Wrestling Grabs SoCon Title With 31-9 Win at VMI
Freshman Josh Condon
Courtesy: GoMocs.com

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling team captured its sixth consecutive Southern Conference regular season title with a 31-9 win at VMI tonight.  The Mocs improve to 11-7 overall and 5-0 in league action.  It is the 30th straight win in SoCon action for Chattanooga.

"Anytime you can win a conference title, it is great for the program, the university and the community," stated first-year head coach Heath Eslinger.  "We have a lot of areas we need to improve on before the conference tournament in two weeks, but I am excited for our guys and what they accomplished this season."

Sophomore Demetrius Johnson opened the match with a 9-6 decision over John Pope.  Johnson improves to 5-0 in conference action and 18-8 overall.  Senior Josh Statum also improved to 5-0 in SoCon matches with his 14-4 major decision over Luke Todd.  It was his first bonus points in a dual match since posting a major decision against The Citadel on Nov. 17. 

David Yost pulled the Keydets to 7-3 with a 9-5 decision against Chattanooga sophomore Ben Johnson at 141.  Moc freshman Dean Pavlou answered with a 7-4 win against Michael Long at 149.  Fellow freshman Josh Condon followed that up with a 9-4 win over Joe Munno at 157.  Condon also went undefeated in SoCon action with a 3-0 record this season.

Sophomore Brandon Wright, currently ranked No. 19 in the nation at 165, also improved to 5-0 in the SoCon tonight.  He posted a 10-4 win over Connor Black to run his season record to 18-5 overall. 

Freshman Jake Young snapped a two-match skid with a 15-9 decision against Evan Dill.  It was his highest offensive output since scoring 20 points in a technical fall against Davidson's Jorge Estrada on Nov. 18. 

The Mocs led 19-3 after seven matches and were ready to put things away in the 184 contest.  Sophomore Jason McCroskey was up 12-3 against Vinnie Gallo, but was pinned at the 4:44 mark.  That allowed VMI to close the gap to 19-9 with two matches left.  However, the Keydets did not make a final push, forfeiting the last two contests to give UTC the 31-9 win.

Chattanooga will now prepare for the Southern Conference Championships on Saturday, March 6.  The one-day tournament will be held at Davidson in two weeks. 

Chattanooga 31 - VMI 9
125:  Demetrius Johnson (UTC) - Dec. 9-6 - John Pope (VMI) - UTC 3-0
133:  Josh Statum (UTC) - MD 14-4 - Luke Todd (VMI) - UTC 7-0
141:  David Yost (VMI) - Dec. 9-5 - Ben Johnson (UTC) - UTC 7-3
149:  Dean Pavlou (UTC) - Dec. 7-4 - Michael Long (VMI) - UTC 10-3
157:  Josh Condon (UTC) - Dec. 9-4 - Joe Munno (VMI) - UTC 13-3
165:  Brandon Wright (UTC) - Dec. 10-4 - Connor Black - UTC 16-3
174:  Jake Young (UTC) - Dec. 15-9 - Evan Dill (VMI) - UTC 19-3
184:  Vinnie Gallo (VMI) - Fall 4:44 - Jason McCroskey (UTC) - UTC 19-9
197:  Niko Brown (UTC) - Forfeit - UTC 25-9
285:  Tom Minwell (UTC) - Forfeit - UTC 31-9

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