BOONE — Wrestling in the High Country continues to make great strides and has now reached the collegiate level with the Appalachian State Mountaineers winning its second straight Southern Conference Championship.
The Mountaineers are also currently ranked 17th in the nation and have been ranked for most of the season.
App State clinched its conference title and an unbeaten SoCon season with a dominating victory over VMI on Wednesday, 38-6.
Overall, the Mountaineers finished the regular season with a 13-2 record and a 7-0 record in the SoCon. This is the first unbeaten conference season for the Mountaineers since the 2011-12 season.
This year also marked the fewest losses for the program in 14 years.
App has four wrestlers ranked in the top 25 in their respective weight classes, led by heavyweight Denzel Dejournette who is ranked as the ninth best 285-pounder in the nation.
The Mountaineer wrestling squad has a deep connection in the High Country. Coach Bentley was a three-sport standout athlete at Avery County and finished his high school career with a perfect 144-0 record as a wrestler. Bentley was only the second wrestler in North Carolina history to be a four-time state champion.
Before becoming an assistant coach and the eventual head coach at App State, Bentley was the wrestling head coach at Watauga High School.
Ashe County High School has been represented on the Mountaineer team for the last few seasons with former wrestler Aaron Scott holding a roster spot until his graduation, as well as former wrestler Michael Elliott who is currently a sophomore in the 157-pound weight class.
Individual match results
125: #20 Vito Pasone (APP) def. Dalton Henderson (VMI), 9-7 dec.
133: #24 Colby Smith (APP) pinned Michael Hulcher (VMI), 4:38
141: Irvin Enriquez (APP) pinned John Reed (VMI), 2:22
149: #18 Matt Zovistoski (APP) pinned Alex Rinehart (VMI), 4:00
157: Neal Richards (VMI) def. Gavin Londoff (APP), 4-2 dec./S-V
165: Forrest Przybysz (APP) def. Cade Kiely (VMI), 11-3 maj. dec.
174: Shabaka Johns (VMI) def. Elliott Raiford (APP), 9-7 dec.
184: David Peters-Logue (APP) def. Chris Beck (VMI), 14-4 maj. dec.
197: Randall Diabe (APP) def. Taylor Thomas (VMI), 11-4 dec.
285: #9 Denzel Dejournette (APP) pinned Thomas Shea-Roop (VMI), 2:59
Nathan Ham can be reached at 336-489-3062.