Now that Appalachian State University wrestling has taken care of the regular season, it now looks quickly to participating in their second-straight NWCA Division I Dual Championship Series. The only difference is this time, a Big Ten program is coming to Boone. App State and Indiana face off on Sunday, Feb. 19 at 3 p.m. in Varsity Gym.
The 19th-ranked Mountaineers (13-2, 7-0 Southern Conference) will face a familiar opponent in Indiana, but will take on the Hoosiers in on their home mat, a place where they are undefeated this season against Power 5 opponents.
Appalachian will be riding a six-match win streak heading into Sunday afternoon’s tilt against the first Big Ten wrestling team to visit the High Country, coming off a 38-6 route of VMI that included four pins for App. The Hoosiers (9-8, 2-6 Big Ten) on the other hand, will be trying to snap a three-match losing streak (No. 13 Rutgers, No. 3 Iowa and No. 10 Illinois). In fact, Indiana is riding a 10-match losing streak to nationally ranked opponents dating back to last season. Its last victory over a ranked program was No. 20 Minnesota on Dec. 11, 2015 (19-18, by criteria).
Individually for the Black and Gold, senior 125-pounder Vito Pasone (Wilkes-Barre, Pa./E.L. Meyers) continues to be a rock. At 14-6 on the season and 10-2 in duals, he’s currently riding a four-match win streak and has won three of them by bonus points. Also steadfast for the Mountaineers is freshman 133-pound Colby Smith (Wentzville, Mo./Holt), who, entering today, has a 23-8 record and 12-3 duals mark. Smith has dropped just one duals match in his last 11, winning five of them by bonus points.
Sophomore Matt Zovistoski (Paramus, N.J./St. Joseph Regional) has continued to be strong in the back end of the schedule at 149 pounds. Having won four of his last five with three major decisions and a pin has given Zovistoski a 22-8 overall record (9-4 in duals). Junior 165-pound Forrest Przybysz (Jefferson, Ga./Jefferson) went 5-1 in his last six to help the Mountaineers be outright regular-season SoCon champions. Three bonus point wins move Przybysz to 20-10 overall with an impressive 11-4 record in duals.
Sophomore Randall Diabe (Greensboro, N.C./James B. Dudley) has been key at 197 pounds, winning three of his last four, including the dramatic 4-0 victory against Gardner-Webb that allowed the comeback effort to continue with their backs against the wall.
Senior heavyweight Denzel Dejournette (Winston-Salem, N.C./R.J. Reynolds) has only dropped one duals match this season, going an impressive 12-1 and 22-5 overall.
Individually for the Hoosiers, 125-pounder Elijah Oliver, 149-pound Chris Perez, 157-pound Devin Skatzka and No. 6 184-pound Nate Jackson have records over .500. Jackson, of course, leads the pack with a 28-2 record and five pins, currently riding an eight-match win streak.
Last year, the Black and Gold traveled to Bloomington for the battle with the Hoosiers and came away with a 21-13 victory. The Mountaineers won the final three matches of the day to get the come-from-behind win over the Hoosiers.
Fans can now purchase tickets online by going to appstatesports.com/tickets. Tickets cost $10 for adults and $5 for students and youth. A reminder to Appalachian State wrestling season ticket owners that this special event is not included your 2016-17 package. All tickets will be general admission.
The first 150 students who show their student ID at the door will be allowed to enter the event free of charge.
All matches a part of the 2017 NWCA Division I Dual Championship Series will be streamed live on TrackWrestling. The link for Appalachian State’s match against the Hoosiers will be accessible on the appstatesports.com’s MatchDay Central page when available.
Sunday’s projected starters for the two teams:
No. 19 Appalachian State (13-2, 7-0 SoCon)
125: #22 Vito Pasone (14-6 )
133: #20 Colby Smith (23-8)
141: Irvin Enriquez (13-15)
149: #18 Matt Zovistoski (22-8)
157: Gavin Londoff (10-15)
165: #29 Forrest Przybysz (20-10)
174: #27 Nick Kee (10-4)
184: David Peters-Logue (15-11)
197: Randall Diabe (14-14)
HWT: #9 Denzel Dejournette (22-5)
Indiana (9-8, 2-6 Big Ten)
125: Elijah Oliver (12-6)
-OR- Liam Cronin (7-13)
133: Garrett Pepple (10-10)
-OR- Brandon James (0-2)
141: Cole Weaver (9-15)
149: Chris Perez (9-8)
-OR- Luke Blanton (9-5)
157: Jake Danishek (18-11)
165: Bryce Martin (15-7)
174: Devin Skatzka (22-9)
-OR- Gabe Koontz (8-5)
184: #6 Nate Jackson (28-2)
197: Jake Hinz (12-13)
-OR- Norman Conley (8-9)
285: Fletcher Miller (8-17)