The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling team hits the road to face No. 9 Oklahoma this weekend. The Mocs are traveling to Norman, Okla., to take on the top-10 Sooners on Friday, Feb. 12, at 8:00 p.m. (E.S.T.) in McCasland Field House. Live scoring for the match will be available on GoMocs.com.
Chattanooga has won three-straight dual matches and owns a 10-6 overall record. The Mocs are 4-0 in the Southern Conference and have already clinched a tie for their sixth consecutive SoCon regular season title.
The Mocs are led by sophomore Brandon Wright, who is ranked No. 20 at 165-pounds in this week's IntermatWrestle.com top-20. Wright is 17-4 on the season and has won six consecutive matches. He has scored bonus points in four of his last six wins, including three pins.
Oklahoma is 14-2-1 on the year and 2-1-1 in Big 12 action. The Sooners defeated No. 17 Missouri 25-10 last weekend. The Mocs lost to Missouri at home 24-14 on Jan. 16. Oklahoma has defeated five top-20 teams this season. The Sooners have eight wrestlers currently ranked in the top-20, led by No. 3 Zack Bailey at 141 and No. 3 Kyle Terry at 149. Bailey is 20-5 on the season while Terry is 21-2.
Wright will put his No. 20 ranking up against 15th-ranked Tyler Caldwell in the 165-pound match. Wright is competing with a top-20 ranking for the first time in his career.
The Mocs are 0-2 all-time against Oklahoma, including a 23-14 loss at home on Jan. 11, 2009.
Mocs Probable Line-Up
125: Demetrius Johnson - So. - 17-8
Current SoCon Student-Athlete of the Week after posting a pin and an OT decision against Appalachian State and Northern Iowa last weekend...won four straight and eight of last 10...only two losses in that stretch were forfeits at the Midlands.
133: Josh Statum - Sr. - 13-7
Only senior still competing with injuries to Joey Knox and Cody Cleveland...won three-straight...4-0 in SoCon action...competed against Oklahoma last season, scoring an 8-5 decision against Brian Shelton.
141: Ben Johnson - So. - 2-2
Taken over at 141 after Cleveland's season-ending injury...won last two matches.
149: Dean Pavlou - Fr. - 18-10
Leads the team with 18 wins but has dropped three of last five.
157: Josh Condon - Fr - 12-3
Likely to go at 157...5-1 in dual meets...tied for the team lead with five pins.
Bond Davis - Jr. - 9-7
Back-up at 157 but could make his way into the line-up...dropped three of last four
165: No. 20 Brandon Wright - So. - 17-4
Ranked for the first week of his career according to IntermatWrestle.com Top-20... won six in a row and nine of last 11...competed against Oklahoma last season, walking over on a forfeit.
174: Jake Young - Fr. - 17-7
Spent time in the top-20 as a true freshman this season, but hs dropped five of his last six matches.
184: Jason McCroskey - So. - 12-10
2009 SoCon Freshman of the Year who has moved up to 184...scored a major decision against Northern Iowa in the final match of a 16-15 win.
197: Niko Brown - Fr. - 10-12
Competed in every dual match this season with an 8-8 record.
Robert Prigmore - So. - 0-0
Transferred to UTC from Lehigh prior to the 2010 spring semester.
285: Matt Lettner - Jr. - 3-5
3-3 mark in dual match appearances.
Tom Minwell - Jr. - 17-9
Among the team leaders in wins...5-5 in dual matches.
Oklahoma's Probable Line-Up
125: No. 18 Jarrod Patterson | Cushing, Okla. | 23-9
133: Kendric Maple | Wichita, Kan. | 28-7
141: No. 3 Zack Bailey | Kansas City, Mo. | 20-5
149: No. 3 Kyle Terry | Midwest City, Okla. | 21-2
157: No. 12 Shane Vernon | Broken Arrow, Okla. | 17-4
-or- Chad Terry | Midwest City, Okla. | 7-2
165: No. 15 Tyler Caldwell | Wichita, Kan. | 23-10
174: No. 15 Jeff James | El Reno, Okla. | 20-6
184: Erich Schmidtke | Aberdeen, Wash. | 14-13
197: No. 6 Eric Lapotsky | Mt. Carmel, Pa. | 19-5
285: No. 15 Nathan Fernandez | Lawton, Okla. | 22-9
SOCON WINNING STREAK STILL GOING
The Mocs are riding a 29-match Southern Conference winning streak. UTC's last loss to a conference opponent was a 27-13 set-back at The Citadel on Feb. 14, 2004. The last time UTC dropped a home match in league action was a 26-12 loss to VMI on Feb. 22, 2003.
JOHNSON NAMED SOCON STUDENT-ATHLETE OF THE WEEK
Demetrius Johnson was honored for the week of February 10. The award is given to the individual with at least a 3.2 grade-point-average who has the best performance in the recent competition. The sophomore from Memphis, Tenn., is majoring in criminal justice and has a 3.42 g.p.a. He finished the fall semester with a 4.0 g.p.a. and earned Dean's List honors. Johnson recorded a win in each of Chattanooga's victories over Northern Iowa and Appalachian State.
YOUNG NAMED SOCON WRESTLER OF THE MONTH/WEEK
Young was named the SoCon Wrestler of Month for November and the first Wrestler of the Week for the 2009-10 season. Young, who wrestles in the 174-pound weight class, opened his collegiate campaign with a 13-2 record, including a tournament title at the Hokie Open in his first event with the Mocs on Nov. 8. The Ooltewah, Tenn., native followed that performance with a 5-0 mark at the Indiana Duals, including a win over Indiana's 17th-ranked Trevor Perry. The true freshman's first two losses this season were a one-point (7-6) defeat against Virginia Tech's Anthony Trongone and a 3-1 decision to No. 1 ranked Mike Miller of Central Michigan.
CLEVELAND OUT FOR THE SEASON
Senior Cody Cleveland, the reigning Southern Conference Wrestler of the Year, is out for the rest of the 2009-10 season after suffering a knee injury in the Hoosier Duals. Cleveland was 8-0 on the year and ranked No. 9 in the nation when he injured his knee against Indiana's Daniel Monaco.
KNOX ALSO OUT FOR THE YEAR
Senior Joey Knox's career ended earlier this season due to an ongoing injury. He was the 2009 SoCon 157 champion and was 9-3 in 2009-10 before getting hurt. He posted a 4-0 record and won the Wolfpack Open's 157-pound class on Nov. 21. He only allowed one point in his four wins in the open tournament.
Young had an impressive start to his collegiate career, winning the 174 class at the 2009 Hokie Open. The Ooltewah, Tenn., native posted a 6-1 record in his first weekend of college wrestling.
MOCS PICKED TO WIN SIXTH STRAIGHT SOCON
The UTC wrestling team has been predicted to win the 2010 Southern Conference Wrestling championship, in voting by the league's head coaches. The Mocs, who carry a 25-match unbeaten streak in league dual matches into the season, have won the past five SoCon regular season and tournament championships. Under the direction of first-year head coach Heath Eslinger, UTC picked up four of the six first-place votes in the balloting.
FOUR MOCS ON THE PRESEASON ALL-SOCON TEAM
A two-time Outstanding Wrestler at the SoCon Tournament, senior Cody Cleveland was honored as the top wrestler at 141 pounds, and he was joined by teammates sophomore Demetrius Johnson (125), senior Joey Knox (157) and sophomore Jason McCroskey (184).