Five Mocs Set to Compete at NCAA Championships
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling team sends five individuals to the 2012 NCAA Championships in St. Louis, Mo., this weekend.  Action begins on Thursday, March 15 at the Scottrade Center and runs through Saturday, March 17. 

Seniors Dan Waddell (Chattanooga, Tenn.) and Brandon Wright (Germantown, Tenn.), junior Dean Pavlou (Cleveland, Tenn.) and freshman Nick Soto (Spring Hill, Fla.) all qualified for the national tournament by winning the Southern Conference Championship at their respective weights.  Sophomore Levi Clemons (Kissimmee, Fla.) was a late addition as an at-large bid at 174. 

Selected matches at the Championships will broadcast live on and ESPNU.  Below is the full schedule of sessions, along with the broadcast information:

Thursday, March 15
Session 1 - 1st Round - - Noon (E.D.T.)
Session 2 - 2nd Round and Consolation Rounds - - 7:30 p.m.

Friday, March 16
Session 3 - Quarterfinals and Consolation Rounds - ESPNU HD/ - 11:00 a.m.
Session 4 - Semifinals - ESPNU HD/ESPN3 - 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, March 17
Session 5 - Medal Rounds - ESPNU HD/ESPN3 - 11:00 a.m.
Session 6 - Finals - ESPN HD/ (simulcast) - 7:30 p.m.

ESPN3 provides an exclusive four-screen, four-mat viewing experience unique to wrestling on the multi-screen sports network. Beginning Thursday, March 15, at noon, ESPN3 viewers will have the opportunity to view hundreds of individual matches throughout the three day tournament, utilizing the resource. Shawn Kenney and three-time All-American Jim Gibbons voice sessions one and two on ESPN3.

Two of the four quarterfinals, as well as the semifinals, will be televised on ESPNU in a revised side-by-side format to maximize the HD viewing experience, allowing viewers to catch the action in two matches at the same time.

ESPNU will televise the Championship Medal Round and the individual weight class Championships on Saturday, March 17, with the Finals at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. During the Finals, two referees per match will wear a microphone, providing fans with even more access and understanding of the action.

In total, ESPN showcases more than 50 hours across multiple platforms to cover every angle of the 2012 NCAA Wrestling Championships.

On first reference, it is acceptable to refer to us as the "University of Tennessee at Chattanooga".  After that, we prefer to be called "Chattanooga" or "UTC". Our nickname is "Mocs".

Chattanooga has been represented at the NCAA Wrestling Championships every year since moving up to Division I in 1978.  The Mocs' best finish was a tie for 14th in 1983.  UTC has scored points every year except for 1997, 2003 and last season. UTC's second-best result came in 2007, coming in 21st.  They also tied for 21st in 2005. 

Individually, the Mocs have 12 All-American honors won by nine different wrestlers.  Cody Cleveland was the last to earn All-American status, finishing eighth at 141 in 2008.  The best individual finish was Charlie Heard's runner-up at 118 in 1983. 

Nick Soto (Spring Hill, Fla.) is making his first appearance at the NCAA Championships
after winning the Southern Conference title at 133.   The 2012 SoCon Freshman of the Year is 24-6 overall.         

Soto burst on the scene with a second-place finish at the Southern Scuffle in January.  He is 2-5 against the field with wins over Illinois' B.J. Futrell and Hofstra's Jamie Franco.

Soto will go against the fourth-seeded Futrell in the first round on Thursday.  Soto defeated Futrell with an 8-2 decision in the Mocs dual with the Illini on Dec. 18.  Futrell was an All-American last season with an eighth-place finish at the NCAAs.  He has a 24-5 overall record in 2011-12. 

Soto vs. the NCAA Field
Scott Festejo (ODU-11/4) - L-Fall, 5:36
No. 6 Devin Carter (Va. Tech) - L-Fall, 6:53 • Hokie Open - Nov. 6
No. 4 B.J. Futrell (Ill. 12/18) - W-D, 8-2
Jamie Franco (Hofstra) - W-D, 7-5 - Southern Scuffle - Jan. 1-2
Chris Dardanes (Minn.) - L-D, 2-7 - Southern Scuffle - Jan. 1-2
No. 17 Zach Zehner (Wyoming) - L-Fall, 5:34 - NWCA Duals - Feb. 12
Brian Owen (Boise State) - L-Fall, 1:26 - NWCA Duals - Feb. 12

Dean Pavlou (Cleveland, Tenn.) spent most of the season as the backup to senior Kelly Felix.  He finally beat Felix out the week before the Southern Conference Championships.  Pavlou capitalized on his opportunity, winning his second SoCon title at 149. 

Pavlou is 19-8 overall and 17-8 at 149.  He had a sixth-place finish at the Southern Scuffle and a third-place showing at the Appalachian Open. 

This is Pavlou's second appearance at the NCAA Championships.  He went 0-2 as a freshman in 2010.

Pavlou went 1-4 against the NCAA field this season.  He will open against sixth-seeded Tyler Nauman of Pittsburgh.  Nauman is 24-5 and is a four-time EWL champion. 

Pavlou vs. the NCAA Field
Justin Accordino (Hofstra) - W-D, 5-3 - Southern Scuffle - Jan. 1-2
No. 1 Frank Molinaro (PSU) - L-TF, 0-16 - Southern Scuffle - Jan. 1-2
No. 14 Kyle Bradley (Missouri) - L-D, 4-5 (2OT) - Southern Scuffle Jan. 1-2
Cristop Villalonga (Cornell) - L-D, 3-6 - Southern Scuffle - Jan. 1-2
No. 8 Josh Wilson (UVU) - L-D,3-6 - Lonestar Duals - Jan. 14

Senior Dan Waddell (Chattanooga, Tenn.) is making his second trip to the NCAA Tournament after winning the SoCon Championship at 157.  He also qualified as a freshman in 2009 when he won the SoCon at 149.  He lost both of his matches  at the 2009 tournament.   

Waddell's season looked like it was headed for an unceremonious end in the finals of the SoCon Tournament.  He was trailing Campbell's Nick Rex 2-3 with seconds left in the match.  After failing to get to Rex's leg, he went high and grabbed him in a headlock and slammed him to the mat with two seconds left for the takedown and the win. 

Waddell is 21-9 overall and 2-5 against the NCAA field.  His first match is against sixth-seeded James Fleming from Clarion.    Fleming won the EWL title to qualify for the NCAAs and has a 27-2 overall record.  

Waddell vs. the NCAA Field
John Nicholson (ODU-11/4) - L-D, 5-11
No. 20 Donnie Kirby (CMU 11/20) - L-D, 2-3
No. 16 R.J. Pena (Oregon St.) - W-Forfeit - Southern Scuffle - Jan. 1-2
Corey Mock (UNC) - L-TF, 0-17 - Southern Scuffle - Jan. 1-2
Bobby Barnhisel (Navy) - W-D, 10-7 - Southern Scuffle - Jan 1-2
Drake Houdashelt (Missouri) - L-D, 0-3 - Southern Scuffle - Jan. 1-2
No. 14 Georgi Ivanov (Boise State) - L-MD, 4-14 - NWCA Duals - Feb. 12

Brandon Wright (Germantown, Tenn.) is 21-9, including wins in 12 of his last 14 matches.  He qualified for the NCAAs after winning the 165 title at the SoCon Championships.  This is his second trip to the NCAAs.  Wright won the SoCon title at 174 last season but went 0-2 at the national tournament. 

Wright defeated No. 15 Kyle Blevins of Appalachian State in overtime to win the SoCon title.  He is 4-7 against the NCAA field.  

Wright opens with David Cheza of Michigan State.  Cheza has a 15-10 overall record and qualified by finishing eighth at the Big Ten Championships. 

Wright vs. the NCAA Field
Tristan Warner (ODU-11/4) - W-D, 3-2
Tristian Warner (ODU) - L-D, 4-5 - Hokie Open - Nov. 6
Mike Ottinger (CMU 11/20) - L-D, 2-3
Marshall Peppelman (Cornell) - W-Fall, 0:35 - Southern Scuffle - Jan. 1-2
No. 3 Paul Gillespie (Hofstra) - L-D, 1-4 - Southern Scuffle - Jan. 1-2
Tristian Warner (ODU) - W-D, 4-1 - Southern Scuffle - Jan. 1-2
Nicholas Sulzer (Virginia) - L-D, 1-5 - Southern Scuffle - Jan. 1-2
Marshall Peppelman (Cornell) - L-D, 1-7 Southern Scuffle - Jan. 1-2
No. 16 Kyle Blevins (ASU 2/5) - L-D, 6-3
No. 3 Shane Onufer (Wyoming) - L-MD, 0-8 - NWCA Duals - Feb. 13
No. 15 Kyle Blevins (ASU) - W-D, 3-2 (OT) - SoCon - March 3

It may have been a day late, but sophomore Levi Clemons (Kissimmee, Fla.) got the call he was looking for last week.  He was a late addition to the list of at-large bids for the Mocs when another competitor in the bracket pulled out a day after the field was announced.

Clemons was 20-14 at 174, finishing third at the SoCon Championships.  He is 0-7 against the NCAA field this season.  Clemons opens the NCAAs against Minnesota's Logan Storley who is 21-5 overall. 

Clemons vs. the NCAA Field
Te Edwards (ODU-11/4) - L-MD, 4-14
No. 9 Turtogtokh Luvsandorj (Citadel) - L-D, 1-7 - Hokie Open - Nov. 6
No. 13 Nick Purdue (Ohio 12/12) - L-Fall,  2:17
No. 9 Jordan Blanton (Ill. 12/18) - L- MD, 6-19
No. 2 Ed Ruth (Penn St.) - L-Fall, 3:11 - Southern Scuffle - Jan. 1-2
No. 19 Turtogtokh Luvsandorj (Citadel 1/29) - L-Fall 5:35
Patrick Martinez (Wyoming) - L-MD, 4-12 - NWCA Duals Feb. 13     

When you get to the NCAA Tournament, there are no easy matches.  However, the Mocs really have a tough go in the opening matches.  Four of the five will take on a top-6 seed. 

Freshman Nick Soto opens with No. 4 B.J. Futrell (Illinois) at 133.  Junior Dean Pavlou takes on No. 6 Tyler Nauman (Pitt) at 149.  Senior Dan Waddell faces No. 6 James Fleming (Clarion) and sophomore Levi Clemons has No. 4 Logan Storley (Minnesota) in the first round. 

Senior Brandon Wright is the only one who is not facing a seeded competitor.  However, if he wins his first round match he will likely face  No. 1 David Taylor from Penn State. 

Each of the five Mocs headed to the 2012 NCAA Championships made either the Dean's List or the Athletics Director's Honor Roll in the 2011 fall semester.   Freshman Nick Soto lead the group with a 4.0 last term and was joined on the Dean's List by senior Brandon Wright, junior Dean Pavlou and sophomore Levi Clemons.  Senior Dan Waddell made the Athletics Director's Honor Roll with a 3.0+ g.p.a.

Niko Soto is the 2012 the Southern Conference Freshman of the Year.  Currently ranked No. 17 in the nation at 133, Soto is 24-6 overall and won the 133 title at the SoCon Championships.  His freshman campaign took off when he finished second at the prestigious Southern Scuffle in January.  He also has two wins over top-5 opponents and posted a 4.0 grade-point-average in the fall. 

Soto is the seventh Moc in school history to be named SoCon Freshman of the Year and the first since Jake Young in 2010.  Gerald Carr (1993), Josh Lambrecht (2000), Jared Sullivan (2001), Matt Pitts (2002) and Jason McCroskey (2009) are the others who have taken home the honor from UTC.

Freshman Nick Soto was joined the All-Southern Conference team by seniors Manny Ramirez (125) and Dan Waddell (157).  Waddell earns his second All-SoCon honor and the first since his freshman season in 2009.  Ramirez got the nod at 125 after transferring to UTC from UNCG in January. 

Nick Soto was also on the Southern Conference All-Freshman team, along with heavyweight Kevin Malone.  Malone leads the team with a 25-12 overall record.   

The Mocs are one of four teams listed as receiving votes in this week's NWCA/USA Today Division I Coaches Top-25.  Chattanooga won nine of its last 12 matches and is on the verge of being ranked for the first time since the end of the 2007-08 season.  UTC finished that regular season No. 18 in the nation.  For a complete list of the rankings, check out page 4 of the .pdf of the Mocs wrestling match notes.     

Head coach Heath Eslinger is currently sixth on the Mocs all-time coaching victories list.  Eslinger is 34-22 (.607) in his third season at UTC.  He passed Ralph Manning (1991-95) Manning with the win at VMI on Feb. 20.  Manning went 33-26 (.559) in five seasons with the Mocs.  Eslinger needs five more wins to catch his predecessor, Chris Bono who was 39-17 from 2007-09.   

Chattanooga's 22-15 upset win over No. 12 Stanford on Nov. 20 in Maclellan Gym was the first win over a ranked team since UTC defeated No. 9 Ohio State 19-16 on Nov. 10, 2007 in Chattanooga.    

UTC has a pair of Mocs who have been named SoCon Wrestlers of the Week this season.  Junior Niko Brown took the first honor when he pinned Alen Yen (1:55) to clinch an upset win over No. 12 Stanford on Nov. 20.  Freshman Nick Soto grabbed back-to-back honors, the latter after placing second at the Southern Scuffle.

The UTC wrestling team had 17 members on the Athletics Director's Honor Roll for the 2011 fall semester.  The student-athletes recognized for having a 3.0+ semester grade-point-average include Niko Brown, Joseph Burns, Levi Clemons, Cole Hayes, Kelly Felix, Alex Kooser, John Lampe, Dean Pavlou, Jared Presley, Bradley Rogers, Austin Sams, Nick Soto, Blake Thomas, Dan Waddell, Adam Wilson, Brandon Wright and Jake Young.

The Mocs are no strangers to tough competition, having faced at least one opponent ranked in the top-10 in each of the last 10 seasons.  The last time UTC posted a win over a top-10 opponent was Nov. 10, 2007, when they defeated No. 9 Ohio State 19-16 at home. 

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling team ranked No. 7 in the nation in grade-point-average for the 2010-11 academic year according to the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA).  The Mocs had a 3.14 cumulative g.p.a. among its top twelve wrestlers for the 2010-11 academic year.  The team g.p.a. is comprised of 12 student athletes, including the 10 wrestlers that were the entries in the NCAA tournament conference qualifier. If teams had less than 10 entries for their respective qualifier, they may fill those spots with wrestlers that competed in at least one varsity dual during the season.

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