They were unable to secure an All-American, but the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Mocs improved their NCAA wrestling standing Friday.
The Mocs, who finished 65th a year ago, were tied for 49th with 3.5 points on wins by Brandon Wright (165) and Nick Soto (133).
Those two were eliminated in the tournament's fourth consolation round Friday, Soto by pin and Wright by major decision. UTC's three other representatives -- Dean Pavlou (149), Dan Waddell (157) and Levi Clemons (174) -- were eliminated Thursday night.
"We aren't where we want to be," UTC coach Heath Eslinger said. "We had a bunch of blue-collar guys that wrestled well on a consistent basis, but I don't think we had any thoroughbreds in our lineup."
Appalachian State does. The Mountaineers' 184-pound Austin Trotman, a fifth-year senior, became the 19th Southern Conference wrestler to earn All-America honors and the first since UTC's Cody Cleveland in 2008. Trotman earned the distinction by beating No. 1 seed Joe LeBlanc of Wyoming in the quarterfinals. He lost in overtime in Friday night's semifinals to Cornell's Steve Bosak but will finish no worse than sixth.
Appalachian secured its second All-American when Kyle Blevins (165), who lost to the Mocs' Wright in overtime in a Southern Conference championship match, assured himself of finishing no worse than eighth with wins over Cal-Poly's Dominic Kastl and Nebraska's Robert Kokesh.
It is the first time since 2005 that the league has had two All-Americans from the same team in the same year. The 2005 duo were UTC's Michael Keefe and Jon Sioredas. Only other time the SoCon had two All-Americans was 2006 when the Mocs' Matt Keller and The Citadel's Dan Thompson made it.
Citadel heavyweight Odie Delaney, a junior, had a chance to give the league three All-Ameriicans but lost his bid Friday night. After falling to No. 1 seed Rayn Flores of American University in the quarterfinals he fell to Ohio's Jeremy Johnson in the sixth round of consolations.
Lady Mocs win big
The UTC softball team picked up a pair of five-inning wins Friday in the opening day of the South Florida "The Game" Tournament in Clearwater, Fla.
The Lady Mocs beat Canisius 8-0 and Hartford 11-1 to improve their record to 16-9 for the season.
UTC allowed just five hits and a single run as Michelle Fuzzard and Taylor Deason got the pitching victories.
Second baseman Sara Poteat was perfect at the plate for UTC, going 5-for-5 with four runs scored and two stolen bases, giving her 13 for the season.
Fuzzard had four RBIs for the day, and Vivian Morimoto hit her team-leading eighth home run in the win over Hartford.
UTC will continue play at USF today with games against Northwestern and UMass.
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 ...