The Chattanooga Mocs are set to participate in the 2009 NCAA Wrestling Championships in St. Louis, Mo. on March 19-21. UTC qualified six individuals for the championships, including senior Seth Garvin, juniors Cody Cleveland and Joey Knox and freshmen Demetrius Johnson, Dan Waddell and Jason McCroskey.
The 79th annual NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships will feature representatives from 76 teams. The Mocs’ are one of 27 squads to qualify at least six wrestlers for the event.
Chattanooga’s three upperclassmen are making a return trip to the NCAA Championships, including 2008 All-American Cody Cleveland. Cleveland finished eighth in the 141-pound weight class last season. Garvin dropped an overtime decision in the first round last season while Knox lost a major decision in the opening round.
UTC scored nine points and finished 37th overall in 2008. The Mocs best showing was a tie for 14th in 1983.
Live Coverage of NCAA Div. I Wrestling Championships Presented in HD on ESPNU, ESPN, ESPN2
ESPNU, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN360.com will combine for expanded live coverage of the 79th annual NCAA Div. I Wrestling Championships on Friday, March 20, and Saturday, March 21, from the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. For the first time, all 11 hours of coverage on ESPNU, ESPN and ESPN2 will be presented in high definition.
Also for the first time, ESPN2 will telecast the semifinals along with ESPNU. The quarterfinals will air Friday, March 20, at 11 a.m. ET on ESPNU and ESPN360.com, and the semifinals at 7 p.m. on ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN360.com. For the third consecutive year, the semifinals will be telecast in a side-by-side format, allowing viewers to see both semifinal matches in each weight class at the same time, both on ESPNU and ESPN2.
ESPNU will telecast the Championship Medal Round on Saturday, March 21, at 10:30 a.m., and the hunt for the Div. I title culminates with the Finals at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN. During the Finals, two referees per match each will wear a microphone, providing fans with even more access to and understanding of the action.
ESPN360.com, ESPN’s broadband sports television network, once again will complement the ESPNU HD, ESPN2 HD and ESPN HD telecasts with unparalleled access to all rounds of the championships. ESPN360.com will provide live coverage of all four mats during the quarterfinals and both mats in the semifinals, offering users the option to select the match they want to see.
Dave Armstrong will serve as play-by-play announcer alongside analysts Tim Johnson and Olympic gold medalist Jeff Blatnick, with reporter Quint Kessenich. For ESPN360.com coverage, 1981 NCAA 134-pound champion wrestler Jim Gibbons, who coached the 1987 Iowa State Cyclones to the national title, returns as analyst and will be joined by play-by-play announcer Shawn Kenney.
NCAA Div. I Wrestling Championships TV Schedule
Fri., Mar 20
11 a.m. - Quarters – Live on ESPNU HD / ESPN360.com
7 p.m. - Semis – Live on ESPNU HD / ESPN2 HD / ESPN360.com
Sat., Mar 21
10:30 a.m. - Medal Round - Live ESPNU HD / ESPN360.com
6:30 p.m. - Finals – Live ESPN HD / ESPN360.com
Mocs Top Showings at the NCAAs
Since going Division I in wrestling in 1978, the Mocs have posted three top-25 showings at the NCAA Championships. UTC finished 14th in 1983, 21st in 2007 and tied for 21st in 2005. UTC’s best individual performance in the Division I era was a second place finish by Charlie Heard (118) in 1983.
Chattanooga had some strong teams in the Division II period of Mocs wrestling. UTC finished in the top-10 in each of its last three years in Division II. The Mocs were third in 1975, second in 1976 and ninth in 1977. Randy Batten was a three-time NCAA Division II champ at 118 from 1975-77. David Weeks was a two-time winner at 177 from 1975-76.
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 Southern Conference 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. SoCon 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 regular season with a 19-6 overall record. The Tullahoma, Tenn., native also posted a perfect 4-0 conference mark to earn his second All-SoCon honor.
He posted two more wins in the Southern Conference Championships to win the 141 title. He was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler at this year’s SoCon Tournament.
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 on the year. 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 Appalachian State.
UTC will send three freshmen - Johnson, Waddell, McCroskey - to the NCAA Championships.
• 125 - Freshman Demetrius Johnson has an 11-6 overall record on the year. He has 10 wins in his last 13 matches and is the Southern Conference Champion at 125. Johnson was also a member of the SoCon All-Freshman team. He is 0-3 against other qualifiers at 125 this season. His best showing was a 5-7 defeat against No. 10 Tyler Clark of Iowa State on Feb. 13. Below is a rundown of Johnson’s matches against NCAA Qualifiers.
Nicholas Bedelyon (Kent St. 11/15) - L-TF, 5:29
Troy Nickerson (COR 2/1) - L-F, 2:32
No. 10 Tyler Clark (ISU 2/1) - L-D, 7-5
• 141 - Junior Cody Cleveland, the 2008-09 SoCon co-Wrestler of the Year and the SoCon Championships Most Outstanding Wrestler, is 21-6 on the year. All six 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. He currently ranks No. 12 at 141. The 2008 All-American is looking to improve on his No. 8 finish at last year’s NCAA Championships. Cleveland has faced off nine times against seven NCAA qualifiers in 2008-09. He is 3-6 in those matches with two wins coming against SoCon foe Chris Bencivenga of UNC Greensboro. Below is a list of Cleveland’s matches against NCAA Qualifiers this season.
Mike Thorn (Minnesota 11/22) - L-D, 5-3
Christopher Diaz (Va. Tech. 11/30) - L-D, 6-8
Tony D’Alie (Central Michigan) - L-D, 8-3
No. 3 Nick Gallick (Iowa State) - L-D, 7-6
No.12 Marcus Hoehn (Missouri 1/18) - W-MD, 14-5
Chris Bencivenga (UNCG 1/25) - W-D, 13-6
No. 3 Nick Gallick (ISU 2/13) - L-MD, 12-0
Trent Washington (UNI 2/14) - L-D, 6-4
Chris Bencivenga (UNCG) - W-F, 2:19
• 149 - Dan Waddell is set to wrestle with a 15-11 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. Waddell is 0-5 against other NCAA Qualifiers this season. His match-by-match results against 2009 NCAA participants are listed below.
Peter Yates (Va. Tech. 11/30 - L-D, 1-8
No. 17 Henrick Barnes (Oregon State) 0 L-MD, 13-2
No. 15 Kyle Terry (Oklahoma 1/11) - L-MD, 14-3
Daniel Meagher (COR 2/1) - L-D, 10-6
No. 18 Mitch Mueller (ISU 2/13) - L-D, 9-2
• 157 - Junior Joey Knox will compete at 157. He was an All-SoCon performer with a 19-10 overall record and the SoCon Champ at 157. Seven of his 10 losses came against 2009 NCAA qualifiers. He is making a return trip to the NCAAs. Knox was ranked in the top-20 for the first half of the season. Knox is 2-7 against NCAA qualifiers this season. He posted wins against Northern Illinois’ Bryan Deutsch (TF-4:35) and Minnesota’s Tyler Safratowich (D-6-4) during the season. His match-by-match results against NCAA competition are listed below.
Bryan Deutsch (Northern Ill. 11/15) - W-TF, 4:35
Jason Welch (Northwestern 11/15) - L-MD, 10-1
No. 3 Jordan Burroughs (Nebraska 11/20) - L-MD, 17-7
Tyler Safratowich (Minnesota 11/22) - W-D, 6-4
Jesse Dong (Va. Tech. 11/30) - L-D, 4-7
Michael Chandler (Missouri 11/29) - L-D, 5-1
Chad Terry (Oklahoma 1/11) - L-D, 6-0
Jordan Leen (COR 2/1) - L-D, 8-2
No. 7 Cyler Sanderson (ISU 2/13) - L-D, 11-6
• 165 - Senior Seth Garvin leads the team in wins with a 23-9 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 is making his second trip to the NCAAs. He is 2-3 against NCAA qualifiers in 2008-09. His match-by-match results against the field are listed below.
No. 10 Trevor Stewart (Central Mich) - W-D, 12-8
Matt Pletcher (Rutgers) - W-D, 4-3
No. 3 Ryan Morningstar (Iowa) - L-D, 9-3
Keegan Davis (Oregon State) - L-MD, 8-0
No. 4 Moza Fay (UNI 2/14) - L-D, 9-3
• 174 - Freshman Jason McCroskey earned All-SoCon honors after posting a 21-10 mark and going 5-0 in the conference. McCroskey was the SoCon champ at 174 and a member of the SoCon All-Freshman team. McCroskey only faced two NCAA qualifiers this season. He dropped a 5-7 decision to Dorian Henderson of Missouri on Jan. 18. He also fell 4-5 to Cornell’s Steve Anceravage on Feb. 1.
Dorian Henderson (Missouri 1/18) - L-D, 7-5
Steve Anceravage (COR 2/1) - L-D, 5-4
Last Time Out
The Chattanooga wrestling teams continued to dominate the Southern Conference with its fifth consecutive title. Six Mocs won individual championships, leading UTC to 104 points in the event. UNC Greensboro finished in second place with a total of 74 while Appalachian State rounded out the top half with 63 points.
The Mocs brought one of the youngest teams in school history to the SoCon Championship meet. Chattanooga competed with six freshmen, a sophomore and just two juniors and a senior. Three of the six freshmen walked away with individual trophies while the six winners all earned automatic bids to the NCAA Championships.
“The boys did a good job and I am very proud of them,” stated head coach Chris Bono. “We dominated the conference and that was a goal of ours all season long. Now we have to move on and get ready for the NCAAs. Our goals are now all about making these guys All-Americans and NCAA Champions.”
Not only did UTC take the team title, the Mocs also swept the postseason awards. Bono was named the SoCon Coach of the Year. Junior Cody Cleveland earned the Wrestler of the Year and Jason McCroskey was tagged the Freshman of the Year.
The Mocs scored a huge upset at 125 with freshman Demetrius Johnson taking the title as the No. 3 seed. Johnson was 3-1 in SoCon action during the regular season but was forced to fight his way out of the middle of the bracket today. He started off with a first round pin against Appalachian State’s Austin Annas (4:31). He avenged his only conference loss when he defeated UNCG’s Mitchell Johnson (14-12) in the semifinals. Johnson concluded his run with a 7-3 decision over top-seeded Tyler Sim from The Citadel in the finals.
“We knew Demetrius had the talent, it was just a matter of keeping him healthy and keeping him on the mat,” added Bono. “He was able to do that this last month and his talent came through.”
Chattanooga also had a surprise showing at 133 when sophomore Josh Statum advanced to the finals. Statum, also a No. 3 seed, started with a 4-3 decision over The Citadel’s Richard Alarcon. He then upset second-seeded Casey Boyle of UNCG 9-5 in the semis. Appalachian State’s Frank Celorrio won the title 7-1 in the finals.
Cleveland dominated the 141 class, posting a major decision and a pin in the finals. He defeated ASU’s Michael Kessler 11-1 in the semifinals and dropped UNCG’s Chris Bencivenga at the 2:19 mark in the finals. Bencivenga and Cleveland shared the regular season wrestler of the year honors, despite the fact that Cleveland also won 13-6 in their other match this season. He made a statement today with his first period pin that he hopes to carry over to the NCAAs.
“It was a statement for Cody and the second year in a row he has won with a pin in the finals,” added Bono. He was by far class of the tournament.”
Freshman Dan Waddell was impressive in his run to the 149 title. He started off the day with a 5-4 decision in the semifinals over ASU’s Savva Kostis. He scored the Mocs second pin in the finals when he put the Spartan’s Ben Wilmore to the mat at the 5:54 mark.
Junior Joey Knox came from the No. 2 spot to win the 157 title. He started with a 7-6 decision over Appalachian State’s William Powell. He finished with a 7-1 decision over top-seeded Andrew Saunders from UNCG to earn his second straight trip to the NCAAs.
Senior Seth Garvin became a two-time SoCon champion when he won the 165 title. He won the 157-pound class last season. Garvin posted a major decision over The Citadel’s Derek Sickel in the semifinals. UTC’s lone senior in the starting lineup all year and the top-seed at the SoCon Championships, Garvin pinned the Spartan’s Edwin Hojilla at 6:51.
The Mocs final title was delivered by McCroskey at 174. He pinned his second round opponent, VMI’s Andrew Szymborski for the second time this season, at 5:30 in the semis. McCroskey went on to post a 6-0 shutout against The Citadel’s J.C. Oddo in the finals. Freshman Ethan Winel finished third at the 197 to round out the Mocs’ top-3 finishers.
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 is taking 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.