published Monday, January 30th, 2012

Mat Mocs top Citadel

UTC’s Dan Waddell, shown wrestling against the Citadel last season, earned a 3-1 decision at 157 pounds for the Mocs in Sunday’s 27-13 decision over the Bulldogs in Charleston, S.C.
UTC’s Dan Waddell, shown wrestling against the Citadel last season, earned a 3-1 decision at 157 pounds for the Mocs in Sunday’s 27-13 decision over the Bulldogs in Charleston, S.C.
Photo by John Rawlston /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

UTC 27, CITADEL 13


(Meet started at 149 pounds)

125 -- Manny Ramirez (UTC) dec. Richard Alacron, 7-5 OT;

133 -- Nick Soto (UTC) dec. Kyle Casaletto, 3-1;

141 -- Shawn Greevy (UTC) dec. Jordan Dix, 7-1;

149 -- Kelly Felix (UTC) tech. fall over Seth Vernon, 6:39;

157 -- Dan Waddell (UTC) dec. Pierre Frazile, 3-1;

165 -- Brandon Wright (UTC) major dec. Michael Harper, 12-3;

174 -- Turtogtokh Luvsandorj (C) pinned Levi Clemons, 5:35;

184 -- Robert Prigmore (UTC) pinned Josh Tuck, 6:22;

197 -- Kelby Smith (C) major dec. Cory Canada, 12-3;

285 -- Andrew Delaney (C) dec. Kevin Malone, 6-3.

Records: UTC 11-3, 4-0; The Citadel 1-2, 5-7-1.

A pair of team streaks thought to be in jeopardy remained alive Sunday when the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling team bested The Citadel 27-13.

The Mocs extended their current win streak to eight while capturing their 39th straight Southern Conference meet at Charleston, S.C.

"It was a good day," coach Heath Eslinger said. "It's a long way for a one-meet trip, but we had a good result. Momentum is building toward conference tournament, and it helps that we have continued belief in our philosophies from within the program."

The victory sets what is perhaps the biggest stage in recent conference history with the Mocs, unbeaten in four conference meets, hosting also unbeaten Appalachian State at 2 p.m. Sunday at Maclellan Gym.

Appalachian State has made arrangements to have a bus available for fans who wish to make the trip from Boone, N.C. so the phones in the UTC coaches' office will be buzzing as they seek to boost the home crowd.

It is something new for the Mocs to deal with, certainly in Eslinger's three-year tenure as coach.

"It's been a while since anybody brought a fan bus in here for a dual meet. I don't know that there ever has been one," he said. "I know that I like it because teams in our conference are excited about the way they're competing and also wrestling us. That's what this sport needs, and this one is shaping up to be a pretty darn good showdown."

It is, by Eslinger's own description, "a little cheesy," but the Mocs are apparently buying into "Chattanooga Strong," the team's 2011-12 motto. The Mocs have won seven of their 10 matches including three straight meet-opening wins -- a pin from Kelly Felix (149), a decision from Dan Waddell (157) and a major decision from Brandon Wright (165).

"Starting at 149 was good for us. That's three of our three seniors. We expect it from them and they are beginning to expect it from themselves," Eslinger said.

A fourth senior begin his UTC career with a win. UNC Greensboro transfer Manny Ramirez helped secure the Mocs' win with an overtime decision that gave the Mocs an 18-13 lead with two matches left.

"Manny's match was the nail in their coffin," Eslinger said. "Their guy was in on his leg with a few seconds left and Manny got away to send the match into overtime. I think we can prepare him better in the future."

Robert Prigmore extended his personal win streak to eight and added more bonus points at 184 pounds with another pin.

"He was up 1-0, the other kid chose down to start the [third] period and Robert cranked him and got the pin; a big win and a huge set of bonus points," Eslinger said.

Nick Soto, ranked 14th nationally, was actually behind going into the third period before tying it up, erasing a riding time point and securing his 20th win of the season with a late takedown.

"That's what the great ones do. They win those types of matches," Eslinger said.

With Soto's win securing the victory, Shawn Greevy's victory at 141 was icing on the cake, but his decision also extended his win streak to eight.

The Mocs were without 197-pound Niko Brown (16-6). The junior, currently sidelined with a knee sprain, was replaced by freshman Cory Canada, a former state champion from Heritage.

"We told him we couldn't give up a pin. He was probably up four weight classes from where he should be and he gave us what we wanted."

Canada, in his first varsity match, gave up a major decision to Kelby Smith but saved the Mocs two team points.

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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