BOONE, N.C. - After being away from the dual schedule for over a month, Appalachian State University wrestling looks to add to its impressive 4-1 record with two duals against Southern Conference newcomer SIUE and Northern Illinois on Sunday, Jan. 6 at the Sam M. Vadalabene Center on the campus of SIUE. The Mountaineers (4-1, 1-0 SoCon) will meet the Cougars (3-6, 1-0 SoCon) at 1 p.m. and Northern Illinois (5-3, 0-1 MAC) at 3 p.m.
STRICKLAND SLOTTED SIXTH AT SOUTHERN SCUFFLE
After dropping two-straight bouts at the Tournament of Champions, redshirt freshman Zack Strickland started 2013 strongly at the Southern Scuffle on Wednesday with a five-win performance and a sixth place finish at 165 pounds. Strickland posted two victories over seeded opponents, highlighted by a 3-1 sudden victory over fifth-seeded Cody Yohn of Minnesota.
With his performance, Strickland raised his career win total to 32, the second-most on the active roster. The Muncy, Pa. native is 15-9 on the season and is one of two Mountaineers who are 5-0 in duals this year.
Strickland leads an App State lineup that is youthful, as senior Brett Boston (133 pounds) leads the team with the most career victories (47). Boston tallied one win at the Southern Scuffle, as he continues to bounce back from an injury he suffered earlier this season.
Junior Chris Johnson (141) and redshirt sophomores Dominic Parisi (125) and Paul Weiss (197) all eclipsed the 30-win mark for their careers in the last three weeks, and combine for 11 duals victories on the year.
Sophomores Colin Hedash (174) and Jesse Johnson (184) were unable to posts victories on the opening day of the Southern Scuffle, but Johnson turned in a sixth place finish at the Tournament of Champions on Dec. 16. The tandem has combined for a 7-3 record in duals this season.
Appalachian meets SIUE and Northern Illinois for the times in the program's history on Sunday, as the Cougars became the eighth member of the Southern Conference before the season. Last year, the Mountaineers went 2-0 when facing a new member to the conference, as Gardner-Webb and Campbell joined the SoCon as associate members.
The Apps are looking to improve a 2-24 all-time record against Mid-American Conference opponents with their last MAC victory coming against Eastern Michigan during the 2007-08 season. NIU is the only MAC institution that has never wrestled against Appalachian State.
SCOUTING THE COUGARS
The Cougars open their home schedule against the Mountaineers after being away from Edwardsville for the entire 2012 slate. SIUE closed the year at the Purdue Duals, splitting its matches, falling to Purdue (34-9) and capturing a win over Iowa Western (27-15).
In early December, the Cougars captured its first SoCon victory in the program's history, defeating Gardner-Webb, 24-21, at the Indiana Duals for its only Division I win of the season.
Redshirt sophomore Patrick Meyers (125/133) leads SIUE in victories on the season, posting an 11-2 record with two pins. Meyes picked up a key decision against GWU's Robbie Golde to propel the Cougars to the conference win. For his efforts after the Indiana Duals, Meyers was named SIUE's first SoCon Wrestler of the Week.
SCOUTING THE HUSKIES
Northern Illinois enters the weekend on a three-match losing streak, including their lone conference loss of the season to Kent State (29-9). NIU's five victories are highlighted by home victories at the Huskie Duals over South Dakota State (26-12) and Indiana (19-13).
Most recently, the Huskies placed 32nd at the Midlands Championships, finishing with eight points. Sophomore Derek Elmore (125) and freshman Andrew Morse (157) led the team with two victories apiece. Morse had NIU's highlight of the tournament, earning a pin over Clarion's Trey Hicks in just 55 seconds.
Appalachian returns home on Tuesday, Jan. 15 when the Apps host SoCon foe, Campbell. The dual with the Camels is set for 6:30 p.m. at Varsity Gym.