The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling team is set to defend its Southern Conference Tournament Championship this weekend in Davidson, N.C. The Mocs have won the last five SoCon Tournaments and are the frontrunners for a sixth-straight title.
Action begins in Davidson's Baker Sports Complex at 11:00 a.m. (E.S.T.) on Saturday, March 6. The semifinal matches get underway at 1:00 p.m., immediately followed by the consolation semifinals. The consolation finals are set for 5:00 p.m. with the finals starting at 7:00 p.m.
Fans unable to attend can watch a live video stream of the entire tournament. Links to the stream are available on GoMocs.com.
Chattanooga captured its sixth consecutive SoCon Regular Season Title in 2010 with a 5-0 mark in league action. The Mocs posted an 11-7 record overall.
UTC is led by sophomore Demetrius Johnson who is looking to repeat as SoCon champ at 125. He was 18-9 on the year and 5-0 in SoCon action, earning a spot on the all-conference team. Senior Josh Statum was also undefeated at 133 with a 5-0 mark in league matches. He made the All-SoCon squad with a 14-8 overall record.
Freshman Josh Condon (3-0 at 157) and Niko Brown (4-0 at 197) were also undefeated in SoCon action and made the all-conference squad. The Mocs will be without three starters for the SoCon Tournament. Sophomores Ben Johnson (141) and Brandon Wright (165) and freshman Jake Young (174) will not make the trip this weekend.
Mocs Probable Line-Up
125: Demetrius Johnson - So. - 18-9, 5-0 SoCon
All-Southern Conference...2009 SoCon Champ at 125...won five of his last six matches...closest conference match was a 3-0 win over The Citadel's Richard Alacorn.
133: Josh Statum - Sr. - 14-8, 5-0 SoCon
All-Southern Conference...Only senior still competing with injuries to Joey Knox and Cody Cleveland...won four of his last five matches...tightest conference match was a 5-2 win over Davidson's Alex Radsky.
141: Jeremy Sandoval - Fr. - 0-0, 0-0 SoCon
True freshman will be seeing his first collegiate action at the conference tournament.
149: Dean Pavlou - Fr. - 19-11, 4-1 SoCon
SoCon All-Freshman Team...leads the team with 19 wins on the season...only SoCon loss on the year was a pin against Appalachian State's Savva Kostis.
157: Josh Condon - Fr - 13-4, 3-0 SoCon
All-Southern Conference...SoCon All-Freshman Team...tied for the team lead with five pins...did not compete against Davidson or The Citadel in the regular season.
165: Bond Davis - Jr. - 9-7, 0-1 SoCon
Moving up to 165 after competing most of the season at 157...lone SoCon match was a 3-1 loss to The Citadel's Turkogtokh Luvsandorj.
174: Alex Hudson - Fr. - 3-5, 0-0 SoCon
Moving up from 149 where he will see his first action of the season against SoCon competition.
184: Jason McCroskey - So. - 13-11, 2-3 SoCon
2009 SoCon champion at 174...will have to fight through the field to get back to the NCAAs after having three league losses on the season.
197: Niko Brown - Fr. - 11-13, 5-0 SoCon
All-Southern Conference...SoCon All-Freshman Team...Competed in every dual match this season with an 9-9 record...closest SoCon match was an 11-9 win over Davidson's Andrew Delaney.
285: Tom Minwell - Jr. - 18-9, 2-1 SoCon
Among the team leaders in wins...6-5 in dual matches...won five of last six...did not compete against Davidson and The Citadel in the regular season...also got a win against VMI on a forfeit, so has only seen two of his five SoCon competitors at heavyweight.
MOCS WIN SIXTH STRAIGHT SOCON TITLE
The Mocs rode a 30-match Southern Conference winning streak to capture their sixth regular season title in a row. UTC's last loss to a conference opponent was a 27-13 set-back at The Citadel on Feb. 14, 2004. The last time UTC dropped a home match in league action was a 26-12 loss to VMI on Feb. 22, 2003.
FIVE MOCS ON THE ALL-SOCON TEAM
The Mocs dominated the All-Southern Conference squad with five of the 10 honorees. Sophomore Demetrius Johnson was a repeat performer at 125. He was joined by senior Josh Statum (133), sophomore Brandon Wright (165) and freshmen Niko Brown (197) and Josh Condon (157). No other league squad had more than two representatives on the All-SoCon team.
FOUR MOCS ON THE SOCON ALL-FRESHMAN TEAM
UTC had four of the 10 spots on the league's all-freshman team. Josh Condon (157) and Niko Brown (197) were obvious choices after being named to the all-conference team. They were joined by Jake Young (174) and Dean Pavlou (149).
YOUNG NAMED SOCON FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
UTC freshman Jake Young was named the SoCon Freshman of the Year after an outstanding first season with the Mocs. His 18-8 record tied for second on the team and he was 4-1 in league matches. He won the Hokie Open at Virginia Tech early in the season and was ranked in the top-20 at times during the year.
JOHNSON NAMED SOCON STUDENT-ATHLETE OF THE WEEK
Demetrius Johnson was honored for the week of February 10. The award is given to the individual with at least a 3.2 grade-point-average who has the best performance in the recent competition. The sophomore from Memphis, Tenn., is majoring in criminal justice and has a 3.42 g.p.a. He finished the fall semester with a 4.0 g.p.a. and earned Dean's List honors. Johnson recorded a win in each of Chattanooga's victories over Northern Iowa and Appalachian State.
YOUNG NAMED SOCON WRESTLER OF THE MONTH/WEEK
Young was named the SoCon Wrestler of Month for November and the first Wrestler of the Week for the 2009-10 season. Young, who wrestles in the 174-pound weight class, opened his collegiate campaign with a 13-2 record, including a tournament title at the Hokie Open in his first event with the Mocs on Nov. 8. The Ooltewah, Tenn., native followed that performance with a 5-0 mark at the Indiana Duals, including a win over Indiana's 17th-ranked Trevor Perry. The true freshman's first two losses this season were a one-point (7-6) defeat against Virginia Tech's Anthony Trongone and a 3-1 decision to No. 1 ranked Mike Miller of Central Michigan.
CLEVELAND OUT FOR THE SEASON
Senior Cody Cleveland, the reigning Southern Conference Wrestler of the Year, is out for the rest of the 2009-10 season after suffering a knee injury in the Hoosier Duals. Cleveland was 8-0 on the year and ranked No. 9 in the nation when he injured his knee against Indiana's Daniel Monaco.
KNOX ALSO OUT FOR THE YEAR
Senior Joey Knox's career ended earlier this season due to an ongoing injury. He was the 2009 SoCon 157 champion and was 9-3 in 2009-10 before getting hurt. He posted a 4-0 record and won the Wolfpack Open's 157-pound class on Nov. 21. He only allowed one point in his four wins in the open tournament.
YOUNG WINS HOKIE OPEN IN COLLEGIATE DEBUT
Young had an impressive start to his collegiate career, winning the 174 class at the 2009 Hokie Open. The Ooltewah, Tenn., native posted a 6-1 record in his first weekend of college wrestling.
MOCS PICKED TO WIN SIXTH STRAIGHT SOCON
The UTC wrestling team has been predicted to win the 2010 Southern Conference Wrestling championship, in voting by the league's head coaches. The Mocs, who carry a 25-match unbeaten streak in league dual matches into the season, have won the past five SoCon regular season and tournament championships. Under the direction of first-year head coach Heath Eslinger, UTC picked up four of the six first-place votes in the balloting.