The Chattanooga Mocs wrestling team returns home for three dual matches this weekend. The Mocs will take on Campbellsville and The Citadel on Friday, Jan. 30 and No. 3 Cornell on Sunday, Feb. 1. Friday’s action begins at 6:00 p.m. (E.S.T.) in McKenzie arena against The Citadel. UTC then takes on Campbellsville at 7:30 p.m. Sunday’s match with second-ranked Cornell is set for 1:00 p.m. in MacLellan Gym.
All three matches will be streamed live on GoMocs.com and live stats will also be available for each contest. For links to the streaming and live stats, visit the wrestling schedule page on GoMocs.com.
The Mocs enter the week with a 9-7 overall record and in first place at 3-0 in Southern Conference action. A pair of Chattanooga wrestlers are ranked in this week’s Intermat Top-20. Junior Cody Cleveland is No. 9 at 141 while fellow junior Joey Knox is No. 20 at 157.
The Citadel is 5-3-1 on the season and will compete in its Southern Conference opener against the Mocs. Both the Bulldogs and UTC have faced Gardner-Webb and Virginia Tech this season. The Mocs fell to the Hokies (37-0) on Nov. 30 while Virginia Tech defeated The Citadel (29-9) on Jan. 10. Both Chattanooga (41-6 on Dec. 17) and The Citadel (41-3 on Jan. 10) downed Gardner-Webb in dual meets.
Chattanooga is 14-2 all-time against The Citadel, including a four-match winning streak. The last time the Bulldogs defeated UTC was a 27-13 setback on Feb. 14, 2004, in Charleston, S.C. That match also marked the last time UTC lost a Southern Conference battle. The Mocs have won 23 consecutive Southern Conference meets.
Campbellsville enters the match with a No. 18 national ranking in the latest NAIA polls. The Tigers currently have two wrestlers ranked in the NAIA individual top-20. Junior Brian Wells is No. 7 in the 165-pound class while senior Glen Jackson is ranked No. 5 at 184.
The Mocs welcome third-ranked Cornell to MacLellan Gym on Sunday. Chattanooga Mocs Rally Towels will be given out to the first 500 fans through the door at the Cornell match.
The Big Red is 5-2 on the season with their only losses coming to No. 1 Iowa and No. 12 Missouri. Seven Cornell wrestlers are ranked in this week’s top-20, including junior Troy Nickerson (No. 2 - 125), sophomore Mike Grey (No. 12 - 133), senior Jordan Leen (No. 5 - 157), sophomore Matt Lewnes (No. 1 - 165), senior Steve Anceravage (No. 6 - 174), junior Justin Kerber (No. 17 - 184) and senior Zach Hammond (No. 12 - 285).
Leen, the 2008 NCAA Champion at 157, is a native of Soddy Daisy, Tenn. and a 2004 graduate of the Baylor School in Chattanooga. Another local connection on the Cornell roster is sophomore Corey Manson. Manson lists his hometown as Lookout Mountain, Tenn., and is a 2006 Baylor graduate.
Last Time Out
The Chattanooga wrestling team took over first place in the Southern Conference with a 28-18 win over UNC-Greensboro on Sunday, Jan. 25. The Mocs improved to 9-7 on the season and 3-0 in SoCon action while the Spartans dropped to 2-1 in league meets and 2-10 overall.
The Mocs fell behind early in the match, getting pinned at 125 and dropping the 133 match. Trailing 9-0 after two classes, the Mocs needed big wins in the next two matches to get back into the meet.
All-American junior Cody Cleveland stopped the bleeding with a 13-6 decision over Chris Bencivenga in the 141 match. Freshman Dan Waddell was back in the line-up at 149 after missing the previous three matches due to injuries. He earned a 6-5 decision over Ben Wilmore to pull the Mocs to within 9-6. Wilmore used a two-point near-fall to go up 5-4 headed into the final period, but Waddell was able to score a reversal with a minute remaining to pull ahead, 6-5.
Chattanooga got into real trouble in the 157-pound match when freshman Brandon Wright was pinned by Andrew Saunders. After scoring an early takedown, Saunders ran a half nelson to pin Wright with just nine seconds left in the first period.
With UTC trailing 15-6 and planning to forfeit at 184, head coach Chris Bono had to make a shift in his line-up. He inserted junior Joey Knox at 165 and bumped senior Seth Garvin (174) and freshman Jason McCroskey (184) up a weight class. The move resulted in two technical falls and a pin for the Mocs.
Knox, ranked No. 19 in the nation at 157, used three takedowns and three near-falls to score a 15-0 technical fall over Victor Hojilla. It was Knox’s first action since suffering a high-ankle sprain against Oklahoma on Jan. 11, moving the score to 15-11.
The Mocs took their first lead of the afternoon after Garvin recorded his own, 15-0, technical fall. Garvin, ranked No. 19 at 165, scored four near-falls as he defeated Byron Sigmon at 174 pounds to give Chattanooga a 16-15 lead in the team score.
McCroskey pushed the Mocs lead to 22-15 after recording a third period pin against Mikal McKee. After trailing 1-0 heading into the third period, McKee chose neutral and scored an early takedown before McCroskey scored an escape to knot the match at 1. McCroskey then scored a takedown and put McKee directly to his back for the pin.
Freshman Ethan Winel made it back-to-back pins for Chattanooga after downing Ryan Sughrue at 197 pounds. Trailing 3-2 in the third period, Winel used an inside trip to put Sughrue to his back and extend the Mocs lead to 28-15.
In the final match of the afternoon, UNCG’s Joe Sheffield scored a third period takedown to win, 3-1, against freshman Cody Sliger at 285 pounds.
• 125 - Freshman Demetrius Johnson went 1-1 in SoCon matches against ASU and UNCG last weekend. He is now 4-4 on the season
• 133 - Sophomore Josh Statum dropped both of his matches at Appalachian State and UNC-Greensboro last week. He is currently 3-6 on the year and looking for his first SoCon win.
• 141 - Junior Cody Cleveland is hitting his stride at the right time, ranking No. 9 in his class this week. He has won 11 of his last 12 matches, including sweeping both last weekend at ASU and UNCG. He is undefeated in SoCon matches at 3-0 and 16-4 overall.
• 149 - One of two freshman will go at 149 this weekend, Dan Waddell or Kelly Felix. Waddell is 11-9 on the year, while Felix has a 4-4 mark.
• 157 - 20th-ranked junior Joey Knox or freshman Brandon Wright could be pencilled in at 157. Wright split both of his matches at 157 last week, while Knox got the win at 165 at UNCG. Know was a last-minute addition to the line-up at 165 in the match with the Spartans.
• 165 - Senior Seth Garvin leads the team in wins with a 17-7 record this season. He was the SoCon wrestler of the month for December.
• 174 - Freshman Jason McCroskey is 16-7 on the season, winning three of his last four matches. He is currently 3-0 in SoCon action.
• 184 - Freshman Tyler Roberson is scheduled to go at 184 despite being injured for the last five dual meets. He is 4-5 on the year.
• 197 - Freshman Ethan Winel is again slated for the 197 spot for UTC. He is 8-10 in his first year on the collegiate mat.
• 285 - Freshman Cody Sliger is 8-11 in 2008-09 and continues to gain valuable experience at the Division I level.
Bid on the Ultimate Wrestling Game Day Experience
Fans can bid on the Ultimate Wrestling Game Day Experience on GoMocs.com for the Cornell match. The Experience includes two (2) tickets with premium couch seats beside the mat, locker room access for pre-game preparations with the team, two (2) vouchers, each for the following: one (1) small coca-cola product, one (1) small popcorn, and one (1) order of nachos, hostess will deliver your food to your seats and also be available if you are in need to purchase any items from the concession stand, photo taken with Coach Bono and two (2) Mocs Wrestling T-shirts. Bidding ends on Thursday, Jan. 29 at 12:00 p.m. (E.S.T.).
UTC will likely field six freshmen - Johnson, Waddell, McCroskey, Roberson, Winel, Sliger - and one sophomore - Statum - in the matches this weekend.
Garvin Named December Wrestler of the Month
Senior Seth Garvin has been named 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. He has a team-high 15 individual wins so far this season.
The Chattanooga Mocs wrestling team is taking on all comers this season with a traditionally tough schedule. They have already had matches against No. 25 Kent State, No. 11 Northwestern, No. 6 Nebraska, No. 10 Oklahoma and No. 12 Missouri. The Mocs are scheduled to face on No. 3 Cornell at home on Feb. 1 and travel to No. 2 Iowa State on Feb. 13 and No. 22 Northern Iowa on Feb. 14.
Southern Conference Dominance
UTC has a 23-match unbeaten streak in Southern Conference action. The Mocs have posted a 22 -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 13-0 vs. SoCon teams in just over two years at UTC. The Mocs have won the last four SoCon titles.