Wrestling Travels to The Citadel Sunday
Senior Kelly Felix
Courtesy: GoMocs.com
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling team will put its seven-match winning streak on the line when it visits The Citadel on Sunday, Jan. 29.  The Mocs (10-3, 3-0 SoCon) face the Bulldogs (5-6-1, 1-1 SoCon) in Charleston, S.C., at 2:00 p.m. (E.S.T.). 

Live scoring and pay-per-view live video will be available for this weekend's action.  Links can be found on the wrestling schedule page on GoMocs.com.  There is a $3.95 fee for the video for The Citadel match and the live scoring is free. 

125:  Manny Ramirez (Sr. - 0-0)
133:  No. 14 Nick Soto (Fr. - 19-4)
141:  Shawn Greevy (So. - 12-8)
149:  Kelly Felix (Sr. - 11-8)/Dean Pavlou (Jr. - 12-7)
157:  Dan Waddell (Sr. - 16-7)
165:  Brandon Wright (Sr. - 15-7)
174:  Levi Clemons (So. - 16-10)
184:  Robert Prigmore (Jr. - 17-8)
197:  Niko Brown (Jr. - 16-6)
285:  Kevin Malone (Fr. - 21-9)

The Mocs are riding their longest winning streak since the 2006-07 season when they ran off 11 in a row.  Chattanooga is also looking to extend its 38-match SoCon winning streak this weekend.  UTC has not lost a league contest since falling to The Citadel on Feb. 14, 2004, in Charleston, S.C.

The Mocs are led by three seniors in the middle of their lineup in Kelly Felix (Franklin, Tenn.) at 149, Dan Waddell (Chattanooga, Tenn.) at 157 and Brandon Wright (Germantown, Tenn.) at 165.  This trio has set the tone throughout the year, but a pair of freshman have also been impressive.  Nick Soto (Spring Hill, Fla.) is currently ranked No. 14 in the InterMat Top-20 at 133 while heavyweight Kevin Malone (Carrollton, Ohio) leads the team with a 21-9 record. 

The Mocs are the first team listed as receiving votes in this week's NWCA/USA Today Division I Coaches Top-25.  Chattanooga's seven-match winning steak has it on the verge of being ranked for the first time since the end of the 2007-08 season.  UTC finished that regular season No. 18 in the nation.  For a complete list of the rankings, check out page 4 of the .pdf of the Mocs wrestling match notes.     

The NCAA released the first of three coaches' panel rankings for the 2011-12 wrestling season on Jan. 20 and four Mocs were listed.  Nick Soto (No. 14 at 133), Dan Waddell (No. 28 at 157), Brandon Wright (No. 31 at 165) and Niko Brown (No. 30 at 197) were all included.  The final rankings will be one of the tools used as part of the selection process to determine the qualifiers for the 2012 Division I Wrestling Championships.

One more win and head coach Heath Eslinger will be tied for sixth with Ralph Manning (1991-95) on the Mocs all-time coaching victories list.  Eslinger is 32-19 (.627) in his third season at UTC.  Manning went 33-26 (.559) in five seasons with the Mocs.  

125:  Richard Alarcon (Sr. - 12-16)
133:  Kyle Casaletto (Fr. - 18-8)
141:  Jordan Dix (Jr. - 12-18)
149:  Seth Vernon (Sr. - 3-4)
157:  Pierre Frazile (Sr. - 14-15)
165:  Mike Harper (So. - 1-17)
174:  No. 19 Turtogtokh Luvsandorj (Jr. - 21-8)
184:  Josh Tuck (So. - 7-6)
197:  Kelby Smith (Sr. - 25-6)
285:  No. 19 Odie Delaney (Jr. - 16-2)

The Citadel has a tough lineup with two ranked individuals and another with 25 wins on the year.  The Bulldogs are led by a pair of juniors in Turtogtokh Luvsandorj (174) and Odie Delaney (285).  Both check in this week at No. 19 in the InterMat Top-20.   Senior Kelby Smith leads the squad with a 25-6 record at 197. 

The Bulldogs split two matches at home last weekend, including a tough 21-19 loss to Appalachian State and a 36-6 win over VMI.  The Citadel competed at the Southern Scuffle earlier in the season, placing 16th in the event held at the McKenzie Arena in Chattanooga. 

The Mocs hold a 30-3 advantage in the all-time series with the Bulldogs.  However, The Citadel is the last team to defeat UTC in a conference match, pulling off a 27-13 win on Feb. 14, 2004.     

The long awaited arrival of senior Manny Ramirez is set to take place this weekend.  The transfer from UNC Greensboro and  2011 SoCon Champion was cleared this week by the NCAA and will make his UTC debut on Sunday. 

Ramirez is set to face Bulldog senior Richard Alarcon.  Last season, Ramirez came away with an 8-6 overtime win against Alarcon. 

Freshman Nick Soto (Spring Hill, Fla.) is holding steady at No. 14 in the InterMat Top-20 for the fourth week in a row.  He is also No. 14 in the NCAA Coaches Rankings released on Jan. 20.  He is currently 19-4 overall.     

Soto will be looking to extend his seven-match winning streak against another talented freshman in The Citadel's Kyle Casaletto.  Casaletto has an 18-8 mark and has won seven of his last eight matches.

Sophomore Shawn Greevy (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) is also on a hot-streak, having also won seven in a row.  He is looking to add to his 12-8 overall record and is 3-0 on SoCon action. 

Greevy will go against junior Jordan Dix who is 11-17 on the year.  Dix is 3-8 since Jan. 1, including a 1-2 mark at the Southern Scuffle.     

Senior Kelly Felix (Franklin, Tenn.) is being challenged for the 149 spot by junior Dean Pavlou (Cleveland, Tenn.) thanks to Pavlou's sixth place finish at the Southern Scuffle.  Felix is 11-8 overall, 8-4 in duals, while Pavlou has a 12-7 mark. 

Senior Seth Vernon, a mid-year transfer from Oklahoma, will suit up for The Citadel.  He is 3-4 overall, but won both of his matches last weekend.

Senior Dan Waddell (Chattanooga, Tenn.) is a preseason All-SoCon selection and is 16-7 overall.  He had an impressive fourth place showing at the Scuffle and wins in 10 of his last 12 matches.  He is currently No. 28 in the NCAA Coaches rankings. 

Waddell will go against Pierre Frazile who is 14-15.  Frazile just snapped a four-match drought with a win against VMI. 

Brandon Wright (Germantown, Tenn.) is 15-7, including six straight wins.  He is currently No. 31 in the NCAA Coaches Rankings.  He will face sophomore Mike Harper who is 1-17 on the year.   

Sophomore Levi Clemons (Kissimmee, Fla.) is one of the hottest Mocs on the team right now.  He has a seven-match winning streak and a 16-10 overall tally. 

Clemons will be facing a tough task against No. 19 Turtogtokh Luvsandorj.  Luvsandorj is 21-8 on the year, but just lost in his last outing against VMI. 

Junior Robert Prigmore (Southlake, Texas) is 17-8 and also on a seven-match winning steak.  He won all four of his bouts at the Lone Star Duals and has wins in 15 of his last 18 outings.  He also won the Davidson Open earlier in the year.

Prigmore will go against sophomore Josh Tuck.  Tuck is 7-6 overall, but just one win in his last five appearances. 

Junior Niko Brown (Kissimmee, Fla.) is have an outstanding season at 16-6.  He suffered a knee injury at Campbell and did not compete against Davidson.  He is No. 30 in the latest NCAA Coaches Rankings.   

Senior Kelby Smith will put his impressive 25-6 record on the line against UTC.  He is currently on an eight-match winning steak with victories in nine of his last 10 outings.  He is also 12-0 in duals this season.   

Freshman Kevin Malone (Carrollton, Ohio) has a fifth-place finish at the Hokie Open and a third place result at the Davidson Open on his resume.  He leads the team with a 21-9 record, and is looking to improve on his 8-4 mark in dual matches. 

This may be the marquis match of the day as 19th-ranked junior Odie Delaney takes the mat for The Citadel.  This is a rematch of the Dec. 3 Davidson Open when Delaney pinned Malone early in the third period.   

Delaney is 16-2 overall and riding an eight-match winning streak.  He has recorded an impressive run of five straight pins and is 9-0 in dual matches.

The Mocs are no strangers to tough competition, having faced at least one opponent ranked in the top-10 in each of the last 10 seasons.  The last time UTC posted a win over a top-10 opponent was Nov. 10, 2007, when they defeated No. 9 Ohio State 19-16 at home. 

Chattanooga's 22-15 upset win over No. 12 Stanford on Nov. 20 in Maclellan Gym was the first win over a ranked team since UTC defeated No. 9 Ohio State 19-16 on Nov. 10, 2007 in Chattanooga.    

UTC has a pair of Mocs who have been named SoCon Wrestlers of the Week this season.  Junior Niko Brown took the first honor when he pinned Alen Yen (1:55) to clinch an upset win over No. 12 Stanford on Nov. 20.  Freshman Nick Soto grabbed back-to-back honors, the latter after placing second at the Southern Scuffle.

The UTC wrestling team had 17 members on the Athletics Director's Honor Roll for the 2011 fall semester.  The student-athletes recognized for having a 3.0+ semester grade-point-average include Niko Brown, Joe Burns, Levi Clemons, Cole Hayes, Kelly Felix, Alex Kooser, John Lampe, Dean Pavlou, Jared Presley, Bradley Rogers, Austin Sams, Nick Soto, Blake Thomas, Dan Waddell, Adam Wilson, Brandon Wright and Jake Young.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling team was selected as the preseason favorite to win the Southern Conference title by the league's coaches.  UTC has won eight straight SoCon Championships and   27 overall since joining the league in 1978.  Head coach Heath Eslinger's squad, which claimed both the regular season and tournament crowns in 2011, received four of seven first-place votes and 34 points overall, narrowly edging Appalachian State. Chattanooga carries a seven-year, 35-match SoCon duals win streak into the season.

The Mocs placed four wrestlers on the 10-member preseason all-conference squad, including three who were previous SoCon tournament champions. Demetrius Johnson was the coaches' pick at 125 pounds along with Dean Pavlou at 149. The Mocs' Dan Waddell was the representative at 157 pounds while teammate Niko Brown was chosen at 197.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling team ranked No. 7 in the nation in grade-point-average for the 2010-11 academic year according to the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA).  The Mocs had a 3.14 cumulative g.p.a. among its top twelve wrestlers for the 2010-11 academic year.  The team g.p.a. is comprised of 12 student athletes, including the 10 wrestlers that were the entries in the NCAA tournament conference qualifier. If teams had less than 10 entries for their respective qualifier, they may fill those spots with wrestlers that competed in at least one varsity dual during the season.

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