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Ethan Oakley
Ethan Oakley picked up a pair of wins at the 133 pound weight class.
photo courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics

Appalachian State Wrestling Has Strong Showing at Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational

Ethan Oakley, Will Miller and Noah Luna all had ranked wins at the prestigious Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, with Oakley’s eighth-place finish highlighting App State’s appearance at the toughest non-NCAA Championships event on the 2023-24 calendar.

Oakley went 4-1 on the opening day at 133 pounds, closing Friday with a 9-7 decision against 12th-ranked Brendan Ferretti of Navy and a 16-5 major decision against two-time NCAA qualifier Reece Witcraft from Oklahoma State. Oakley trailed 7-6 before delivering a takedown with 23 seconds remaining against Ferretti.

Oakley lost to No. 15 Nic Bouzakis from Ohio State on Saturday, then dropped a 10-9 decision against Northern Iowa’s Julian Farber in the seventh-place match.

Miller reached the final 12 at 165 pounds with a 3-1 mark before dropping a 2-1 decision against 21st-ranked Binghamton standout Brevin Cassella, who earned the tiebreaking point with 1:01 in riding time. He earned an escape 59 seconds into the second period and stayed on top for the entire third period despite being penalized with a technical violation in the closing seconds of a 1-0 match.

One round earlier, Miller had a first-period takedown and second-period rideout in a 5-1 victory against 20th-ranked Connor Brady from Virginia Tech.

Oakley, Miller, Tommy Askey (157 pounds) and Luke Uliano (174 pounds) all started 2-1 in the tournament. Askey’s two losses were to No. 6 Will Lewan from Michigan (4-1) and No. 8 Ed Scott from NC State (9-2).

The most eye-opening result came from redshirt freshman Noah Luna, who faced three top-25 opponents at 125 and won a 14-2 major decision against 2023 All-American Eddie Ventresca from Virginia Tech. In between an opening-round loss to No. 2 Matt Ramos from Purdue and a 9-6 loss to No. 20 Spencer Moore from North Carolina, Luna had two first-period takedowns to take control against the 23rd-ranked Ventresca, including one with three seconds remaining in that period.

All nine App State wrestlers in Vegas won at least one match, as Ike Byers (141 pounds), Carson Floyd (197) and Jacob Sartorio (heavyweight) all went 1-2. Sartorio lost 4-2 against No. 30 David Szuba from Rider and 2-0 against No. 16 Lewis Fernandez from Cornell around an 8-1 victory in his second match. The two losses apiece for Byers and Floyd were all against ranked opponents.

The 2023-24 season is presented by Hungry Howies and Penn Station.

125: Noah Luna
#2 Matt Ramos, Purdue L, Fall 6:36
#23 Eddie Ventresca, Virginia Tech W, MD 14-2
#20 Spencer Moore, North Carolina L, Dec 9-6

133: Ethan Oakley
Brenden Barnes, Air Force W, Dec 8-2
#9 Domenic Zaccone, Campbell L, Dec 9-6
Cooper Birdwell, Wyoming W, Dec 4-1
#12 Brendan Ferretti, Navy W, Dec 9-7
Reece Witcraft, Oklahoma State W, MD 16-5
#15 Nic Bouzakis, Ohio State L, Fall 1:26
Julian Farber, Northern Iowa L, Dec 10-9

141: Ike Byers
#5 Jesse Mendez, Ohio State L, TF 19-4
Alex Turley, Hofstra W, MD 15-6
#32 McKenzie Bell, Rider L, Dec 7-3

157: Tommy Askey
Carter Baer, Binghamton W, MD 12-4
#6 Will Lewan, Michigan L, Dec 4-1
Joseph Cangro, Harvard W, TF 19-4
#8 Ed Scott, NC State L, Dec 9-2

165: Will Miller
Joseph McGinty, Hofstra W, Fall 2:44
#2 David Carr, Iowa State L, TF 20-3
Chance McLane, Arizona State W, Dec 12-7
#20 Connor Brady, Virginia Tech W, Dec 5-1
#21 Brevin Cassella, Binghamton L, Dec 2-1

174: Luke Uliano
Benny Baker, Cornell W, Dec 10-5
Cade Devos, South Dakota State L, MD 9-0
Mark Takara, Utah Valley W, TF 18-1
Riley Davis, Wyoming L, Dec 4-1

197: Carson Floyd
#27 Justin Rademacher, Oregon State L, Dec 8-6
Wesley Wilson, Cal Poly W, Fall 4:03
#23 Wyatt Voelker, Northern Iowa L, TF 21-6

Hwt: Jacob Sartorio
#30 David Szuba, Rider L, Dec 4-2
Tristan Ruhlman, Purdue W, Dec 8-1
#16 Lewis Fernandez, Cornell L, Dec 2-0