published Monday, January 9th, 2012

Mat Mocs dominate Vikings

UTC's Nick Soto grabs the legs of Nick Flannery in a 133-pound wrestling match against Cleveland State University at Maclellan Gym on Sunday.
UTC's Nick Soto grabs the legs of Nick Flannery in a 133-pound wrestling match against Cleveland State University at Maclellan Gym on Sunday.
Photo by John Rawlston /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

UTC 37, CLEVELAND STATE 3


(Meet started at 141 pounds)

125 -- Ben Willeford (CS) dec. Blake Thomas, 4-2;

133 -- Nick Soto (UTC) dec. Nick Flannery, 12-9;

141 -- Shawn Greevy (UTC) major dec. Josh Palivoda, 10-0;

149 -- Kelly Felix (UTC) tech. fall over Mike Kencini, 6:34;

157 -- Dan Waddell (UTC) dec. Brandon Sommers, 4-2;

165 -- Brandon Wright (UTC) dec. Corey Carlo, 2-0;

174 -- Levi Clemons (UTC) pinned Aric Thurn, 4:29;

184 -- Robert Prigmore (UTC) dec. Corbin Boone, 3-1 SV;

197 -- Niko Brown (UTC) major dec. Nick Anthony, 18-5;

285 -- Kevin Malone (UTC) pinned Garry Yarborough, 5:45.

Records: UTC 4-3; Cleveland State 3-7.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga coaching staff wanted a stellar showing, another building block to add to a five-medalist showing at the Southern Scuffle last week.

It's hard to meet head coach Heath Eslinger's expectations, much less beat them, but the Mocs wrestling team came close with a 37-3 Sunday victory over visiting Cleveland State.

"We came out and wrestled like we knew we could. It felt good to do that," 174-pounder Levi Clemons said.

The sophomore's match was one of five in which the Mocs scored bonus points in securing the school's first win in five tries over the Vikings. He pinned Aric Thurman with 31 seconds left in the second period after building a 12-3 advantage.

UTC won nine of the 10 bouts including pins from Clemons and heavyweight Kevin Malone, a technical fall from 149-pound Kelly Felix and major decisions from Niko Brown (197) and Shawn Greevy (141).

"I look at each weight and we're improving. It's exciting to watch all of them," Eslinger said.

It was Greevy who set the tone with a 10-0 first-match victory over Josh Palivoda. A sophomore from Mechanicsburg, Pa., Greevy got a takedown with 20 seconds left to go up 9-0 and got an extra point for riding time. He has been slowed by nagging injuries and then had a disappointing showing at the Scuffle but improved to 6-8 and may be ready to go on a roll.

"He's getting his mind right and I thought it was good for him to be the weight where we started because he has maybe been the one who has struggled the most this season," Eslinger said.

The Mocs had some close calls with seniors Dan Waddell (157) and Brandon Wright (165) winning 4-2 and 2-0 ahead of Clemons' pin and then a 3-1 overtime decision from Robert Prigmore (184) immediately after. Brown's major decision and Malone's third-period pin pushed UTC's advantage to 34.

Cleveland State scored its first and only win of the day on a 4-2 decision from 125-pound Ben Willeford and even that one was contested with true freshman Blake Thomas just missing what would have been a tying takedown at the buzzer.

The showcase match came at 133 pounds with 14th-ranked Nick Soto 5-0 and 7-2 leads. However, he needed a reversal in the final 20 seconds to defeat Nick unranked Flannery, who fell to 16-7.

"I know Soto's ranked and our kid should be soon," Cleveland State coach Ben Stehura said. "It was going to be a good match and when we pulled 141 to start, [the 133-pound match] definitely became the highlight of the day."

Vikings 157-pounder Brandon Sommers made his first varsity start but Waddell, working hard to control the match, won it with a second-period escape and riding time.

The 37-3 final score was the Mocs' largest margin of victory since a 31-3 win over Davidson in February of last year.

While Cleveland State hit the road Sunday evening for Campbell University and meets today against Campbell and Appalachian State, the Mocs will not be in action again until Saturday when they wrestle at the Lone Star Duals in Dallas. Among teams competing at the Lone Star are Air Force, Appalachian State, Brown and Oklahoma.

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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