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Jacob Sartorio
Jacob Sartorio won the heavyweight title at the Appalachian Open.
photo courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics

Appalachian State Wrestling Picks Up a Championship at Appalachian Open

Tiebreaking takedowns in the final minute of the semifinal and championship matches produced a heavyweight title for Jacob Sartorio at the Appalachian Open on Saturday.

Sartorio recorded a takedown with 25 seconds left and finished on top to close a 4-2 semifinal decision against NC State’s Chase Horne, then won a 5-2 decision against North Carolina starter Brandon Whitman in the final.

Trailing 1-0 entering the third, Sartorio took the lead on a reversal early in the period and broke a 2-2 tie on a takedown with a minute left. Finishing on top, the riding time point gave him a 5-2 victory.

Sartorio and two unattached true freshmen (Ethan Shell at 133, Kaden Keiser at 149) made the finals in their weight classes.

Shell opened the tournament with a 12-7 win against North Carolina’s Jace Palmer, who won against Virginia in a dual start Friday night, and made the final with a second-period pin of North Carolina’s Joey Melendez, whose five dual starts this year include the UNC-App State dual from December. Another UNC wrestler, Spencer Moore, won by major decision in the 133 final.

Keiser started his day with a first-period pin, followed that with a 12-7 decision against VMI starter Noah Roulo and advanced to the final with an 8-2 decision against Chattanooga’s Matthew Williams. UNC’s Jayden Scott won by decision in the 149 final.

App State’s other placers Saturday were:
Third place: Noah Luna (125)
Fourth place: Triston Norris (heavyweight), Ike Byers (141)
Fifth place: Chad Bellis (125), Riley Edwards (141), Drake Acklin (157)
Sixth place: Braden Welch (174), Hunter Adams (184)

Norris reached the semifinal round of the heavyweight bracket with an 8-2 decision against Benjamin Stemmet, a starter for The Citadel.

The 2022-23 season is presented by Hungry Howie’s and Penn Station.

No. 19 App State resumes its dual schedule Monday night at 6 p.m. ­­with a SoCon dual at Gardner-Webb and hosts Chattanooga in a big conference matchup next Sunday at 3 p.m.