published Saturday, September 15th, 2012

Mat Mocs pair clinic with blood drive

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling team will have its own version of a vein drain today.

The Mocs are offering a free two-hour clinic with hopes of securing donors for Blood Assurance. The clinic is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. at Maclellan Gym; the blood mobile will be on site starting at 8.

“Did you realize that more than 400 [blood] donations are needed every day in Chattanooga alone?” Mocs assistant coach Rocco Mansueto said.

While the clinic is free to any wrestler ages 5-18, the Mocs are asking that each attendee bring at least one potential blood donor to their “Wrestle-4-Life.”

“It can be a parent, brother or sister, coach or any other person age 17 or older,” Mansueto said. “We’re hoping that each person attending the clinic will bring along a donor. That’s what we are encouraging.”

Internally, the coaches and wrestlers are rounding up a supporter or two to donate.

Former NCAA All-American John Soiredas, a two-time Southern Conference champion who returned to the Mocs last spring as an assistant, will be conducting the clinic with the help of current UTC wrestlers.

“Coach Mansueto has done a great job of putting this event together, and we think it’s important to continue as a part of the community,” head coach Heath Eslinger said. “This is a way to give something back to a community that has endorsed and supported Chattanooga wrestling.”

During Eslinger’s tenure, the Mocs have volunteered at a number of events, including helping in flood relief in Nashville by going into trailer parks to help families salvage personal goods, running as a team in Race for the Cure and the Mud Run, volunteer maintenance at the Ivy School, 24-hour sleep-ins to help homeless in Chattanooga and at least a day each year helping finish homes for Habitat for Humanity.

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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