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Tommy Askey
Tommy Askey won by major decision at the 157 pound weight class.
photo courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics

Appalachian State Wrestling Dominates Chattanooga

Putting forth a complete effort in a battle of conference co-leaders, No. 20 App State Wrestling took eight of 10 matches in a 25-6 home victory against rival Chattanooga in Varsity Gym.

Three SoCon teams entered Sunday with 4-0 league records, and now there are two 5-0 teams: App State and Campbell. They meet on Sunday, Feb. 19, in Varsity Gym — a week after Chattanooga hosts the Camels.

Dual-opening wins from Jon Jon Millner (4-0 shutout at 149), Tommy Askey (bonus-point victory at 157) and Will Formato (6-0 shutout at 165) gave the Mountaineers (9-2, 5-0 SoCon) an early lead before the Mocs (7-9, 4-1) had ranked wrestlers win decisions at 174 and 184 pounds to trail just 10-6 at intermission.

App State won all five matches after the break, including a 5-2 decision over 13th-ranked Brayden Palmer from Ethan Oakley, who stepped into the starting role at 133 following Sean Carter’s season-ending injury in mid-January. He broke a 1-1 tie on a takedown with 18 seconds left and responded to a late escape by registering one more takedown in the closing seconds to improve to 4-0 in SoCon duals.

The run of five straight wins began with a 3-0 decision at 197 from true freshman Carson Floyd, who had beaten senior Jake Boyd in overtime at the Southern Scuffle, and a 6-0 shutout in the heavyweight division from Jacob Sartorio, whose second career dual win occurred against 2021 NCAA qualifier Logan Andrew. Caleb Smith won an 8-5 decision at 125 against Logan Ashton, who transferred to UTC after qualifying for the 2022 NCAAs at Stanford, and Heath Gonyer followed Oakley’s win with a 4-0 shutout of 2021 All-SoCon performer Franco Valdes.

The Mountaineers beat the Mocs for the eighth consecutive season. Of the previous eight meetings, seven had been decided by seven team points or less, with a combined margin of 28 points in those seven matches.

App State totaled five individual shutouts against a strong UTC squad that, with three Power Five transfers in its lineup, has come together since dealing with several injuries early in the season.

The 2022-23 season is presented by Hungry Howie’s and Penn Station. App State has posted its highest-ever ranking in the NWCA Coaches Poll this season — it was as high as No. 16 in InterMat’s rankings, back in 2016-17.

Chattanooga’s two wins came from 11th-ranked Ohio State transfer Rocky Jordan, who erased a 5-0 deficit in an 11-5 decision against Will Miller, and 28th-ranked Matthew Waddell, who won a 5-2 decision against Luke Uliano.

It was the annual Old Timers Match to welcome back App State Wrestling alums, as well as Heroes Day in Varsity Gym.

Chattanooga elected a coin flip to decide which school picked the order of wrestling, and the Mocs chose 149 pounds after it won the flip.

Noah Castillo was the SoCon Freshman of the Year last year as the third-place finisher in a weight class with two top-10 wrestlers, including Millner, who rode out the second period with no scores on either side. A reversal in the first 10 seconds of the third period propelled him to a 4-0 win.

Askey turned a 6-2 lead entering the third period against Lincoln Heck into a 13-3 major decision, and Formato led 4-0 by the end of the first period against Weston Wichman thanks to a takedown and two near-fall points.

Floyd took control of his match against Boyd by taking a 2-0 lead on a reversal early in the second period and finishing the period on top. Sartorio had a takedown in each of the first two periods against Andrew, and Smith held just a 5-4 lead (with a riding time point secured) before he gained separation thanks to a takedown with 47 seconds remaining.

The final shutout occurred as Gonyer used a timely takedown with three seconds left in the first period to seize control.

#20 App State 25, Chattanooga 6
149: #9 Jon Jon Millner (APP) def. Noah Castillo (UTC), 4-0 dec.
157: #28 Tommy Askey (APP) def. Lincoln Heck (UTC), 13-3 maj. dec.
165: #26 Will Formato (APP) def. Weston Wichman (UTC), 6-0 dec.
174: #11 Rocky Jordan (UTC) def. #27 Will Miller (APP), 11-5 dec.
184: #26 Matthew Waddell (UTC) def. Luke Uliano (APP), 5-2 dec.
197: Carson Floyd (APP) def. Jake Boyd (UTC), 3-0 dec.
Hwt: Jacob Sartorio (APP) def. Logan Andrew (UTC), 6-0 dec.
125: #11 Caleb Smith (APP) def. Logan Ashton (UTC), 8-5 dec.
133: Ethan Oakley (APP) def. #13 Brayden Palmer (UTC), 5-2 dec.
141: Heath Gonyer (APP) def. Franco Valdes (UTC), 4-0 dec.