The No. 22 North Carolina wrestling team lost, 18-16, to No. 21 Appalachian State in a hard-fought dual meet in Boone.
The Tar Heels (1-1) fell to the Mountaineers (3-0) in a back-and-forth battle that wasn’t decided until the final match.
Sophomore James Szymanski started the afternoon off strong for UNC, winning 8-4 and giving his team the 3-0 lead. Redshirt senior Joey Moon took the mat with the Tar Heels clinging to a 7-6 lead near the midpoint of the dual. Despite a strong start to the season, Moon lost 5-2, surrendering the lead.
The Mountaineers led 12-7 before UNC’s Ethan Ramos tallied a pivotal win for himself and his team. Ramos dominated his opponent on his way to a tech fall, which tied the match at 12-12.
The Tar Heels would ultimately fall 18-16, losing a 16-15 lead in the final bout.
When was it decided?
The dual came down to the final match with UNC holding on to a 16-15 lead. The heavyweights took the mat, as Cory Daniel faced off against App State’s Denzel Dejournette, the No. 9 heavyweight in the country.
Daniel trailed 4-2 after the first period and was unable to gain control of the match, falling 8-2 to Dejournette. The win gave the Mountaineers the 18-16 victory, handing the Tar Heels their first dual loss of the season.
Who stood out?
Ramos scored a big win in his bout against Marcus Johnson. The Tar Heels trailed 12-7 entering his match, but Ramos would quickly erase the deficit.
Ranked No. 8 at 174 pounds, Ramos stormed out to a 7-2 lead against Johnson and continued to push. The redshirt junior scored a technical fall for five points and tied the dual at 12-12, putting UNC in a position for a shot at a win.
Joey Ward continued his hot start for UNC, earning a major decision with a 12-3 win against App State’s Irvin Enriquez. Ranked No. 9 nationally at 141 pounds, Ward has shown he’s deserving of that ranking.
The redshirt senior has carried his momentum from a 3-0 day at the Journeymen Collegiate over to duals, winning against Old Dominion and App State.
Daniel Chaid scored a bonus-point win for the Tar Heels in his match against Randall Diabe. With his team trailing 15-12 Chaid pushed the action, looking to tie the dual or potentially take the lead. In the end, Chaid won by major decision, notching four points and putting UNC ahead 16-15 with one match remaining.
Why does it matter?
The Tar Heels fall to 1-1 in dual meets with the loss to the Mountaineers. With the season just getting underway, UNC has already faced stiff competition in dual matches as well as tournaments.
Although they didn’t come away with the win, the Tar Heels showed they could be competitive against top-25 competition. With matches against top-10 Virginia Tech and top-20 foes N.C. State and Arizona State looming, UNC can benefit from being tested early, even if the matches don’t end in team victories.
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels have a break until Saturday, Dec. 10, when they host Nebraska at 1 p.m.
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