The Chattanooga Mocs wrestling squad (11-10, 4-0 SoCon) hosts Southern Conference foe VMI on Monday, Feb. 23, for the Mocs’ final home match of the season. UTC will be trying to snap a three-match skid when they host the Keydets at 6:00 p.m. (E.S.T.) in MacLellan Gym in Chattanooga, Tenn.
The Mocs are 11-10 on the season and have clinched at least a tie for the Southern Conference regular season championship with a 4-0 mark in league play. Junior Cody Cleveland is No. 11 in this week’s USA Today/InterMat/NWCA individual rankings at 141.
A win over the Keydets Would...
• Clinch the SoCon regular season title for the Mocs...
• Give Chattanooga 12 wins for the fourth time in the last five years...
• Extend UTC’s unbeaten streak in SoCon matches to 25-straight...
• Give Chattanooga six straight wins over VMI...
• Give head coach Chris Bono his 39th career win in three seasons, 15-0 in SoCon matches...
• Earn the Mocs their fifth-straight undefeated season in SoCon action.
Monday’s match will be the final home event for three Mocs wrestlers. Seniors Seth Garvin, T.J. Hannah and Kyle McKee are all finishing the Chattanooga careers. This group represents three consecutive Southern Conference Championships and over 70 individual career wins.
Garvin is in his third year at Chattanooga after transferring from Wisconsin prior to his sophomore season. He has compiled a 20-9 record, wrestling at 165 this season. He will be going for his second straight Southern Conference individual title in March and has spent much of the season ranked in the NCAA Top-20 in his class. The Homewood, Ala., native has 60 career wins in three seasons at Chattanooga. The Sociology major is set to graduate in May.
Hannah is listed as a junior on the roster but is finishing his fourth year in the Mocs’ program. He competed at 141 throughout his career and made a reputation for himself as a hard worker, on and off the mat. This season he competed unattached in two tournaments in the Fall semester, posting five wins overall. A native of Arlington, Tenn., Hannah is set to graduate with a degree in History in May.
McKee is a fifth-year senior who has wrestled at 174, 184 and 197 in his career. Battling injuries, McKee has posted four wins at 184 in dual meets for the Mocs this season. A team leader throughout his career, McKee’s discipline and versatility has earned the respect of his coaches and teammates. McKee will graduate in May with a degree in Sports Administration.
Parking at MacLellan
With the Mocs men’s basketball squad also in action at McKenzie Arena at 7:00 p.m. on Monday night, some of the lots in the area will require a parking fee. However, the parking garage at Lupton Library (Vine Street) and the University Lot 10 (5th Street) are available to wrestling fans at no charge.
Senior Night can be followed online through live stats on GoMocs.com. For a link to the live stats, visit the wrestling schedule page on GoMocs.com. There will not be video streaming for Monday’s match with VMI.
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.
The Keydets are winless in 10 dual meets this season, including an 0-4 mark in SoCon matches. They are coming off a 38-9 loss at Liberty on Thursday. Heavyweight Leon Barrow leads VMI with a 15-8 overall record. Curtis Moore got their only win against the Flames at 197. He is now 8-5 on the year.
The Mocs are 13-2 all-time against VMI, including five-straight wins. The last time the Keydets scored a win in the series was a 26-12 victory on Feb. 22, 2003. This is just the second match between these two teams in Chattanooga. UTC won the previous meeting in MacLellan Gym, 21-12, on Feb. 21, 2001. The Mocs have outscored VMI 169-9 in the last four matches.
Southern Conference Dominance
UTC has a 24-match unbeaten streak in Southern Conference action. The Mocs have posted a 23-0-1 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 14-0 vs. SoCon teams in just over two years at UTC. The Mocs have won the last four SoCon titles.
Last Time Out
The Chattanooga wrestling team is coming off a tough weekend where they dropped a pair of dual matches on their Iowa road trip. UTC lost 37-6 at No. 2 Iowa State, but hung tough with No. 21 Northern Iowa before falling 18-12.
Freshman Demetrius Johnson earned a 9-6 decision over UNI’s Cruse Aarhus at 125. Sophomore Josh Statum scored a 6-2 win against the Panther’s Steven Fitzgerald. Junior Joey Knox defeated Northern Iowa’s Tyson Reiner 2-1. Chattanooga’s last individual win came in the heavyweight class. Freshman Cody Sliger pulled off a sudden victory in overtime against Dustin Bauman.
• 125 - Freshman Demetrius Johnson is 7-6 on the year. He got a win against No. 21 Northern Iowa last weekend.
• 133 - Sophomore Josh Statum evened his record at 7-7 with two wins last weekend.
• 141 - Junior Cody Cleveland, the reigning SoCon Wrestler of the Month, is 19-6 on the year. He is a perfect 4-0 in SoCon matches and currently ranked No. 11 at 141.
• 149 - One of two freshman will go at 149 this weekend, Dan Waddell or Kelly Felix. Waddell is 12-11 on the year, while Felix has a 5-5 mark. They are each 2-0 in SoCon matches.
• 157 - Junior Joey Knox or freshman Brandon Wright could be pencilled in at 157. Knox is 16-10 on the year while Wright is 7-8.
• 165 - Senior Seth Garvin leads the team in wins with a 20-9 record this season. He was the SoCon wrestler of the month for December. He is 4-0 in SoCon matches.
• 174 - Freshman Jason McCroskey is 18-10 on the season, despite dropping both matches last weekend. He is currently 4-0 in SoCon action.
• 184 - Freshman Tyler Roberson is scheduled to go at 184. He has a 5-9 record this season and is looking to snap a four-match slide.
• 197 - Freshman Ethan Winel is again slated for the 197 spot for UTC. He is 8-14 and has lost eight of his last nine matches.
• 285 - Freshman Cody Sliger is 10-14 in 2008-09 and continues to gain valuable experience at the Division I level. He got a win against No. 21 Northern Iowa last weekend.
UTC will likely field six freshmen - Johnson, Waddell, McCroskey, Roberson, Winel, Sliger - and one sophomore - Statum - in the match on Monday.
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.