The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling team opens the 2013-14 season with a busy weekend. The Mocs start their campaign with a tri-meet against Cumberland and No. 8 Wisconsin on Friday, Nov. 8. UTC then travels to Salem, Va., for the Hokie Open and Hokie Duals on Sunday, Nov. 10.
Friday’s action at Maclellan Gym begins with Cumberland facing Wisconsin at 3:30 p.m. (E.S.T.). The Bulldogs then face the Mocs at 5:00 p.m., followed by the marquee match of the evening, UTC vs. the Badgers at 6:30 p.m.
Gates open at 2:30 p.m. and tickets are $5 each. UTC students always get in FREE to home matches. Live scoring and live video links for all three matches are available on the wrestling schedule page on GoMocs.com.
Wisconsin is the third top-10 team to visit UTC in the last 12 months. The Mocs also hosted No. 2 Iowa and No. 9 Illinois last season.
Chattanooga is 1-2 all-time against Wisconsin. The last match was a 25-16 win for the No. 4 Badgers on Nov. 21, 2010. The Mocs lone win in the series was a 19-18 victory over an 18th-ranked Wisconsin team at the Lonestar Duals on Jan. 7, 2006. The other match was a 23-12 win by the 15th-ranked Badgers in Chattanooga on Dec. 11, 2004.
Cumberland is visiting Maclellan Gym for the second year in a row. The Bulldogs were a part of the big weekend with Iowa on Nov. 16 last season. UTC scored a 49-0 win last season to improve to 7-0 in the series.
There are some big individual matchups on opening day, beginning with the 133-pound bout. Junior Nick Soto won the SoCon Championship at 133 as a freshman and 125 last year. He is back up to 133 and starts his year off against Wisconsin’s second-ranked senior Tyler Graff. Soto has spent the majority of his career ranked as an individual and could quickly climb back in with a win over Graff.
At 157, senior Alex Hudson faces Wisconsin’s No. 7-ranked freshman Isaac Jordan. Hudson won the SoCon Championships at 149 last season and is looking to make a mark early in his senior year.
UTC junior Corey Mock will make his Chattanooga debut at 165 on Friday. A transfer from North Carolina, Mock is No. 13 in the nation in the Intermat rankings.
Junior heavyweight Kevin Malone will try to get a top-10 win against Wisconsin’s No. 6-ranked sophomore Connor Medberry. Malone was runner-up at last year’s SoCon Tournament, just missing a trip to the NCAAs.
PROBABLE LINEUPS - Nov. 8 Matches:
125: Byron Smith (Fr.)/Zach Bridson (Fr.)
133: Nick Soto (Jr.)/Mike Pongracz (Fr.)
141: Austin Sams (So.)
149: Michael Hooker (Fr.)
157: Alex Hudson (Sr.)/Jared Presley (Jr.)
165: No. 13 Corey Mock (Jr.)/Trey Stavrum (Jr.)
174: Levi Clemons (Jr.)
184: John Shrader (So.)/Clay Dent (So.)
197: Jared Johnson (Fr.)/Scottie Boykin (Fr.)
285: Kevin Malone (Jr.)
125: Justice Griffith (Fr.)
133: Billy Ward (Fr.)/Robbie Resendiz (Sr.)
141: Dalton Baysinger (Fr.)
149: Nick Croley (Fr.)/Chandler Sartain (Fr.)
157: Steven Sandefer (Sr.)
165: Kirk Johnson (So.)/Kyle Delaune (Fr.)
174: Jacob Shirley (Sr.)
184: Zeke Hunt (Sr.)
197: Scott Stewart (Sr.)
285: Tyler Smith (Jr.)
No. 8 Wisconsin
125: Ryan Taylor (Fr.)
133: No. 2 Tyler Graff (Sr.)
141: No. 10 Jesse Thielke (Fr.)
149: T.J. Ruschell (Fr.)
157: No. 7 Isaac Jordan (Fr.)
165: Ben Cox (Jr.)
174: Scott Liegel (Sr.)
184: No. 12 Jackson Hein (Sr.)
197: Timm McCall (Jr.)
285: No. 6 Connor medberry (So.)
The Mocs are scheduled to face Hofstra (9:00 a.m.), Virginia Tech (11:00 a.m.) and Rider (1:00 p.m.) at the Hokie Duals. A number of indiviudals will also make the trip to take part in the Hokie Open at the same venue.
Virginia Tech is No. 17 in the Intermat rankings. The Mocs own a 7-4 all-time record against the Hokies, but have lost each of the last three meetings. UTC dropped the last match, 25-12 on Nov. 21, 2010 in Chapel Hill, N.C.
The Mocs lost their only match on the books against Rider, a 33-10 defeat at the Virginia Duals on Jan. 7, 2010. The Mocs also have one previous meeting with Hofstra, a 20-17 win on Jan. 16, 1978.
PROBABLE LINEUPS - HOKIE DUALs Matches:
125: Jamie Franco (Sr.)
133: Jamel Hudson (Fr.)
141: No. 14 Luke Vaith (Sr.)
149: Cody Ruggirello (Jr.)
157: Nick Terdick (Jr.)/Russ Benner (Jr.)/Jahlani Callender (Fr.)
165: No. 11 Joe Booth (Sr.)
174: Victor Pozsonyi (So.)
184: Dwight Howes (Fr.)
197: David Heitman (So.)
285: Mike Hughes (Fr.)
No. 17 Virginia Tech
125: No. 20 Joey Dance (Fr.)
133: Erik Spjut (Sr.)
141: No. 3 Devin Carter (Jr.)
149: No. 12 Zach Neibert (Sr.)
157: Sal Mastriani (Fr.)
165: No. 16 Chris Moon (Jr.)
174: Austin Gabel (So.)
184: Nick Vetterlein (Sr.)
197: Chris Penny (Sr.)
285: Ty Walz (Fr.)
125: No. 17 Robert Duetsch (So.)
133: Chuck Zesiloft (Jr.)
141: Paul Kirchner (Fr.)
149: Curt Delia (So.)
157: Wayne Stinson (Fr.)
165: No. 12 Ramon Santiago (Sr.)
174: David Fenton (Fr.)
184: Clint Morrison (Jr.)
197: Donald McNeil (Jr.)
285: Greg Velasco (So.)
Mock will have his hands full at the Hokie Duals with a loaded schedule at 165. No. 11 Joe Booth (Sr.) is in the lineup for Hofstra, while No. 12 Ramon Santiago (Sr.) is Rider’s probable starter. Virginia Tech will likely field No. 17 Chris Moon.
The Hokie Open is still taking place this weekend in Salem, Va., and the Mocs will have a number of individuals competing. For complete results and more information on the event, visit www.HokieOpen.com.
MOCS PICKED TO WIN SOCON TITLE
The Mocs were selected as the preseason favorite to win the Southern Conference title by the league’s coaches. UTC has won 27 SoCon titles since joining the league in 1978. Head coach Heath Eslinger’s squad claimed the regular season and tournament crown in 2013, received four of eight first-place votes and 46 points overall, narrowly edging Appalachian State.
1. Chattanooga (4) - 46
2. Appalachian State (2) - 42
3. The Citadel (2) - 41
4. Gardner-Webb - 28
5. Campbell - 27
6. SIU- Edwardsville - 19
7. Davidson - 12
8. VMI – 9
TWO MOCS NAMED PRESEASON ALL-SOCON
Head coach Heath Eslinger’s squad boasts two members on the preseason All-SoCon team. After winning the league title at 125 last season, junior Nick Soto is the preseason pick at 133. He won that title as a freshman in 2012. Fellow junior Kevin Malone was the coaches’ preseason selection at heavyweight.
CANDLELIGHT DINNER MATCH SET FOR DEC. 16
The Mocs are holding their first Candlelight Dinner Match against Gardner-Webb on Monday, Dec. 16. Tables for eight will replace the bleachers in the lower section of Maclellan Gym, while team members not competing will be your servers for the evening. Details will be released soon, so be sure to check back to GoMocs.com, but mark your calendars now for this unique event.