The Chattanooga Mocs will battle for their fifth consecutive Southern Conference Championship this weekend in McAlister Fieldhouse on the campus of The Citadel in Charleston, S.C. The Mocs won the SoCon regular season trophy with a perfect 5-0 mark. UTC finished the year 12-10 overall, the sixth-straight season Chattanooga has won at least 11 matches.
The SoCon was awarded 11 automatic qualifiers to the NCAA Championships this season. The conference champion in each weight class, as well as a second wrestler at 141, will all qualify automatically. The 2009 NCAA Championships will be held in St. Louis, Mo., on March 19-21.
The SoCon Championships will begin at 11:00 a.m. (E.S.T.) with first-round matches. The finals are slated to begin at 7:00 p.m. followed by the awards ceremony. The championship will be the first time The Citadel has hosted the event since 1990.
Ticket prices for the championship are $15 for adults and $10 for youth and students and can be purchased before the event on GoMocs.com. The link for tickets is located on the wrestling schedule page.
Live Video Streaming
The consolation semifinals, semifinals, consolation finals, finals and awards ceremony will be video streamed live on SoCon.TV and can be watched with a subscription. For a link to the video streaming, visit the wrestling schedule page on GoMocs.com.
A win at the SoCon Championships Would...
• Give UTC 24 titles in the 32-year history of SoCon Wrestling.
• Earn Chattanooga its fifth-straight SoCon Championship.
• Give head coach Chris Bono his third conference title in three trips to the SoCon Championships.
Senior Seth Garvin and Junior Cody Cleveland are both trying to repeat as SoCon individual champs. Garvin won the 157-pound trophy last season while Cleveland was tops in the 141-pound class.
Southern Conference Dominance
Chattanooga has dominated wrestling in the Southern Conference throughout the league’s history. UTC has won 23 of the 31 SoCon titles, including the last four.
The Mocs have also been in control of their Southern Conference opponents during the regular season. After posting a 5-0 mark in SoCon action this year, UTC has a 25-match unbeaten streak in Southern Conference meets. The Mocs have posted a 24-0-1 mark during that stretch. Their last loss to a SoCon opponent was a 13-27 setback at the Citadel on Feb. 14, 2004. Head Coach Chris Bono is 15-0 vs. SoCon teams in three seasons at UTC.
Cleveland SoCon’s co-Wrestler of the Year
Chattanooga junior Cody Cleveland was named the 2008-09 Southern Conference co-Wrestler of the Year. He shares the honor, voted on by the league’s wrestling head coaches, with UNC Greensboro’s Chris Bencivenga.
Cleveland, ranked No. 11 at 141 by Intermatwrestle.com, finished the regular season with a 19-6 overall record. The Tullahoma, Tenn., native also posted a perfect 4-0 conference mark to earn his second All-SoCon honor.
Five Mocs Named to All-SoCon Squad
Chattanooga dominated the All-SoCon team, taking half of the league’s honors. Senior Seth Garvin earned his second-straight honor at 165 while junior Cody Cleveland was also a two-time selection at 141. Junior Joey Knox earned All-SoCon honors at 157 while freshman Jason McCroskey (174) and Dan Waddell (148) got the nod in their respective weight classes.
The Mocs led all teams with five selections with UNC Greensboro and The Citadel each earning two spots. VMI and Appalachian State claimed the top spot in one weight class each on the All-SoCon team.
Five Mocs Also Named to All-Freshman Team
Freshmen Jason McCroskey and Dan Waddell were obvious choices to the SoCon All-Freshman Team since they already earned selection to the league’s all-conference squad. They were joined by teammates Demetrius Johnson (125), Tyler Roberson (184) and Ethan Winel (197) on the all-frosh team.
Nine Mocs Honored for Work in the Classroom
Nine members of the Mocs wrestling program were honored for their 2008 Fall semester grade-point-averages. Junior Cody Cleveland, sophomores Carlos Baron and Josh Statum and freshmen Demetrius Johnson, Dean Pavlou and Thomas Shurina all earned a spot on the Dean’s List for having a 3.2 semester g.p.a. They were joined by junior Ben O’Neill and freshmen Jason McCroskey and Josh Sandoval on the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll for having a 3.0 g.p.a. last semester.
Five Mocs Undefeated in SoCon Action
Chattanooga had five wrestlers post undefeated marks in conference action during the 2008-09 season. Senior Seth Garvin and freshman Jason McCroskey both posted 5-0 records on the year. Junior Cody Cleveland was 4-0 this season, missing the VMI match due to injury. Freshman Tyler Roberson went 3-0. He did not wrestle against Appalachian State or UNC Greensboro. Fellow freshman Dan Waddell also went 3-0 on the year. He missed the season-opener against Davidson and the match at Appalachian State.
UTC will field six freshmen - Johnson, Waddell, McCroskey, Roberson, Winel, Sliger - and one sophomore - Statum - in the Southern Conference Championships.
• 125 - Freshman Demetrius Johnson has an 8-6 overall record on the year. He has seven wins in his last 10 matches and was a member of the SoCon All-Freshman team. Johnson did not compete in the season-opener against Davidson but went 3-1 in the other league matches. His match-by-match results against SoCon opponents include:
Austin Annas (ASU 1/24) - W-TF, 20-4
Mitchel Johnson (UNCG 1/25) - L-F, 2:23
Tyler Sim (CIT 1/30) - W-D, 9-6
Johnathan Pope (VMI 2/23) - W-MD, 12-2
• 133 - Sophomore Josh Statum is 8-7 and 2-2 in SoCon matches. Statum has won three in a row and five of his last six overall. He did not wrestle against Davidson in the season opener, but the rest of his SoCon results are:
Frank Celorrio (ASU 1/24) - L-D, 3-2
Casey Boyle (UNCG 1/25) - L-D, 6-4
Richard Alaron Jr. (CIT 1/30) - W-MD, 11-3
Tyler Hutchens (VMI 2/23) - W-D, 6-3
• 141 - Junior Cody Cleveland, the 2008-09 SoCon co-Wrestler of the Year, is 19-6 on the year. He was a perfect 4-0 in SoCon matches and currently ranks No. 11 at 141. A shoulder injury kept him out of last week’s match against VMI, but he is healthy for the SoCon meet this weekend. His regular season conference results are:
Vitaly Radsky (Davidson 11/8) - W-TF, 17-2
Mike Kessler (ASU 1/24) - W-MD, 19-8
Chris Bencivenga (UNCG 1/25) - W-D, 13-6
Derek Royster (CIT 1/30) - W-TF, 3:23
• 149 - Dan Waddell is set to wrestle with a 13-11 overall record and a 3-0 mark in SoCon matches. Waddell earned a spot on the All-SoCon squad this season. He split time this season with fellow freshman Kelly Felix and together they posted a 5-0 mark for the Mocs at 149. Waddell wrestled in the last three SoCon matches against UNCG, The Citadel and VMI with Felix taking on Davidson and Appalachian State. Waddell’s SoCon results are:
Ben Wilmore (UNCG 1/25) - W-D, 6-5
David Ivashchenko (CIT 1/30) - W-MD, 13-3
Joseph Munno (VMI 2/23) - W-MD, 15-5
• 157 - Junior Joey Knox will compete at 157. He was an All-SoCon performer with a 17-10 overall record and a 3-1 mark in conference meets. Knox did not compete against Appalachian State, but the rest of his results are:
Joe McGinley (Davidson 11/8) - W-F, 4:24
Victor Hojilla (UNCG 1/25) - W-TF, 15-0
Keith Koziel (CIT 1/30) - L-F, 0:29
Joel Hutchens (VMI 2/23) - W-TF, 5:19
• 165 - Senior Seth Garvin leads the team in wins with a 21-9 record this season. He was the SoCon wrestler of the month for December and earned his second All-SoCon honor after posting a 5-0 mark in conference matches. He won the conference title at 157 last season and will go for the 165 crown this year. Garvin scored bonus points in four of his five matches, including two pins, a technical fall and a major decision. His five conference results are:
Tyler Mullen (Davidson 11/8) - W-MD, 16-6
Kyle Blevins (ASU 1/24) - W-D, 7-5
Byron Sigmop (UNCG 1/25) - W-TF, 15-0
Derek Sickel (CIT 1/30) - W-F, 5:53
Kyle Elgert (VMI 2/23) - W-F, 1:24
• 174 - Freshman Jason McCroskey earned All-SoCon honors after posting a 19-10 mark and going 5-0 in the conference. McCroskey scored two pins and a major decision in league meets this season. His perfect SoCon season looks like this:
Kevin Cook (Davidson 11/8) - W-D, 9-3
Antionne Jones (ASU 1/24) - W-D, 16-7
Mikal McKee (UNCG 1/25) - W-F, 5:54
James Oddo (CIT 1/30) - W-MD, 10-1
Andrew Szymborski (VMI 2/23) - W-F, 1:27
• 184 - Freshman Tyler Roberson was named to the Southern Conference all-freshman squad following his 3-0 mark in league matches. He missed conference matches against Appalachian State and UNCG with a respiratory problem. He is 6-9 overall and his SoCon results include the following:
Sam O’Hair (Davidson 11/8) - W-D, 6-3
Kelby Smith (CIT 1/30) - W-D, 6-2
Vincent Gallo (VMI 2/23) - W-F, 1:25
• 197 - Freshman Ethan Winel earned a spot on the all-freshman squad after going 3-2 in conference matches. He is 9-14 overall and only has two wins in his last 10 matches. However, both of his wins were against SoCon opponents. All three of his conference wins were pins. His SoCon results are:
Jorge Estrada (Davidson 11/8) - W-F, 0:11
David Pritz (ASU 1/24) - L-D, 3-2
Ryan Sughrue (UNCG 1/25) - W-F, 5:41
Andrew Delaney (CIT 1/30) - L-F, 4:28
Curtis Moore (VMI 2/23) - W-F, 0:34
• 285 - Freshman Cody Sliger is 10-15 in 2008-09 and continues to gain valuable experience at the Division I level. He posted a 1-3 mark against conference foes, with his only win coming against Appalachian State. His SoCon results are:
Brandon Brothers (ASU 1/24) - W-D, 5-1
Joe Sheffield (UNCG 1/25) - L-D, 3-1
Aaron Brown (CIT 1/30) - L-D, 3-1
Josh Wine (VMI 2/23) - L-D, 7-2
Last Time Out
The Chattanooga wrestling team put on a dominating performance against VMI on Senior Night at MacLellan Gym on Feb. 23. The Mocs scored a 43-3 win over the Keydets to clinch the Southern Conference regular season title for the fifth year in a row and the ninth time in the last 12 years.
Freshman Ethan Winel started off the evening at 197 and made quick work of VMI’s Curtis Moore. Winel pinned Moore just 34 seconds into the match to give the Mocs a quick 6-0 lead. Winel’s victory snapped his four-match losing streak and was his fourth pin of the year.
VMI came back with a win in the heavyweight match. Josh Wine scored a decision over Cody Sliger 7-2. It was the Keydets’ only points of the evening.
Freshman Demetrius Johnson scored a 12-2 major decision over Johnathan Pope at 125. Johnson is now 8-6 on the year and 3-1 in SoCon matches. Sophomore Josh Statum battled Tyler Hutchens to a 6-3 decision at 133, giving the Mocs a 13-3 advantage.
Senior T.J. Hannah was inserted into the lineup at 141 and delivered a 9-7 decision over David Yost. Hannah scored a takedown and an escape early in the first period and stayed one step ahead of his opponent the entire match. It was Hannah’s only dual meet action of the season.
The rout was on for the rest of the match, starting with a major decision (15-5) by freshman Dan Waddell over Joseph Munno at 149. Junior Joey Knox scored a technical fall (24-6, 5:19) over Joel Hutchens at 157.
The Mocs ended the evening with three straight first period pins. Senior Seth Garvin made quick work of his last match at MacLellan, pinning Kyle Elgert in 1:24. Garvin leads the team with 21 wins and seven pins on the year. He also posted a perfect 5-0 mark in SoCon action.
Freshman Jason McCroskey pinned Andrew Szymborski at the 1:27 mark of the first period. He also posted a perfect 5-0 mark in league action and improves to 19-10 overall. Freshman Tyler Roberson scored his first period pin over Vincent Gallo 1:25 into the match. He also snapped a personal four-match losing streak for his first career fall.
It was also the last home match for senior Kyle McKee. McKee was unable to compete tonight due to a season-ending neck injury he suffered earlier in the year.
Cleveland Named SoCon January WOTM
Cody Cleveland was named the Southern Conference’s Wrestler of the Month for January. The 141-pound junior went 7-0, including three SoCon wins and a pair of pins. He opened the month with a technical fall (7:00) against Oklahoma’s Zack Bailey on Jan. 11. He followed that up with a pin (6:51) against Missouri Valley’s Eric Gordon on the Mocs’ trip to Columbia, Mo., on Jan. 18. Later that evening, Cleveland won a major decision against Missouri’s No. 12 Marcus Hoehn 14-5. Cleveland dropped ASU’s Mike Kessler in a major decision 19-8 and won a decision (13-6) over UNCG’s Chris Bencivenga. Cleveland ended the month with a technical fall (3:23) against The Citadel’s Derek Royster and a pin (3:31) against Matt David. The win over David was the 50th of Cleveland’s career.
Garvin Named December Wrestler of the Month
Senior Seth Garvin was the Southern Conference Wrestler of the Month for December 2008. Garvin posted a record of 5-2 with three pins. He started off December with victories over opponents from Cumberland and Gardner-Webb in non-conference matches. At the Midlands Championships in Evanston, Ill., a few days before the new year, Garvin won his first three matches, including a victory over No. 10 Trevor Stewart of Central Michigan.
The Chattanooga Mocs wrestling team is taking on all comers this season with a traditionally tough schedule. They went against No. 25 Kent State, No. 11 Northwestern, No. 6 Nebraska, No. 10 Oklahoma, No. 12 Missouri and No. 3 Cornell. UTC also faced No. 2 Iowa State on Feb. 13 and No. 21 Northern Iowa on Feb. 14.