N.C. (Lake Norman HS)
BIO: 4-A state champion at heavyweight as a senior and two-time state finalist … Went 49-3 as a senior and 32-1 as a junior … Regional champion and state runner-up at 195 pounds as a junior after placing fourth at the state championships at 170 pounds as a sophomore, when he posted a 33-13 record … First place at the NC Freestyle State Championship in 2022.
Nicholas Grizales — 149 pounds
Colorado Springs, Colo. (Cheyenne Mountain HS)
BIO: 4-A state champion at 138 pounds as a senior and two-time state finalist … Went 47-4 as a senior and won all four state tournament matches by fall … State finalist as a junior at 126 pounds and finished season with a 21-2 record … Helped team to state runner-up finish as a senior and a dual team state championship as a junior … Went 29-11 as a sophomore and finished fourth at state championships at 120 pounds … State qualifier with a 30-20 record as a freshman.
Kaden Keiser — 149 pounds
Winner, S.D. (Winner HS)
BIO: Four-time state champion in South Dakota … Record of 187-3 from ninth grade through 12th grade, with a 286-22 mark counting seventh and eighth grade, making him the all-time wins leader in South Dakota … Folkstyle Nationals champion … Class B state champion at 145 pounds as a senior, when he capped a 54-0 season with four bonus-point victories at the state tournament … As a junior, also won a Class B state title at 145 pounds to wrap up a 40-0 season … Won a Class B state title at 126 pounds as a junior, when he went 47-2 … As a freshman, won a state title at 120 pounds to end a 46-1 season … Multi-sport standout was a two-time all-state football player (on a two-time state champion) and a two-time all-state golf qualifier.
Noah Luna — 125 pounds
Charlotte, N.C. (Providence HS)
BIO: 4-A state champion at 120 pounds as a senior … NHSCA All-American … Three-time state placer during his prep career in North Carolina, as he was a state runner-up as a junior … Undefeated senior season followed a 35-1 run through his junior season … Wrestled at 120 pounds in his final two seasons after competing at 113 as a freshman and sophomore.
Colby McBride — 125 pounds
Lithonia, Ga. (Woodward Academy)
BIO: Two-time state champion in Georgia … 5-A state champion at 113 pounds as a senior after winning the 106-pound title as a junior … Career record of 168-36 in high school … Went 48-4 as a senior and 28-2 as a junior for a combined mark of 76-6 during his two state title seasons … Went 50-12 while placing third at the state level at 106 pounds as a sophomore.
Kai O’Dell — 141 pounds
Danbury, Conn. (Danbury HS)
BIO: State champion at 138 pounds as a senior … Improved to 15-0 with two falls and a major decision to win the CIAC Divisional Class LL title … Finished with a State Open title, a Class LL title and an FCIAC title to earn all-state honors … Also earned an All-FCIAC selection and placed in the top three at New Englands … Placed fifth in 2020 at New Englands … State finalist at 113 pounds as a sophomore and Class LL champion that season en route to a 24-5 record.
Michael Quinones — 165 pounds
Winston-Salem, N.C. (East Forsyth HS)
BIO: Four-time state qualifier and three-time regional champion … Placed fifth at the 4-A state championships as a senior at 160 pounds to conclude a 41-2 season … Regional champion as a senior, sophomore and freshman (regional runner-up as a junior) … Went 24-4 as a junior … During sophomore year, went 36-5 as a 152-pounder … Won regional title as a freshman and finished that season 35-5.
Ethan Shell — 133 pounds
Cranberry, N.C. (Avery County HS)
BIO: Three-time state champion and four-time state finalist … Career record of 199-9 … 1-A state champion at 138 pounds as a senior, when he went 50-2 …. Helped Avery County win a team state title in each of his last three years (three state tournaments, two dual team titles) … State champ at 132 pounds as a junior and 120 pounds as a sophomore after being the state runner-up at 113 pounds as a freshman …. Was unbeaten as a junior, 58-3 as a sophomore and 52-4 as a freshman … Four-time regional champ.
Braden Welch — 184 pounds
Ashland, Ohio (Ashland HS)
BIO: Ohio state finalist as a senior, with a second-place finish at 175 pounds in the Division II tournament despite dealing with a significant injury suffered earlier in the postseason … Went 42-6 as a senior and was named the Times-Gazette Wrestler of the Year … Career record of 149-22 … Had 36 pins in his 42 wins as a senior … Three-time state qualifier went 43-4 as a junior … Seventh place Ironman finish and round of 12 in Fargo.
Nick Woodruff — 197 pounds
Wyalusing, Pa. (Wyalusing Valley HS)
BIO: Career record of 105-28 as a Class 2-A standout in Pennsylvania … Placed third at the state tournament at 215 pounds during a 40-2 season as a senior, as he won regional, district and sectional titles … Had 54 career pins among his 105 victories … Went 16-5 as a junior at 152 pounds, 25-10 as a sophomore and 24-11 as a freshman … Picked up career win No. 100 while winning the Northeast Regional title as a senior.