The Appalachian State University wrestling team showed excitement for the
upcoming conference title through their stories of inspiration.
Angel Najar, starter 157 lbs, said, “Alumni, Denzel, he’s a big support. He’s always telling me to keep my head up, keep working hard. He’s a great support to have”. Denzel Dejournette, ASU alumni, went all-american last year and had been an inspirational peer to Najar.
Najar had been in a wrestling club since the 5th grade. He started officially wrestling for his school in the 8th grade. Najar, junior, planned to stay on the team until he graduates near year. He won first in a state championship as a senior at North Pitt High School. He currently majors in Recreational Management. He wanted to open his own sports complex center in the future
since there are not many which cater to wrestling. He also thought it would be “awesome” to compete in the olympics. He got a lot of support from back home. In his free time, Najar enjoyed action-based fighting videogames such as Super Smash Bros.
Forrest Przybysz, 174 lb senior, said in response to his future plans, “My fiance works near Atlanta so I’ll probably be moving back down there, looking for work somewhere near Atlanta. [...] My parents come to most of my matches and my fiance comes when she can”. His fiance and his family drove him to do his best each match.
Przybysz hac been wrestling for ASU for five years. He had traded weight classes over the
years going from 174 lbs as a freshmen to 165 lbs for two years then going to 174 lbs again as
a senior. Przybysz planned to move to Atlanta, Georgia after he graduates to be with his fiancee
and get married. They had been together six years and recently got engaged last august.
Przybysz wrestled at Jefferson High School in Georgia, where there was a rich tradition of
wrestling at that school. Jefferson was on their eighteenth straight state title. Przybysz is three
time SoCon runner-up at ASU and his highest place out of tournament was 4th in Summit
this year. As a team, ASU has won the conference title the last three years. ASU clinched dual title
recently and the traditional tournament title is March 3, 2018. Przybysz’s old high school
community will watch and cheer him on. Przybysz noted that he has played a few WWE, World
Wrestling Entertainment, and UFC, Ultimate Fighting Championship, video games. UFC has a
few similarities to wrestling but they are more like a cousin to the kind that ASU does according
to Przybysz. No videogames have been made for his type of wrestling but he hoped they get out
there and become popular. They really bring more people into the sport.
Codi Russell, 133 lb starter, said, “Coach Bentley is always saying that I’m flashy like I try to be
too cool sometimes”. He laughed and said, “But nah, I’m not flashy”. The way his coach can
joke with the team makes it feel like family and pushes him to impress them.
Russell started his first year both on the team and at ASU after transferring from North Carolina
State University. He had four-year eligibility on the team and planned to continue wrestling
afterward. Russell had been wrestling since he was three years old. Russell wanted to do UFC
after college, even though his mom “doesn’t like it that much”. He currently majors in
Cary Miller, 285 lb starter, said, “I’d like to first win a conference title and then I’d like to go be a national champion. [...] I would like to be in the olympics”. Continuing this sport and pushing himself to improve are what keep Miller inspired.
Miller was a sophomore with two more years to go. Miller had been wrestling since high school and he had played a lot of UFC videogames in the past.