ST. LOUIS — Senior heavyweight Denzel Dejournette (Winston-Salem, N.C./R.J. Reynolds) finished eighth at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championship on Saturday.
After becoming the first Appalachian wrestler since 2012 (Kyle Blevins, Austin Trotman) to be named an All-American and the sixth wrestler to earn the recognition all-time, Dejournette faced off against Michael Kroells again in a rematch from earlier in the tournament. The senior fell 17-2 in the final day to place eighth overall in the country.
The heavyweight began the tournament Thursday where he won a huge major decision match over Oregon State’s Cody Crawford, 11-1, to move to round two of the championship matches. Dejournette then went toe-to-toe for the first time against Minnesota’s Kroells where he fell in a heartbreaking double overtime 5-3 decision.
Dejournette then began Day Two with a 9-4 victory over Utah Valley’s Dustin Dennison, starting his second day of tournament action on the right foot. Dejournette then went on to edge out Oklahoma’s Ross Larson in a 2-0 decision to put him in a position to be an All-American. In the match to secure the recognition, Dejournette wasted no time, getting out to an early lead and holding it to win by major decision over Conan Jennings of Northwestern, 9-0.
Dejournette would drop one match on the day, getting pinned by Arizona State’s No. 7 seed Tanner Hall, 3:44. He now preps for a rematch with Day One’s double overtime match victor, Michael Kroells of Minnesota on Day Three.
Two-time SoCon Wrestler of the Year Dejournette entered the tournament with a 23-5 overall record to go along with an undefeated in SoCon action at 6-0. Dejournette had 10 bonus point victories and two seven-match win streaks on the season. The senior was also named SoCon Wrestler of the Year this year. In the conference tournament, he made quick work of his opponents, getting a 30-second pin to start things off before a 20-4 technical fall put him in the championship match where he won 7-4.
His 110 career victories rank him fourth all-time in Appalachian State wrestling history. He finishes a three-time SoCon All-Conference member, and a three-time heavyweight SoCon champion, helping lead the Mountaineers to a conference tournament championship in 2016 and a regular-season championship in 2017.