The short-handed Mocs welcomed two new faces to the lineup today. Senior transfer Manny Ramirez (Fayetteville, N.C.) competed in his first match at UTC while freshman Cory Canada (Ringgold, Ga.) stepped in at 197 for the injured Niko Brown (Kissimmee, Fla.).
Ramirez joined the Mocs at the semester break after transferring from UNC Greensboro. He was cleared to compete by the NCAA this week and was quickly thrown into the mix. With UTC leading 18-13 and three matches left, he went up against The Citadel's Richard Alarcon.
Last year, Ramirez defeated Alarcon 6-4 in overtime in the dual between the Spartans and the Bulldogs. Despite not competing for nearly 11 months, Ramirez was able to put himself in a position to repeat that same performance today. Alarcon got to Ramirez's legs with 15 second left in regulation, but Ramirez fought off the takedown and won the match in overtime. That put UTC in front 21-13 with two bouts left, all but sealing the team win.
"Manny's win was huge," stated head coach Heath Eslinger. "For him to come in a give us a lift like that was big. We are going to need him the rest of the way so it was for him to get off with a solid start."
The match started at 149 and the Mocs' seniors set the tone early. Kelly Felix (Franklin, Tenn.) posted a technical fall against Seth Vernon in the first match. Dan Waddell (Chattanooga, Tenn.) followed that with a 3-1 decision over Pierre Frazile at 157 while Brandon Wright capped off the opening run with a 12-3 major decision over Michael Harper at 165.
"Our seniors got us going quickly today," stated Eslinger. "They gave us a lead and a cushion we needed before getting to the best part of The Citadel's lineup."
Leading 12-0, the Mocs went up against the first of two ranked Bulldogs. No. 19 Turtogtokh Luvsandorj pinned UTC's Levi Clemons (Kissimmee, Fla.) at 174 to cut the advantage in half. Chattanooga junior Robert Prigmore (Southlake, Texas) came right back with a pin at 184 for his eight-straight win."
"Prigmore's pin was big because it negated their fall at '74," explained Eslinger. "After that, we felt like it was going to be tough for them to catch us the rest of the way."
The Citadel did manage to grab the next two matches. Kelby Smith defeated Canada 12-3 while No. 19 Andrew Delaney beat Kevin Malone (Carrollton, Ohio) 6-3 at heavyweight. After Ramirez won at 125, the Mocs' 14th-ranked freshman Nick Soto (Spring Hill, Fla.) battled to a 3-1 decision over Kyle Casaletto at 133.
"Nick had a tough match and they had a good game plan for us at 133," continued Eslinger. "He is winning a lot of the close matches and that is what you are going to have to do if you want to be an All-American."
Soto improves to 20-4 overall with his seventh win in a row. He is 6-0 in matches decided by two points or less this season. Sophomore Shawn Greevy (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) closed out the win with a 7-1 decision over Jordan Dix.
The Mocs will now turn their attention to Appalachian State (9-3, 3-0 SoCon) who visits Maclellan Gym on Sunday, Feb. 5, at 2:00 p.m. Chattanooga can wrap up a share of the SoCon regular season championship with a win over the Mountaineers. Tickets for the match are available now on GoMocs.com.
Chattanooga 27 - The Citadel 13
149: Kelly Felix (UTC) - Tech Fall 20-4 (6:39) - Seth Vernon (The Citadel) - UTC 5-0
157: Daniel Waddell (UTC) - Dec. 3-1 - Pierre Frazile (The Citadel) - UTC 8-0
165: Brandon Wright (UTC) - MD 12-3 - Michael Harper (The Citadel) - 12-0
174: No. 19 Turtogtokh Luvsandorj (The Citadel) - Fall 5:35 - Levi Clemons (UTC) - 12-6
184: Robert Prigmore (UTC) - Fall 6:22 - Josh Tuck (The Citadel) - UTC 18-6
197: Kelby Smith (The Citadel) - MD 12-3 - Cory Canada (UTC) - UTC 18-10
285: No. 18 Andrew Delaney (The Citadel) - Dec. 6-3 - Kevin Malone (UTC) - UTC 18-13
125: Manuel Ramirez (UTC) - Dec. 7-5 (OT) - Richard Alarcon Jr. (The Citadel) - 21-13
133: No. 19 Nick Soto (UTC) - Dec. 3-1 - Kyle Casaletto (The Citadel) - UTC 24-13
141: Shawn Greevy (UTC) - Dec. 7-1 - Jordan Dix (The Citadel) - UTC 27-13