Chattanooga is currently 11-6 overall and 4-1 in the Southern Conference. A victory on Monday will give UTC its most wins under third-year head coach Heath Eslinger and the most since also posting 12 in 2009.
UTC will need some help to grab its eight-straight SoCon regular season title. Appalachian State is currently 5-0 in the league, 11-4 overall, with its only remaining match against Davidson at home on Sunday, Feb. 19. The Wildcats are currently 3-12 on the season, and at 0-4 in the SoCon are not likely to upset the first place Mountaineers.
UTC is 20-7 all-time against VMI, including eight consecutive wins in the series. The last time the Mocs lost to the Keydets was a 12-26 setback on Feb. 22, 2003 in Chattanooga. The last time UTC lost in Lexington was a 9-26 defeat on Feb. 9, 1997.
A live scoring link will be available on the wrestling schedule page on GoMocs.com. Live video will also be available on a pay-per-view basis. .
CHATTANOOGA PROBABLE LINEUP:
125: Manny Ramirez (Sr. - 3-1)
133: No. 17 Nick Soto (Fr. - 21-6)
141: Shawn Greevy (So. - 14-10)
149: Kelly Felix (Sr. - 13-10)/Dean Pavlou (Jr. - 12-7)
157: Dan Waddell (Sr. - 18-9)
165: Brandon Wright (Sr. - 17-9)
174: Levi Clemons (So. - 17-13)
184: Robert Prigmore (Jr. - 18-11)
197: Niko Brown (Jr. - 16-6)/Cory Canada (Fr. - 0-4)
285: Kevin Malone (Fr. - 23-11)
MOCS ARE RECEIVING VOTES IN THE NWCA TOP-25
The Mocs are one of four teams listed as receiving votes in this week's NWCA/USA Today Division I Coaches Top-25. Chattanooga has won eight of its last 11 matches and is 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.
FOUR MOCS IN THE TOP-33 OF THE COACHES RANKINGS
The NCAA released the second of three coaches' panel rankings for the 2011-12 wrestling season on Feb. 7 and four Mocs were listed. Nick Soto (No. 12 at 133), Dean Pavlou (No. 32 at 149), Dan Waddell (No. 28 at 157) and Brandon Wright (No. 32 at 165) 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.
ESLINGER MOVING UP THE ALL-TIME WINS LIST
Head coach Heath Eslinger is currently tied for sixth with Ralph Manning (1991-95) on the Mocs all-time coaching victories list. Eslinger is 33-22 (.600) in his third season at UTC. Manning went 33-26 (.559) in five seasons with the Mocs. Eslinger needs six more wins to catch his predecessor, Chris Bono who went 39-17 in three seasons from 2007-09.
VMI PROBABLE LINEUP:
133: Joe Jarrells (Fr. - 1-7)
141: Zeb Stewart (Fr. - 15-16)
149: David Yost (Sr. - 9-18)
157: Ted Gottwald (So. - 7-14)
165: Carry Joseph (Fr. - 14-14)
174: Matthew Brock (Sr. - 28-12)
184: Conor Black (Jr. - 7-4)
197: Urayoan Garcia (Fr. - 2-11)
285: Juan Adams (So. - 2-3) or Andrew Embree (So. - 18-14)
Manny Ramirez has had a solid start to his short UTC career. The senior transfer from UNC Greensboro is 3-1 overall, with his only loss coming in overtime. He scored an overtime win that all but sealed the Mocs 27-13 team victory at the Citadel in his debut. He then recorded a major decision in his second match against Appalachian State. The transfer from UNC Greensboro and 2011 SoCon Champion is set to make another run at a SoCon Championship.
He might get this week off as VMI does not currently list anyone competing at 125.
Freshman Nick Soto (Spring Hill, Fla.) dropped to No. 17 in the most recent InterMat Top-20. It is the seventh week in a row he has been ranked. He is also No. 12 in the NCAA Coaches Rankings released on Feb. 7. He is currently 21-6 overall but suffered a pair of falls at the NWCA National Duals. Of his six losses, four have been pins.
Soto will likely face freshman Joe Jarrells. Jarrells is 1-7 on the year and 0-2 in SoCon action.
Sophomore Shawn Greevy (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) split a pair of matches at last week's NWCA National Duals to improve to 13-9 on the year and 4-1 in SoCon matches.
Greevy will take on freshman Zeb Stewart who is 15-16 overall and 3-2 in league action.
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 13-10 overall, 8-5 in duals, while Pavlou has a 16-6 mark. Pavlou broke into the NCAA Coaches Rankings at No. 32 in the list that came out on Feb. 7.
Senior David Yost will take the mat for VMI. He is 9-18 overall and 1-4 in the SoCon.
Senior Dan Waddell (Chattanooga, Tenn.) is a preseason All-SoCon selection and is 18-9 overall. He had an impressive fourth place showing at the Scuffle and wins in 12 of his last 16 matches. He is currently No. 28 in the NCAA Coaches rankings.
Sophomore Ted Gottwald is slated to go for VMI. He is 7-14 overall and 0-1 in SoCon action. Waddell defeated Gottwald with a technical fall (19-3, 6:55) when both were competing at 165.
Brandon Wright (Germantown, Tenn.) is 17-9, including wins in eight of his last 10 matches. He is currently No. 32 in the NCAA Coaches Rankings.
Wright will face freshman Carry Joseph. Joseph is 14-14 overall and 2-2 in league action.
Sophomore Levi Clemons (Kissimmee, Fla.) is 17-13 overall. He has wins in eight of his last 11 matches.
Clemons will face senior Matthew Brock who leads VMI with a 28-12 overall record. Brock is also 4-1 in conference matches with his only loss coming against Campbell's James Cook on Dec. 9. Clemons is 2-1 in the SoCon at 174, having defeated Cook 6-4 on Jan. 20.
Junior Robert Prigmore (Southlake, Texas) is 18-11 and 3-0 in the SoCon at 184. He has bumped up to 197 in place of junior Niko Brown where he is 1-1. He won all four of his bouts at the Lone Star Duals and has wins in 16 of his last 22 outings. He also won the Davidson Open earlier in the year and has a team-high six pins.
Prigmore will go against junior Conor Black who holds a 7-4 overall record.
Junior Niko Brown (Kissimmee, Fla.) is having an outstanding season at 16-6. He suffered a knee injury at Campbell and has sat out the last five matches. Freshman Cory Canada has stepped in his place, but has lost at both 197 and 184 and is 0-4 overall.
VMI will likely go with Urayoan Garcia. He is 2-11 overall and one win in four SoCon matches.
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 23-11 record, and is looking to improve on his 10-6 mark in dual matches.
VMI's heavyweight will be on of two sophomores, either Juan Adams or Andrew Embree. Adams is 2-3 overall, but 2-1 in SoCon matches. Embree has an 18-14 record and 1-1 in the league.
UPSET OVER NO. 12 STANFORD BIGGEST WIN SINCE...
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.
SOCON WRESTLERS OF THE WEEK
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.
PROGRAM RECORD 17 ON THE AD HONOR ROLL
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, Joseph 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.
CHATTANOOGA VS. THE TOP-10
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.
MOCS PICKED TO WIN SOCON TITLE
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.
FOUR MOCS NAMED PRESEASON ALL-SOCON
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.
MOCS G.P.A. NO. 7 IN THE NATION
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.