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Campbell takes fourth straight SoCon Championship, edging Appalachian State by 5.5 points

by Jason Williams, Campbell Athletics

2022 SoCon Champions, Campbell. Photo by Tim Cowie, courtesy of Campbell Athletics

Campbell Press Release

BOONE, N.C. – Campbell claimed its fourth consecutive Southern Conference wrestling tournament championship on Saturday at the Holmes Convocation Center.

All 10 Camels in the field wrestled for medals with nine making the podium, including individual championships from Shannon Hanna at 141 pounds, Caleb Hopkins at 184 and Taye Ghadiali at heavyweight.

Four more Camels took runner-up finishes, including Korbin Meink at 125 pounds, Josh Heil at 149, Austin Murphy at 174 and Chris Kober at 197.

Additionally, Domenic Zaccone registered a third place finish at 133 pounds, while 157-pounder JoJo Aragona also claimed a third place finish. At 165 pounds, Troy Nation placed fourth.

At least five Camels punched their tickets to the NCAA Championships on Saturday. In addition to Hanna, Hopkins and Ghadiali automatically qualifying with individual titles, Meink and Heil claimed NCAA allocations with true place wins during the day.

Campbell finished the team scoring with 100.5 points, finished ahead of Appalachian State’s 95 and Chattanooga’s 79. Gardner-Webb (51), The Citadel (38.5), Davidson (12.5), VMI (12) and Presbyterian (6.5) rounded out the standings.

The Camels have now won SoCon tournament champions in five of the last six years, including four straight.

App State’s Jonathan Millner (149) was named the tournament’s most outstanding wrestler, while Mountaineer head coach JohnMark Bentley earned coach of the year honors.

In addition to his second straight 184 pound SoCon title, Hopkins was the tournament’s Pinnacle Award winner, given to the student-athlete with the highest GPA on the championship-winning team.

Hanna opened the day with a 19-4 (5:00) tech fall over Presbyterian’s Khalid Brinkley and tallied consecutive overtime victories for his first SoCon title. The junior defeated Chattanooga’s Franco Valdes 3-1 in the semifinals and topped App State’s Heath Gonyer 10-4 in the finals.

Hopkins won his second straight SoCon championship with an 8-3 decision over Gardner-Webb’s Jhaquan Anderson. He opened the day with a 19-1 (6:16) tech fall over VMI’s Joel Diaz, and defeated App State’s Barrett Blakely 5-3 in the semifinals.

Ghadiali collected two first period pins on the way to his first SoCon championship, defeating PC’s Airin Spell (0:37) and Davidson’s Mitchell Trigg (1:16) to punch his ticket to his second consecutive finals appearance. The heavyweight then downed The Citadel’s Michael McAleavey 3-1 extra time.

Hopkins and Ghadiali will head to the NCAA Championships for the second straight year, while Hanna will make his first appearance in the tournament.

Heil will head to the NCAA Championships for a record fifth time, while Meink will make his third appearance.

The NCAA Championships will be held March 17-19 in Detroit, Mich.


At Boone, N.C.

125 pounds (2 qualifiers)

1st Place Match - Fabian Gutierrez (Chattanooga) dec. Korbin Meink (Campbell) (Dec 3-1)

3rd Place Match - Caleb Smith (Appalachian State). Dec. Benny Gomez (Presbyterian College) (Dec 8-1)

133 pounds (2 qualifiers)

1st Place Match - Codi Russell (Appalachian State) dec. Brayden Palmer (Chattanooga) (Dec 7-4)

3rd Place Match - Domenick Zaccone (Campbell). Maj. dec. Todd Carter (Gardner-Webb) (MD 11-3)

141 pounds (1 qualifier)

1st Place Match - Shannon Hanna (Campbell) dec. Heath Gonyer (Appalachian State) (TB-1 10-4)

3rd Place Match - Franco Valdes (Chattanooga) pin Trevon Majette (Gardner-Webb). (Fall 4:51)

149 pounds (2 qualifiers)

1st Place Match - Jonathan Millner (Appalachian State) over Joshua Heil (Campbell) (Dec 5-4)

3rd Place Match - Noah Castillo (Chattanooga) over Brandon Bright (Gardner-Webb) (Dec 4-1)

157 pounds (1 qualifier)

1st Place Match - Dazjon Casto (The Citadel) dec. Cody Bond (Appalachian State) 2-1, (Dec 5-4)

3rd Place Match - Joe Aragona (Campbell) 4-2, So. over Taylor Parks (Gardner-Webb) 2-2, RS Fr. (Dec 4-2)

165 pounds (2 qualifiers)

1st Place Match - Rodrick Mosley (Gardner-Webb) dec. Andrew Nicholson (Chattanooga). (Dec 4-3)

3rd Place Match - William Formato (Appalachian State) maj. dec. Troy Nation (Campbell) (MD 11-1)

174 pounds (1 qualifier)

1st Place Match - Thomas Flitz (Appalachian State) dec. Austin Murphy (Campbell) (TB-1 3-2)

3rd Place Match - Benjy Haubert (The Citadel) dec. Carial Tarter (Chattanooga) (Dec 4-2)

184 pounds (1 qualifier)

1st Place Match - Caleb Hopkins (Campbell) dec. Jhaquan Anderson (Gardner-Webb) (Dec 8-3)

3rd Place Match - Barrett Blakely (Appalachian State) dec. Thomas Sell (Chattanooga). (Dec 6-4)

197 pounds (1 qualifier)

1st Place Match - Matthew Waddell (Chattanooga) dec. Chris Kober (Campbell) (Dec 3-1)

3rd Place Match - Anthony Perrine (Gardner-Webb) dec. Tyler Mousaw (VMI) (Dec 5-1)

285 pounds (2 qualifiers)

1st Place Match - Taye Ghadiali (Campbell) dec. Michael McAleavey (The Citadel) (SV-1 3-1)

3rd Place Match - Michael Burchell (Appalachian State) maj. dec. Mitchell Trigg (Davidson) (MD 16-6)

Team Standings

1 Campbell 100.5

2 Appalachian State 95.0

3 Chattanooga 79.0

4 Gardner-Webb 51.0

5 The Citadel 38.5

6 Davidson 12.5

7 VMI 12.0

8 Presbyterian College 6.5