published Monday, February 13th, 2012

UTC Mocs falter at duals

WYOMING 38, UTC 6

125 -- Michael Martinez (W) dec. Manuel Ramirez, 5-4 OT;

133 -- Zach Zehner (W) pinned Nick Soto, 5:34;

141 -- Chase Smith (W) major dec. Shawn Greevy, 15-1;

149 -- McCade Ford (W) dec. Kelly Felix, 3-2;

157 -- Andy McCulley (W) dec. Daniel Waddell, 7-3;

165 -- Shane Onufer (W) major dec. Brandon Wright, 8-0;

174 -- Patrick Martinez (W) major dec. Levi Clemons, 12-4;

184 -- Joe LeBlanc (W) pinned Robert Prigmore, 5:41;

197 -- Alfonso Hernandez (W) tech. fall over Cory Canada, 15-0;

285 -- Kevin Malone (UTC) pinned L.J. Helbig, 6:33.


BOISE STATE 25, UTC 17

125 -- Manuel Ramirez (UTC) major dec. Landon Hartley, 14-6;

133 -- Brian Owen (B) pinned Nick Soto,1:26;

141 -- Shawn Greevy (UTC) major dec. Shawn Jones, 11-3;

149 -- Kelly Felix (UTC) dec. Josh Strait, 11-5;

157 -- Georgi Ivanov (B) major dec. Dan Waddell, 14-4;

165 -- Brandon Wright (UTC) won by forfeit;

174 -- Scotty Bacon (B) dec. Levi Clemons, 8-4;

184 -- Jacob Swartz (B) dec. Robert Prigmore, 9-5;

197 -- Brent Chriswell (B) pinned Cory Canada, 1:06;

285 -- J.T Felix (B) dec. Kevin Malone, 6-4.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling team was coming home as a team that was beaten twice, as a team that's beat up but also as a team remains upbeat.

The Mocs spent a grueling two days on the road in order to wrestle in the national duals regional at Stillwater, Okla. and had nothing to show for it beyond some debilitating losses.

They were beaten first by 10th-ranked Wyoming (38-6) and then by Boise State (25-17).

"No, I don't think it's a beat-down team. Their spirit is intact. It's a beat-up team trying to recover from very intense training, and these aren't really good teams to be facing when you're trying to fight through fatigue," coach Heath Eslinger said Sunday evening as the Mocs began a 14-hour trip home. "I think as a staff we saw it starting back on Tuesday. It was a long day today and several long days in a row and we were flat. We just didn't wrestle well. We have been training hard and going hard for several weeks."

He and the other coaches plan to cut back this week on both the number of practices and the length of those practices while keeping the intensity level high.

"If it was one guy that was flat, that's one thing. It happens. But it was pretty much the whole team so I think as a coaching staff we have to look at what we're doing, take a step back and get these guys prepared for VMI and then really dial it in for the conference tournament."

Once every one was aboard the bus Eslinger told the team what he was thinking: "We're going to think about where we're headed and how much we appreciate each other. We're definitely not going to dwell on that."

The Mocs have endured some lengthy road trips previously including the Lone Star duals in Dallas and a ride to Campbell and back that seemed never ending.

"When we win on the road we don't spend the ride thinking back. We start thinking about the next one. That's what we're doing tonight."

The day included a double dose of pins for Nick Soto, who entered the day ranked 13th in the first NCAA rankings but lost to Zach Zehner and Boise's Brian Owens.

As a matter of fact, the only Mocs that didn't take double losses were Manny Ramirez (125), heavyweight Kevin Malone and Brandon Wright (165). Ramirez suffered an overtime loss against Wyoming but then major decisioned Boise's Landon Hartley while Malone got the Mocs' only points against Wyoming by pinning L.J. Helbig before losing a 6-4 decision to Boise's J.T. Felix. Wright gave up a major decision against Wyoming and then won by forfeit against Boise.

Wyoming later lost to Oklahoma State 28-7.

"We wrestled extremely well in the first dual, and had an overall good strong performance," Wyoming coach Mark Branch said. "We did a good job of building on the last two wins, but we came out against OSU and didn't give ourselves an opportunity to win. We beat some highly ranked kids," Branch said of his team's performance against the Mocs. "Zehner beat a very good kid and [Andy] McCulley beat a ranked kid [Dan Waddell] at 157. Overall, the whole team looked good in that first dual."

about Ward Gossett...

Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...

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