Sunday, September 25, 2022

2023 NCAA DI The Season: Appalachian State

 *NOTE* - I want to make it clear what this is and what this is not.  What this is NOT is an overview of the entire team. What this is, is a who’s who preview of THIS season 2022-2023. Meaning that I am going to talk about the starters who I feel will have an impact THIS year. Those who will win big matches in duals. Those who will earn placings in major tournaments like CKLV, RENO, MIDLANDS, MATMEN INVITE, SOUTHERN SCUFFLE, CONFERENCES & NCAA’s.  In some cases a weight class will have multiple talented wrestlers. I will note that & I will also be making posts later on about the best wrestle-offs to look forward to this season.  Then after that is determined I will make post later into the season of who our best backups are in the nation.

This post will NOT include redshirts. Those who are redshirting this season will be included in a separate post entitled “22’-23’ Best Redshirts.”  

While the competition will always be tough, I can honestly see the Mountaineers completely owning the SOCON in the lower & middle weights this season. If Appalachian State were to take home individual SOCON titles from 125 through 165 it would not surprise me at all.  While the upper-weights aren't near as tough, Appalachian State has it going on in the first six weight classes.   Gone is three time SOCON champion Codi Russell who also had Southern Scuffle finishes of 5th & 6th.  Thomas Flitz, a three time SOCON finalist who finally won a title last season.  I also am not sure of the whereabouts of 2021 SOCON champion Anthony Brito. 

125 lbs
Caleb Smith 

I would definitely say that Caleb Smith is the front-runner for a SOCON title this season at 125 lbs. 24-8 on the season, the sophomore has thus far taken two 5th place finishes at the Southern Scuffle. 

133 lbs
Sean Carter 

It'll be a battle to over come Chattanooga's Brayden Palmer, who owns a 3-1 tiebreaker win over him, but 2021 SOCON champion Sean Carter is definitely in the discussion for title #2 this season.  15-7 on the year last year, he was 7th at the Southern Scuffle in 2020. 

141 lbs
Heath Gonyer

25-9 on the season, a match away from placing at the Southern Scuffle, Heath Gonyer was a SOCON runner-up.  In battles thus far with Campbell's Shannon Hanna, he's lost tight sudden victory & tiebreaker decisions. It'll be fun to see how the war between them unfolds this season. 

149 lbs
Jonathan Millner 

What a list of opportunities that lie ahead for senior Jonathan Millner.  Thus far 8th & 6th in the nation, he has the opportunity to become the Mountaineers first ever three time NCAA DI All American. Thus far a three time SOCON champion, he has the opportunity to become the Mountaineers first ever four time SOCON champion.  92 varsity wins thus far, an opportunity to surpass 100.  With all of these accomplishments thus far, he was also 4th in the Southern Scuffle in 2020. 

157 lbs
Cody Bond 

19-8 on the season last year, Cody Bond a SOCON champion in 2021, was a SOCON runner-up last year. I'd look for him to add title #2 this season. 

165 lbs
Will Formato 

Two time NCAA qualifier Will Formato has thus far been 3rd the past two seasons in the SOCON championships. A record of 4-2 overall vs Gardner Webb's R.J. Mosley, I would think that will be our final this season, favoring Formato.  23-8 on the season he also had an impressive 4th place finish at the Southern Scuffle. 

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