The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling team capped off the 2008-09 season with the team’s year-end banquet today. The crowd of nearly 100 Mocs wrestlers, parents, alumni and supporters gathered at Vulcan Park in Chattanooga to celebrate another championship season for UTC wrestling.
Chattanooga wrestling had another banner year in 2009, capturing the program’s 24th Southern Conference title. UTC won both the SoCon regular season and tournament trophies for the fifth year in a row. The Mocs posted a 21-10 overall record and went 5-0 in conference action.
Chattanooga had six individuals win SoCon titles with all six qualifying for the NCAA Championships. The Mocs went on to finish tied for 52nd at the NCAAs with junior Joey Knox and senior Seth Garvin picking up a pair of wins each.
Southern Conference Dominance
Chattanooga has dominated wrestling in the Southern Conference throughout the league’s history. UTC has won 24 of the 32 SoCon titles, including the last five.
The Mocs were also in control of their Southern Conference opponents during the regular season. After posting a 5-0 mark in SoCon action this year, UTC has a 25-match unbeaten streak in league meets. The Mocs have posted a 24-0-1 mark during that stretch. Their last loss to a SoCon opponent was a 13-27 setback at The Citadel on Feb. 14, 2004. Head Coach Chris Bono is 15-0 vs. conference teams in three seasons at UTC.
Cleveland SoCon’s Top Wrestler
Chattanooga junior Cody Cleveland was named the 2008-09 Southern Conference co-Wrestler of the Year. He shares the honor, voted on by the league’s wrestling head coaches, with UNC Greensboro’s Chris Bencivenga.
Cleveland, ranked No. 12 at 141 by Intermatwrestle.com, finished the season with a 21-8 overall record. The Tullahoma, Tenn., native also posted a perfect 4-0 conference mark to earn his second All-SoCon honor.
He posted two wins in the Southern Conference Championships to claim the 141 title. He was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler at this year’s SoCon Tournament.
Bono Named Coach of the Year in the Southern Conference
Chattanooga head coach Chris Bono was named the 2009 Southern Conference Coach of the Year after guiding the Mocs to their fifth consecutive league title. He has earned the title of the top coach in the league in all three of his seasons at UTC. He is 15-0 in SoCon matches in his three-year career at Chattanooga.
McCroskey Named SoCon Freshman of the Year
UTC freshman Jason McCroskey was named the 2009 SoCon Freshman of the Year. McCroskey went 5-0 in league matches and won the league title at 174. He finished with a 21-12 overall record and advanced to the NCAA Championships.
Five Mocs Named to All-SoCon Squad
Chattanooga dominated the All-SoCon team, taking half of the league’s honors. Senior Seth Garvin earned his second-straight honor at 165 while junior Cody Cleveland was also a two-time selection at 141. Junior Joey Knox earned All-SoCon honors at 157 while freshman Jason McCroskey (174) and Dan Waddell (148) got the nod in their respective weight classes.
The Mocs led all teams with five selections, with UNC Greensboro and The Citadel each earning two spots. VMI and Appalachian State claimed the top spot in one weight class each on the All-SoCon team.
Five Mocs Also Named to All-Freshman Team
Freshmen Jason McCroskey and Dan Waddell were obvious choices to the SoCon All-Freshman Team since they already earned selection to the league’s all-conference squad. They were joined by teammates Demetrius Johnson (125), Tyler Roberson (184) and Ethan Winel (197) on the all-frosh team.
Nine Mocs Honored for Work in the Classroom
Nine members of the Mocs wrestling program were honored for their 2008 Fall semester grade-point-averages. Junior Cody Cleveland, sophomores Carlos Baron and Josh Statum and freshmen Demetrius Johnson, Dean Pavlou and Thomas Shurina all earned a spot on the Dean’s List for having a 3.2 semester g.p.a. They were joined by junior Ben O’Neill and freshmen Jason McCroskey and Josh Sandoval on the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll for having a 3.0 g.p.a. last semester.
Five Mocs Undefeated in SoCon Action
Chattanooga had five wrestlers post undefeated marks in conference action during the 2008-09 season. Senior Seth Garvin and freshman Jason McCroskey both posted 5-0 records. Junior Cody Cleveland was 4-0 this season, missing the VMI match due to injury. Freshman Tyler Roberson went 3-0. He did not wrestle against Appalachian State or UNC Greensboro. Fellow freshman Dan Waddell also went 3-0 on the year. He missed the season-opener against Davidson and the match at ASU.
UTC sent three freshmen - Johnson, Waddell, McCroskey - to the NCAA Championships. Three other freshmen, Tyler Roberson (185), Ethan Winel (197) and Cody Sliger (285) were all regulars in the line-up this season. McCroskey and Waddell were All-SoCon selections and joined on the all-freshman team by Johnson, Roberson and Winel.
• 125 - Freshman Demetrius Johnson went 11-8 overall record on the year. He had 10 wins in his last 15 matches and was the Southern Conference Champion at 125. Johnson was also a member of the SoCon All-Freshman team.
• 133 - Sophomore Josh Statum moved up to 133 and had a solid season with a 10-8 record. He won seven of his last nine matches and finished second at the SoCon Championships.
• 141 - Junior Cody Cleveland, the 2008-09 SoCon co-Wrestler of the Year and the SoCon Championships Most Outstanding Wrestler, was 21-8 on the year. All eight of Cleveland’s losses on the year came against NCAA qualifiers. He was a perfect 4-0 in SoCon matches and repeated as the SoCon Champion at 141.
• 149 - Dan Waddell posted a 15-13 overall record and a 3-0 mark in SoCon matches. Waddell earned a spot on the All-SoCon squad this season and was the SoCon Champ at 149. He split time this season with fellow freshman Kelly Felix and together they posted a 5-0 mark for the Mocs at 149 in the Southern Conference. Seven of Waddell’s 13 losses were against NCAA qualifiers.
• 157 - Junior Joey Knox was an All-SoCon performer with a 21-12 overall record and the SoCon Champ at 157. Nine of his 12 losses came against 2009 NCAA qualifiers. He made a return trip to the NCAAs. Knox was ranked in the top-20 for the first half of the season. Knox posted two wins against NCAA qualifiers in the regular season, including Northern Illinois’ Bryan Deutsch (TF-4:35) and Minnesota’s Tyler Safratowich (D-6-4). He also won two more matches at the NCAA Championships.
• 165 - Senior Seth Garvin led the team in wins with a 25-11 record this season. He was the SoCon Wrestler of the Month for December and earned his second All-SoCon honor after posting a 5-0 mark in conference matches. He won the conference title at 157 in 2008 and 165 this year. After spending time ranked in the top-20 at 165 during the regular season, Garvin made his second trip to the NCAAs where he won two matches.
• 174 - Freshman Jason McCroskey earned All-SoCon honors after posting a 21-12 mark and going 5-0 in the conference. McCroskey was the SoCon champ at 174 and a member of the SoCon All-Freshman team.
• 184 - Freshman Tyler Roberson spent the majority of the time at 185 and was 6-11 on the year. He earned a spot on the SoCon All-Freshman team after going 3-0 in league matches.
• 197 - Freshman Ethan Winel posted an 11-15 record this season, including a 3-2 mark in SoCon action. He earned a spot on the league’s All-Freshman team.
• HWT - After a season-ending injury to Matt Lettner, true freshman Cody Sliger stepped into the heavyweight class for the Mocs. He finished with a 12-17 record on the year.
Roberson Named Academic All-SoCon
Freshman Tyler Roberson earned Academic All-SoCon honors during his second season at UTC. After redshirtting the 2007-08 season, Roberson has a 3.33 cumulative grade-point-average. In order to qualify for Academic All-SoCon honors, student-athletes must possess at least a 3.2 cumulative grade point average entering the winter season, completed at least one year at the institution and must have competed in at least one-half of their team’s competitions during the recently-concluded campaign.
Hannah Caps Off Career With Win on Senior Night
Senior reserve T.J. Hannah was inserted into the lineup at 141 for the Mocs’ final home match of the season against VMI. He stepped up and delivered a 9-7 decision over David Yost on Senior Night. Hannah scored a takedown and an escape early in the first period and stayed one step ahead of his opponent the entire match. It was Hannah’s only dual meet action of the season.
Cleveland Named SoCon January WOTM
Cody Cleveland was named the Southern Conference’s Wrestler of the Month for January. The 141-pound junior went 7-0, including three SoCon wins and a pair of pins. He opened the month with a technical fall (7:00) against Oklahoma’s Zack Bailey on Jan. 11. He followed that up with a pin (6:51) against Missouri Valley’s Eric Gordon on the Mocs’ trip to Columbia, Mo., on Jan. 18. Later that evening, Cleveland won a major decision against Missouri’s No. 12 Marcus Hoehn 14-5. Cleveland dropped ASU’s Mike Kessler in a major decision 19-8 and won a decision (13-6) over UNCG’s Chris Bencivenga. Cleveland ended the month with a technical fall (3:23) against The Citadel’s Derek Royster and a pin (3:31) against Matt David. The win over David was the 50th of Cleveland’s career.
Garvin Named December Wrestler of the Month
Senior Seth Garvin was the Southern Conference Wrestler of the Month for December 2008. Garvin posted a record of 5-2 with three pins. He started off December with victories over opponents from Cumberland and Gardner-Webb in non-conference matches. At the Midlands Championships in Evanston, Ill., a few days before the new year, Garvin won his first three matches, including a victory over No. 10 Trevor Stewart of Central Michigan.
The Chattanooga Mocs wrestling team took on all comers this season with a traditionally tough schedule. They went against No. 25 Kent State, No. 11 Northwestern, No. 6 Nebraska, No. 10 Oklahoma, No. 12 Missouri and No. 3 Cornell. UTC also faced No. 2 Iowa State on Feb. 13 and No. 21 Northern Iowa on Feb. 14.