Wrestling Wraps Up Regular Season at VMI
Senior Josh Statum put his 4-0 SoCon mark up against the Keydets on Friday.
Courtesy: GoMocs.com

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling team concludes the 2009-10 regular season with a trip to VMI this weekend.  The Mocs will take on the Keydets on Friday, Feb. 19 at 7:30 p.m. (E.S.T.) in Lexington, Va. 

Chattanooga is 10-7 in dual matches this season and owns a perfect 4-0 record in Southern Conference action.  With a win, UTC will capture its sixth consecutive outright SoCon regular season title. 

The Mocs are led by sophomore Brandon Wright, who is ranked No. 19 at 165-pounds in this week's IntermatWrestle.com top-20.  Wright is 17-5 on the season and has won six of his last seven matches.  He has scored bonus points in four of his last six wins, including three pins. 

VMI is 5-8 on the year and 1-3 in SoCon action.  They dropped a pair of league duals last weekend, falling to UNG Greensboro (37-13) and Appalachian State (22-15).  Junior Josh Wine leads the Keydets with a 20-1 record at heavyweight. 

The Mocs are 14-2 all-time against VMI, including a 43-3 win in Chattanooga last season.  The only possible rematch from last year's dual meet with VMI would come at 125.  Demetrius Johnson defeated John Pope in a 12-2 major decision in the 2009 meeting. 

Mocs Probable Line-Up
125:  Demetrius Johnson - So. - 17-9, 4-0 SoCon
        SoCon Student-Athlete of the Week after posting a pin and an OT decision against Appalachian State and Northern Iowa on Feb. 6...won four of his last five matches and eight of his last 11.         

133:  Josh Statum - Sr. - 13-8, 4-0 SoCon
        Only senior still competing with injuries to Joey Knox and Cody Cleveland...won three of his last four matches.

141:  Ben Johnson - So. - 2-2, 1-1 SoCon
        Taken over at 141 after Cleveland's season-ending injury...won two of last three.

149:  Dean Pavlou - Fr. - 18-11, 3-1 SoCon
        Leads the team with 18 wins but has dropped four of last six.

157:  Josh Condon - Fr - 12-4, 2-0 SoCon 
        Likely to go at 157...5-2 in dual meets...tied for the team lead with five pins.

        Bond Davis - Jr. - 9-7, 0-1 SoCon
        Back-up at 157 but could make his way into the line-up...dropped three of last four

165:  No. 19 Brandon Wright - So. - 17-5, 4-0 SoCon
        Ranked for the second straight week according to IntermatWrestle.com Top-20...won five of six and 10 of last 12.

174:  Jake Young - Fr. - 17-8, 3-1 SoCon
        Spent time in the top-20 as a true freshman this season, but hs dropped six of his   last seven matches.

184:  Jason McCroskey - So. - 13-10, 2-2 SoCon
        2009 SoCon Freshman of the Year who has moved up to 184...only Moc to post a win at Oklahoma last weekend. 

197:  Niko Brown - Fr. - 10-13, 4-0 SoCon
        Competed in every dual match this season with an 8-9 record.

285:  Matt Lettner - Jr. - 3-6, 1-1 SoCon
        3-4 mark in dual match appearances.

        Tom Minwell - Jr. - 17-9, 2-0 SoCon
        Among the team leaders in wins...5-5 in dual matches...won four of last five.

VMI's Probable Line-Up
125:  John Pope - Jr. - 11-18, 1-3 SoCon
133:  Luke Todd - So. - 6-13, 1-1 SoCon
141:  David Yost - So. - 11-12, 2-2 SoCon
149:  Michael Long - Sr. - 12-14, 2-2 SoCon
157:  Joe Munno - So. - 6-12, 1-1 SoCon
165:  Conor Black - Fr. - 8-11, 0-4 SoCon
174:  Evan Dill - Fr. - 3-12, 0-3 SoCon
        John Dommert - Fr. - 0-5, 0-0 SoCon
184:  Vinnie Gallo - So. - 5-17, 1-2 SoCon
197:  Ronnie Ellsworth - Jr. - 16-9, 2-1 SoCon
285:  Josh Wine - Jr. - 20-1, 4-0 SoCon

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. 

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 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.

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.

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. 

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. 

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).

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