Three straight wins left App State needing just one more to defeat 18th-ranked North Carolina on the road Sunday, but the Tar Heels won the final match and claimed a 19-13 victory against the Mountaineers in Carmichael Arena.
Opening its dual meet schedule with five first-time starters, App State trailed 15-13 entering the final match at 141 pounds. Jonathan Millner's 17-5 major decision at 149 pounds to open the dual accounted for the only bonus point in the first nine matches, and the Mountaineers cut into a 15-4 deficit thanks to consecutive three-point decisions from Cary Miller (4-0 win in the heavyweight division), true freshman Sean Carter (9-3 win at 125 pounds) and Codi Russell (9-7 decision at 133 pounds).
Wrestling with high energy and aggressiveness, Russell overcame an early 4-1 deficit and recorded a tiebreaking takedown with 11 seconds left against Jaime Hernandez. That set the stage for a big finale at 141 pounds, and Zach Sherman won a major decision against Bradley Irwin as the Tar Heels improved to 3-1.
App State came up just short in several matches, as Paul Carson went to a Sudden Victory overtime against Brandon Whitman at 197 pounds and Matt Zovistoski dropped a 3-2 decision against A.C. Headlee in a 157-pound matchup of wrestlers with top 25 rankings and NCAA Championship experience.
Clay Lautt pulled out an 8-6 decision against Thomas Flitz at 174 pounds, and Joey Mazzara posted a tiebreaking takedown in the final minute of his 3-2 decision against true freshman Julian Gorring at 184 pounds. Redshirt freshman Will Formato dropped a 6-2 decision against UNC's Kennedy Monday, who is ranked in the top 20 at 165 pounds.
Millner improved to 13-1 this season with his high-scoring win against Michael Goldfeder, and Miller improved to 12-1 with his shutout of Andrew Gunning, who has been ranked this season. Miller rode out Gunning in the second period to gain a big advantage in riding time, got an escape early in the third period for a 1-0 lead and delivered a late takedown.
The 2019-20 wrestling season is presented by Hungry Howies. App State returns to action on Friday, Dec. 13, with its home opener against NC State.
No. 18 North Carolina 19, App State 13
149: Jonathan Millner (APP) def. Michael Goldfeder (UNC), 17-5 maj. dec.
157: A.C. Headlee (UNC) def. #13 Matt Zovistoski (APP), 3-2 dec.
165: #19 Kennedy Monday (UNC) def. Will Formato (APP), 6-2 dec.
174: Clay Lautt (UNC) def. Thomas Flitz (APP), 8-5 dec.
184: Joey Mazzara (UNC) def. Julian Gorring, 3-2 dec.
197: Brandon Whitman (UNC) def. Paul Carson (APP), 7-1 dec. (SV-1)
285: #17 Cary Miller (APP) def. Andrew Gunning (UNC), 4-0 dec.
125: Sean Carter (APP) def. Joey Melendez (UNC), 9-3 dec.
133: Codi Russell (APP) def. Jaime Hernandez (UNC), 9-7 dec.
141: Zach Sherman (UNC) def. Bradley Irwin (APP), 14-4 maj. dec.