Senior Dean Pavlou.
Courtesy: GoMocs.com
Mocs Battle for SoCon Tournament Title Saturday
After wrapping up its 14th Southern Conference Regular Season Championship, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling team is set to compete in the 2013 SoCon Wrestling Tournament this weekend in Lexington, Va.  VMI is the host of the 76th annual event on Saturday, March 9, at Cameron Hall. 

The Mocs have won the SoCon Tournament 26 times since joining the league in 1978, including each of the last two years and seven of the last eight.  UNCG was the last team to knock UTC off the podium in 2010. 

Chattanooga won the regular season race with a perfect 7-0 league mark and 11-6 overall.  Despite winning by a two-match cushion, UTC will have a strong challenge from The Citadel (7-6, 5-2 SoCon) this weekend.  Both teams placed five on the All-SoCon squad.  The Mocs have six No. 1 seeds in the tournament while The Citadel has the other four.

Doors open at 9:00 a.m. (E.S.T.) on Saturday with action beginning at 10:00 a.m.  By the end of the day, all 10 individual champions will be crowned and 13 automatic bids to the NCAA Tournament handed out. 

TICKETS
Prices are $15 for adults, $10 for youth and non-SoCon students with ID. Groups of 10 or more can purchase tickets at a group rate of $8 per person. Students from any of the Southern Conference schools can pick up a ticket free of charge simply by showing their school ID.  Tickets can be purchased online at VMITickets.com or by calling the ticket office at 540-464-7266.

LIVE STREAMING & UPDATES
The Southern Conference will provide a live stream of the action free of charge.  A link is available on the wrestling schedule page on GoMocs.com.  For live updates be sure to follow Mocs wrestling on Twitter @UTCWrestling.     

CHATTANOOGA PROBABLE LINEUP:
125:  No. 18 Nick Soto (So. - 24-6)
133:  Alex Ward (Fr. - 8-4)
141:  Dean Pavlou (Sr. - 22-11)
149:  Alex Hudson (Jr. - 12-5)
157:  Trey Stavrum (So. - 11-15)
165:  Josh Condon (Sr. - 9-5)
174:  John Lampe (Fr. - 13-10)
184:  Robert Prigmore (Sr. - 11-12)
197:  No. 18 Niko Brown (Sr. - 27-3)
285:  Kevin Malone (So. - 16-9)
Head Coach:  Heath Eslinger (45-28 - 4th Year)

The Mocs finished the regular season with an 11-6 overall record and went 7-0 in SoCon matches.  The league began recording regular season records and championships in 1994 and this is the 10th time UTC has posted a perfect record in SoCon duals.

QUICK NOTES ON THE MOCS

  • Head Coach Heath Eslinger is 45-28 in four years with the Mocs. He just passed his collegiate coach, Mark Leen, for No. 4 on UTC's head coaching wins list. Leen was 43-35-1 (.551) in six seasons from 1996-01.
  • Senior Niko Brown (197) went 15-0 in dual matches with a team-high nine pins.
  • Senior Josh Condon (165) was 6-0 in SoCon matches with five pins.
  • This is the 29th time the Mocs have won either the SoCon Regular Season title, tournament championship or both in the same year.
  • The Mocs set a new attendance record for home events in 2012-13, averaging 1,261 fans per home event.

FIVE MOCS ON THE ALL-SOCON TEAM
The Mocs put five student-athletes on the 2013 All-Southern Conference team, including seniors Niko Brown and Josh Condon, junior Alex Hudson, sophomore Nick Soto and freshman John Lampe.  Brown has a team-best 27-3 record and was 15-0 in dual matches.  He is ranked as high as No. 18 in the nation at 197.  Condon came on strong in the second semester, going 6-0 in SoCon matches with five pins.  He split the award with Appalachian State's Zach Strickland, despite being undefeated in league bouts and pinning Strickland in the dual with the Mountaineers on Feb. 3.  Hudson finished with a 12-5 overall record and was 6-0 in SoCon matches.  Four of his six league wins came with bonus points, while the other two were shutouts.  Soto repeats on the All-SoCon team after dropping down to 125.  He is ranked as high as No. 18 in the nation with a 24-6 overall record.  He went 7-0 in SoCon matches and did not allow more than three points in any league bout.  Lampe (Fairdale, Ky.) was the All-SoCon pick at 174 and made the SoCon All-Freshman team.  He moved up to 174 to make room for Condon in the lineup, and posted a 5-0 record in league matches.  He finished the season 13-10 overall.

SOCON GETS 13 AUTOMATIC BIDS
The NCAA announced the qualifier allocations for the 2013 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, and the Southern Conference received 13 automatic spots.   The SoCon got one spot at each weight class, with additional allocations at 125, 141 and 165. 

125
Sophomore Nick Soto will take the mat at 125 for the Mocs.  He is the defending SoCon Champ at 133, but moved down to 125 where he is ranked as high as No. 18 in the nation.  He finished the regular season with a 24-6 record, including a 7-0 mark in SoCon matches.  His toughest competition in the in league matches came from Campbell's Eric Montoya.  Soto posted a 7-1 decision in their match on Feb. 25, but Montoya has a 31-13 overall record and a 6-1 mark in league matches.  He is the No. 1 seed in the tournament and earned All-SoCon recognition at 125.  

Soto vs. SoCon opponents this season:
Dominic Parisi (App. St. 11/4) - W-MD, 10-2 - Hokie Open
Phillip Elias (Davidson 11/11) - W-D, 9-2 - Wolfpack Open
Cortez-Starkes (GWU 11/11) - W-Fall (6:27) - Wolfpack Open
Joaquin Marquez (CIT 1/27) - W-MD, 12-3
Cortez Starkes (GWU 2/1) - W-MD, 12-0
Dominic Parisi (App. St. 2/3) - W-MD, 10-2
Forfeit (Davidson 2/10) - W-Forfeit
Forfeit (SIUE 2/23) - W-Forfeit
Armondo Herrera (VMI 2/23) - W-TF 18-3 (5:33)
Eric Montoya (Campbell 2/25) - W-D, 7-1

SoCon Tournament Seeds at 125:
1.  Soto (UTC), 2. Montoya (Campbell), 3. Marquez (Citadel), 4. Parisi (ASU), 5. Starkes (GWU), 6. Herrera (VMI), 7. Gilleland (SIUE). 

133
Freshman Alex Ward steps in at 133 for the Mocs.  He went 8-4 on the year and is riding a six-match winning streak.  He is 2-0 in SoCon matches and 3-1 in duals.  The Citadel's Aaron Hansen leads this class with a 20-16 record and is the No. 1 seed in the tournament.  He was 7-0 in SoCon matches.  Appalachian State's Brett Boston was also impressive with a 5-2 league tally and is the No. 2 seed.  Ward was inserted into the starting lineup late in the season and will keep his spot for the SoCon Tournament where he is seeded third.  

Ward vs. SoCon opponents this season:
Patrick Myers (SIUE 2/23) - W-D, 5-3
Tanner Bidelspach (Campbell 2/25) - W-D, 5-0

SoCon Tournament Seeds at 133:
1. Hansen (Citadel), 2. Boston (ASU), 3. Ward (UTC), 4. Myers (SIUE), 5. Onufriyenko (VMI), 6. Golde (GMU), 7. Elias (Davidson), 8. Bidelspach (Campbell). 

141
Two-time SoCon Champion Dean Pavlou represents UTC at 141.  He won the league at 149 as a freshman in 2010 and again as a junior last season.  Pavlou is 6-1 in SoCon matches and 22-11 overall.  He has won six straight with his only SoCon loss coming against The Citadel's Ugi Khishignyam, the 2013 SoCon Freshman of the Year.  Khishignyam is ranked in the top-10 in the nation with a 35-4 record and 6-0 in the SoCon.  Pavlou has actually dropped two matches to Khishignyam this season, including an 8-3 decision at the Hokie Open on Nov. 4 and an 8-1 loss in a dual match on Jan. 27.  There are two qualifiers in the SoCon at 141, so if Pavlou can get to the finals, he will get an automatic bid to the NCAAs.  He is the tournament's No. 2 seed at 141.

Pavlou vs. SoCon opponents this season:
Ugi Khishgnyam (CIT 11/4) - L-D, 3-8 - Hokie Open
No. 8 Ugi Khishignyam (CIT 1/27) - L-D, 1-8
Davante Andujar (GWU 2/1) - W-Fall, 6:28
Chris Johnson (App. St. 2/3) - W-MD, 13-4
Sejiro Littleton (Davidson 2/10) - W-Fall, 1:11
Dillon Pousson (SIUE 2/23) - W-MD, 18-4
Ryan Goodsell (VMI 2/23) - W-D, 6-3
Michael Dahlstrom (Campbell) - W-MD 13-2

SoCon Tournament Seeds at 141:
1.  Khishignyam (Citadel), 2. Pavlou (UTC), 3. Goodsell (VMI), 4. Dalhstrom (Campbell), 5. Andujar (GWU), 6. Zarth (Davidson), 7. Johnson (ASU), 8. Pousson (SIUE).

149
Junior Alex Hudson may be wrestling better than anyone for the Mocs right now.  He is undefeated in SoCon action at 6-0 and has a 12-5 overall mark that includes eight straight wins.  He has posted bonus points in four-straight matches and shutouts in four of his last six bouts.  Campbell's Brent Jorge is second in the league at 5-1, but did not wrestle in the dual against the Mocs.  Hudson is the No. 1 seed in the tournament after earning All-SoCon honor this week.  

Hudson vs. SoCon opponents this season:
Riley Keen (App. St. 11/4) - W-MD, 15-1 - Hokie Open
Jordan Dix (CIT 1/27) - W-D, 9-3
Ryan Medved (GWU 2/1) - W-D, 4-0
Zach Ketcher (App. St. 2/3) - W-D, 4-0
Kevin Birmingham (Davidson 2/10) - W-MD, 13-1
Brandon Brindley (SIUE 2/23) - W, TF-16-0 (4:35)
Zeb Stewart (VMI 2/23) - W-MD, 10-0
Cory Wagner (Campbell) - W-TF 17-2 (7:00)

SoCon Tournament Seeds at 149:
1. Hudson (UTC), 2. Medved (GWU), 3. Stewart (VMI), 4. Dix (Citadel), Birmingham (Davidson), 6. Ketcher (ASU), 7. Wagner (Campbell), 8. Brindley (SIUE). 

157
Sophomore Trey Stavrum gets the nod for the Mocs at 157.  He is 4-3 in league action and 11-15 overall.  He won his four league matches by decisions while giving up bonus points in each of his three SoCon losses.  The Citadel's Matt Frisch leads this class with a 7-0 league mark and 27-13 overall.  Campbell's Nick Rex has also been impressive at 12-6 (5-1 SoCon).  He will be the fourth seed in the tournament.    

Stavrum vs. SoCon Opponents this season:
Matthew Frisch (CIT 1/27) - L-MD, 2-10
Alex Medved (GWU 2/1) - L-Fall, 4:17
Aaron Scott (App. St. 2/3) - W-D, 5-0
Nathaniel Powers (Davidson 2/10) - W-D, 6-0
Kyle Lowman (SIUE 2/23) - W-D, 6-3
Edward Gottwald (VMI 2/23) - W-D, 8-5
Nick Rex (Campbell 2/25) - L-MD, 0-8

SoCon Tournament Seeds at 157:
1. Frisch (Citadel), 2. Rex (Campbell), 3. Medved (GWU), 4. Stavrum (UTC), 5. Gottwald (VMI), 6. Powers (Davidson), 7. Lowman (SIUE), 8. Creech (ASU).

165
Senior Josh Condon leads the SoCon at 165 with his 6-0 league record, but does have one loss against the field.  He dropped a (9-1) major decision to Appalachian State's Zack Strickland at the Southern Scuffle on Jan. 2.  Since then, he has won seven of eight matches, including a third-period pin against Strickland in the dual with the Mountaineers on Feb. 3.  His only loss since the Southern Scuffle was a one-point defeat to Illinois' eighth-ranked Conrad Polz.  Condon posted pins in five of his six league bouts, but split the All-SoCon award with Strickland.  Strickland's 22-10 overall record and 6-1 league tally will be the toughest opponent.  Strickland is also 12-1 in duals with five pins.  Condon won the SoCon title at 157 as a sophomore in 2011 and is the No. 1 seed at 165 in this year's tournament.      

Condon vs. SoCon opponents this season:
Zack Strickland (App. St. 1/2) - L-MD, 1-9 - Southern Scuffle
Vincent Bellaran (CIT 1/27) - W-Fall  (5:52)
Justin Guthrie (GWU 2/1) - W-Fall (1:50)
Zack Strickland (App. St. 2/3) - W-Fall (5:55)
Adam Osmoe (SIUE 2/23) - W-Fall (3:45)
Mark Darr (VMI 2/23) - W-Fall (5:43)
Paul Duggan (Campbell 2/25) - W-D, 12-7

SoCon Tournament Seeds at 165:
1. Condon (UTC), 2. Strickland (ASU), 3. Duggan (Campbell), 4. Guthrie (GWU), 5. Darr (VMI), 6. Bellaran (Citadel), 7. Cirenza (Davidson), 8. Osmoe (SIUE). 

174
Freshman John Lampe is riding a five-match winning streak and is 13-10 overall.  He is the Mocs choice at 174 after going 5-0 in league matches.  He started the year at 165, but moved up at the semester break, finishing 5-2 at 174.  Appalachian State's Colin Hedash leads this class with a 6-1 SoCon record, 17-10 overall.  His only loss was to UTC freshman Sean Mappes (7-2) in the dual with the Mocs on Feb. 3.  Mappes was 2-0 at 174 but is out with a broken thumb.  He earned All-SoCon and SoCon All-Freshman honors at 174 and is the No. 1 seed in the tournament. 

Lampe vs. SoCon opponents this season:
John Duane (CIT 1/27) - W-D, 3-2
Ian Solcz (Davidson 2/10) - W-D, 9-3
Jake Residori (SIUE 2/23) - W-D, 3-1
John Dommert (VMI 2/23) - W-D, 6-3
Taylor McGiffen (Campbell 2/25) - W-D, 3-1

SoCon Tournament Seeds at 174:
1. Lampe (UTC), 2. Hedash (ASU), 3. Residori (SIUE), 4. Duane (Citadel), 5. Ryba (Campbell), 6. Gamble (GWU), 7. Dommert (VMI), 8. Solcz (Davidson).

184
Senior Robert Prigmore represent the Mocs at 184.  He was 5-2 in SoCon action and 11-12 overall.  He has won five of his last six matches, including four straight.  His two SoCon losses were to Appalachian State's Jake Johnson (7-6 OT) and The Citadel's Josh Tuck (10-3).  He also has a win over Tuck (8-6 (OT)) at the Hokie Open on Nov. 4.  Tuck finished with a 4-2 mark in league matches and was named to the All-SoCon team.  Johnson was 4-1 in SoCon action, but Prigmore was given the No. 1 seed.

Prigmore vs. SoCon opponents this season:
Josh Tuck (CIT 11/4) - W-D, 8-6 (OT) - Hokie Open
Josh Tuck (CIT 1/27) - L-D, 3-10
Gray Jones (GWU 2/1) - W-D, 2-1 (OT)
Jake Johnson (App. St. 2/3) - L-D, 6-7 (OT)
Donald Patrick (Davidson 2/10) - W-D, 2-1
Deshoun White (SIUE 2/23) - W-Fall (6:08)
Jonathan Jones (VMI 2/23) - W-D, 3-0
James Cook (Campbell 2/25) - W-D, 5-4

SoCon Tournament Seeds at 184:
1. Prigmore (UTC), 2. Johnson (ASU), 3. Tuck (Citadel), 4. Jones (GWU), 5. Black (VMI), 6. Patrick (Davidson), 7. Cook (Campbell), 8. White (SIUE).

197
Senior Niko Brown is looking to cap a stellar final year with his first SoCon title and his first trip to the NCAA Tournament.  He has a 27-3 overall record and was undefeated in dual matches at 15-0.  He made the All-SoCon team for the second time and is the No. 1 seed for the tournament.  His closest SoCon matches were a 4-0 win over Appalachian State's Paul Weiss and a 7-3 win over Campbell's John Merickel. 

Brown vs. SoCon opponents this season:
Marshall Haas (CIT 1/27) - W-Fall (5:44)
Vincent Salyer (GWU 2/1) - W-Fall (2:11)
Paul Weiss (App. St. 2/3) - W-D, 4-0
Forfeit (Davidson 2/10) - W-Forfeit
Josh Wood (SIUE 2/23) - W-MD, 14-6
Urayoan Garcia (VMI 2/23) - W-Fall (4:41)
John Merickel (Campbell 2/25) - W-D, 7-3

SoCon Tournament Seeds at 197:
1. Brown (UTC), 2. Weiss (ASU), 3. Merickel (Campbell), 4. Garcia (VMI), 5. Haas (Citadel), 6. Wood (SIUE), 7. Salyer (GWU).

285
Sophomore Kevin Malone will take the mat at heavyweight.  He enters the SoCon Tournament with a 16-9 overall record and 5-2 in SoCon matches.  He will have his hands full with The Citadel's Odie Delaney, the 2013 SoCon Wrestler of the Year.  Delaney is 34-7 overall and ranked among the top-15 in the nation.  He has not lost a SoCon match in three years and owns a 4-0 mark with two pins against Malone.  Malone's other league loss was a 5-4 decision to Southern Illinois-Edwardsville's David Devine.  However, Malone did get the No. 2 seed in the tournament. 

Malone vs. SoCon opponents this season:
Joe Cummings (App. St. 11/14) - W-D, 6-2 - Hokie Open
No. 14 Odie Delaney (CIT 1/27) - L-Fall, 3:53
Travis Porter (GWU 2/1) - W-D, 3-0
Joe Cummings (App. St. 2/3) - W-D, 5-0
Jordan Ownbey (Davidson 2/10) - W-Fall, 1:06
David Devine (SIUE 2/23) - L-D, 4-5
Michael LaPrade (VMI 2/23) - W-D, 3-0
Joe Nolan (Campbell 2/25) - W, 4-2 (2OT)

SoCon Tournament Seeds at 285:
1. Delaney (Citadel), 2. Malone (UTC), 3. Porter (GWU), 4. Devine (SIUE), 5. Nolan (Campbell), 6. LaPrade (VMI), 7. Cummings (ASU), 8. Isola (Davidson).

UTC ENJOYS RECORD ATTENDANCE IN 2012-13
The Mocs averaged a program-record 1,261 fans over their eight-date home schedule.  UTC sold out the Iowa match with 2,639 in attendance on Nov. 16.  That was the largest crowd for a dual meet in school history.  Chattanooga also had nearly 5,400 fans for the two-day Southern Scuffle in McKenzie Arena on Jan. 1-2. 

MOCS SET RECORDS IN 2012 FALL SEMESTER
The UTC wrestling team had an overall program record 2.89 grade-point-average for the 2012 fall semester.  The Mocs also set team records with 14 on the Dean's List and 18 on the AD Honor Roll.  Senior Dean Pavlou (Health & Human Performance) and freshman John Lampe (History) were two of 28 student-athletes at UTC with a 4.0 g.p.a. in the fall.

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