Mocs Celebrate 2012 at the Wrestling Banquet
Head Coach Heath Eslinger with the 2012 seniors.
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling team celebrated the 2012 season with the annual banquet tonight.  Student-athletes, coaches, staff and supporters gathered at the First Centenary Methodist Church in Chattanooga to recap another stellar season that included the program's 26th Southern Conference Tournament Championship. 

The Mocs finished with a 12-6 overall record, the most dual wins in the Heath Eslinger era, and put five individuals in the NCAA Championships.  Coach Eslinger honored six seniors, including Joe Burns (Morristown, Tenn.), Kelly Felix (Franklin, Tenn.), Demetrius Johnson (Memphis, Tenn.), Manny Ramirez (Fayetteville, N.C.), Dan Waddell (Chattanooga, Tenn.) and Brandon Wright (Germantown, Tenn.). 

Nick Soto (Spring Hill, Fla.) took home Freshman of the Year Honors.  The 2012 SoCon champ at 133, Soto was the league's Freshman of the Year and spent most of the season ranked at 133.  He finished with a 24-8 overall record. 

Freshman Kevin Malone (Carrollton, Ohio) was the team's Most Improved.  He led the squad with a 25-12 overall record and was second in the SoCon at heavyweight. 

The Academic Award went to junior Dean Pavlou (Cleveland, Tenn.).  An Exercise Science major, Pavlou carries a 3.61 g.p.a. and is a two-time Academic All-NWCA honoree. 

Pavlou and Felix split the Ethan Reeve Workhorse Award.  Both competed at 149 with Felix getting the nod for most of the season.  Pavlou stepped in for the SoCon tournament and won the event to advance to the NCAA Championships for the second time in his career.  Pavlou finished with a 19-8 overall record while Felix was 14-10 in his final season. 

Waddell took home the Jim Morgan MVP honor.  Waddell had one of the most memorable moves in recent Mocs history in the finals of the SoCon Tournament.  Trailing 2-3 with time winding down, he grabbed Campbell's Nick Rex in a headlock and slammed him to the mat for two points as time expired.  Waddell won the title at 157 and advanced to the NCAAs for the second time in his career.   He finished the year with a 22-11 overall record.

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