"This was a huge success," stated head coach Heath Eslinger. "Having the guys from 20-30 years ago back here and supporting our program is absolutely phenomenal. The fact they are willing to pay to participate and pay to put themselves in situations that aren't necessarily that much fun, is tremendous.
Those in attendance were treated to a few fleeting moments where an upset seemed possible. Down 6-0 after an opening match pin, the Alumni reminded the crowd that they had an All-American and six former Southern Conference champions on their side of the mat.
Ben Reichel, a three-time SoCon title winner during his career from 1985-89, was trailing Mocs freshman Cody Hood 3-2 in the third period. He scored a reverse and added two more back points before the horn blew to give the Alumni a 9-7 decision and close the team gap to 6-3.
Unfortunately for the Alumni, they would go on to drop the next 10 matches and crash back to reality.
The first match of the day saw sophomore Prescott Garner pin Adrian Tramutola (1999-00) in the third period. Each match consisted of three periods of 1:30 each. With a running clock, the Alumni were given unlimited injury time and many took advantage of that generous adjustment in the rules.
Freshman Devaunte Brown put the Mocs up 9-3 with his 5-2 decision over Adam Raines (2003-06) while Dean Pavlou made quick work of Chris Light (1996-00) 9-2.
Josh Keefe (2003-07) was impressive in his match-up against sophomore Alex Hudson. Both scored takedowns, but it was an escape by Hudson in the third period that was the difference in the 4-3 outcome.
Jacob Harris (2003-05) also gave the Mocs all they could handle in his match with freshman Levi Clemons. Clemons could only manage one takedown on offense and scored an escape in the second period to close out a 3-1 win.
The match of the day pitted sophomore Josh Condon against 2005 All-American Michael Keefe (2003-07). After a scoreless first period, Condon got on the board first with an escape. Keefe evened the match, 1-1, in the third period with an escape of his own. Condon secured the win with a takedown late in the final frame. Keefe managed to escape to end the scoring at 3-2.
The grudge-match pitted father vs. son between Joe and Dan Waddell. Joe, the elder Waddell, was a letterman from 1977-80 and Dan is currently a junior on the team. Despite the best efforts from the referees, the public address announcer and a few bribes from the crowd, Dan was able to score a hard-fought 6-2 win over his "ol' man".
Junior Brandon Wright moved the team score to 27-3 with his 5-2 decision over John Cofer (2004-07). Fellow junior Jason McCroskey posted the only shutout in the match, winning 6-0 over Jeff Rufolo (1984-87).
Sophomore Robert Prigmore defeated Kevin Baltz (1997-00) before the Alumni got back on the board. Josh Ward (2003-05) had an offensive explosion for the "old guys," scoring a huge takedown in the first period against sophomore Niko Brown. His slam of Brown, a 2010 All-SoCon performer, ignited the crowd and energized a deflated Alumni group. He went on to add another first-period takedown to go up 4-1. From there, he held on for dear life and the 6-4 win.
"If I didn't score early it was going to be over," stated Ward. "So I tried to score early and not pass out the rest of the match. He kept coming after me and I could barely hold on."
Senior Matt Lettner finished out the day with his 1-0 win over Daryk Cochran in the final heavyweight match.
"They got two wins," added Eslinger. "Reichel is a stud wrestler. Josh Ward is tough. Those are two of the toughest guys we will wrestle all year. Jos Condon's win at 157 over Michael Keefe might be the toughest guy he wrestles all year."
UTC will be back in action on Thursday, Oct. 28, when they host the Blue & Gold match in Maclellan Gym at 7:00 p.m. (E.D.T.). The regular season begins on Nov. 6 when UTC faces Kent State in Salem, Va. The Mocs first home match is set for Nov. 14 when they host Liberty and Cumberland in McKenzie Arena at 2:00 p.m.
"Although some of them were fun and entertaining, some of them were serious," wrapped up Eslinger. "It was a good chance for us to see some of the areas we need to work on, but also a chance to generate some excitement for the rest of the season"
Mocs 36 - Alumni 6
Prescott Garner (So.) - Fall 3:50 - Adrian Tramutola (1999-00) - Mocs 6 - Alumni 0
Ben Reichel (1985-89) - Dec. 9-7 - Cody Hood (Fr.) - Mocs 6 - Alumni 3
Devante Brown (Fr.) - Dec. 5-2 - Adam Raines (2003-06) - Mocs 9 - Alumni 3
Dean Pavlou (So.) - Dec. 9-2 - Chris Light (1996-00) - Mocs 12 - Alumni 3
Alex Hudson (So.) - Dec. 4-3 - Josh Keefe (2003-07) - Mocs 15 - Alumni 3
Levi Clemons (Fr.) - Dec. 3-1 - Jacob Harris (2003-05) - Mocs 18 - Alumni 3
Josh Condon (So.) - Dec. 3-2 - Michael Keefe (2003-07) - Mocs 21 - Alumni 3
Dan Waddell (So.) - Dec. 6-2 - Joe Waddell (1977-80) - Mocs 24 - Alumni 3
Brandon Wright (Jr.) - Dec. 5 -2 - John Cofer (2004-07) - Mocs 27 - Alumni 3
Jason McCroskey (Jr.) - Dec. 6-0 - Jeff Rufolo (1984-87) - Mocs 30 - Alumni 3
Robert Prigmore (So.) - Dec. 4-1 - Kevin Baltz (1997-00) - Mocs 33 - Alumni 3
Josh Ward (2003-05) - Dec. 6-4 - Niko Brown (So.) - Mocs 33 - Alumni 6
Matt Lettner (Sr.) - Dec. 1-0 - Daryk Cochran (1992-95) - Mocs 36 - Alumni 6