BOONE, N.C. – Gardner-Webb rattled off wins in five consecutive weights Tuesday night to take a 17-13 lead, but 18th-ranked Appalachian State rallied with back-to-back decisions to take a 19-17 team win in a key Southern Conference matchup.
The Runnin' Bulldogs (5-4, 2-2 SoCon) fell behind 13-0 after the first three individual bouts, with a pin by Appalachian State's Vito Pasone – ranked 19th nationally at 125 pounds – getting the Mountaineers (11-2, 5-0 SoCon) off to a fast start at home.
Colby Smith followed with a major decision at 133 pounds and Irvin Enriquez rallied to nip Ryan Hull, 11-10, at 141 pounds in a high-scoring battle. Enriquez won the bout on riding time.
The Runnin' Bulldogs came alive from there, with 149-pounder Chris Vassar working his way to a 10-2 major decision over 15th-ranked Matt Zovitoski with a third-period flurry. That major gave Gardner-Webb life, and Ryan Mosley followed with a 7-2 decision over Gavin Londoff at 157 pounds.
Gardner-Webb's strength came to bear in the next three matches, as Tyler Marinelli defeated former prep teammate Forrest Przbysz by a 4-3 decision at 165 pounds and Austin Trott continued to roll – winning his third SoCon bout in the last five days with a 9-3 decision over 18th-ranked Nick Kee at 174 pounds.
The win evened the team score at 13-13 with four matches left on the card.
The decision also moved Trott's record to 15-1 overall this season and was his 10th SoCon win in a row. The Kingsland, Ga., senior has won 15 of his last 16 SoCon regular season matches, dating back to the 2014-2015 campaign.
Veteran 184-pounder Hunter Gamble stepped onto the mat with a chance to give his squad the lead and delivered, forging a 9-1 major decision that put the Runnin' Bulldogs up 17-13 heading into the final two weights.
Appalachian State rebounded, however, getting a 4-0 decision from Randall Diabe at 197 pounds to pull within a point.
That left the final score up to a pair of 2016 NCAA qualifiers at heavyweight – Gardner-Webb veteran Boyce Cornwell and 13th-ranked Appalachian State standout Denzel Dejournette. The two titans battled to a scoreless tie after one period and Dejournette held a slight 1-0 lead going into the third after an escape.
Dejournette gave up a point to Cornwell in the third, but took down Cornwell for a 3-1 lead with less than a minute remaining – and held on for a 4-1 decision that pushed the final team score in the Mountaineers' favor.
Gardner-Webb continues its six-match road swing this weekend, traveling to Edwardsville, Ill., for a busy Saturday of action.
The Runnin' Bulldogs will take on a tough SIU Edwardsville squad in a SoCon matchup at 1:00 pm, then will wrestle 19th-ranked South Dakota State at 4:00 pm in a non-conference bout.
#18 APPALACHIAN STATE 19; GARDNER-WEBB 17
125: #19 Vito Pasone (APP) pinned Landon LoAlbo (GWU); (1:26) – 0-6
133: Colby Smith (APP) major dec. Philip Anderson (GWU); – 0-10
141: Irvin Enriquez (APP) dec. Ryan Hull (GWU); 11-10 – 0-13
149: Chris Vassar (GWU) major dec. #15 Matt Zovitoski (APP); 10-2 – 4-13
157: Ryan Mosley (GWU) dec. Gavin Londoff (APP); 7-2 – 7-13
165: Tyler Marinelli (GWU) dec. Forrest Przbysz (APP); 4-3 – 10-13
174: Austin Trott (GWU) dec. #18 Nick Kee (APP); 9-3 – 13-13
184: Hunter Gamble (GWU) major dec. David Peters-Logue (APP); 9-1 – 17-13
197: Randall Diabe (APP) dec. Payton Mills (GWU); 4-0 – 17-16
285: #13 Denzel Dejournette (APP) dec. Boyce Cornwell (GWU); 4-1 – 17-19
TEAM RECORDS: #18 Appalachian State (11-2, 5-0 SoCon); Gardner-Webb (5-4, 2-2 SoCon)