published Monday, January 7th, 2013

Mocs wrestlers upended by Illini

NO. 9 ILLINOIS 29, UTC 10

(Meet started at 285 pounds)

125 -- Nick Soto (UTC) dec. Dominic Olivieri, 14-1; 133 -- Marvin Lopez (UTC) dec. Logan Arlis, 5-3; 141 -- B.J. Futrell (I) pinned Dean Pavlou, 1:28; 149 -- Caleb Ervin (I) dec. Jared Presley, 10-4; 157 -- Matt Nora (I) dec. Trey Stavrum, 8-1; 165 -- Conrad Polz (I) dec. Josh Condon, 5-4; 174 -- Jordan Blanton (I) pinned John Lampe, 3:14; 184 -- Tony Dallago (I) tech. fall over Robert Prigmore, 7:00; 197 -- Jeff Koepke (I) dec. John Shrader, 7-2; 285 -- Kevin Malone (UTC) dec. Chris Lopez 2-1, OT.

Records: Illinois 4-0, UTC 4-5

There is no place yet on the porch with the big dogs for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

"But that's the porch we compete on and if we're trying of trying we need to get out," Mocs coach Heath Eslinger said following his team's 29-10 loss to ninth-ranked Illinois at Maclellan Gym.

The Mocs, who have faced 16th-ranked Virginia, second-ranked Iowa and fourth-ranked Oklahoma State, and hosted No. 1 Penn State, Oklahoma State, No. 3 Minnesota, No. 4 Cornell and No. 6 Missouri in the Southern Scuffle last week, have two weeks before their next match. That will be at Cleveland State on Jan. 20. They'll then shift to Southern Conference competition beginning with a home meet Jan. 27 against The Citadel.

"Per team, this is the toughest schedule in the country, but these are the guys we're going to have to beat at the nationals," Eslinger said. "I think we have a good shot of finishing out on an 8-0 run."

In that run along with The Citadel will be February home meets against Davidson, VMI, SIU-Edwardsville and Campbell.

Eslinger was mildly kicking himself for scheduling Illinois just three days after the Southern Scuffle.

"I told [Illinois coach Jim Heffernan] we had to be two of the dumbest coaches in the world for scheduling this meet when we did," he said. "We're coming off the Scuffle and they're coming off the Midlands."

Illinois showed the Mocs why and how it won the Midlands, even while competing without Jesse Delgado, Daryl Thomas and Mario Gonzalez. Delgado is the nation's third-ranked 125-pounder while Thomas is No. 11 at 133 and Gonzalez No. 19 at 197.

It was at 125 and 133 that the Mocs got two of their victories. Nick Soto, No. 7 nationally at 125, got UTC's only bonus points with a 14-1 major decision over Dominic Olivieri and Marvin Lopez, showing no ill effects of the flu that kept him out of the Scuffle, posted a 5-3 win over Logan Arlis.

UTC's only other win came in the opening bout, heavyweight Kevin Malone's 3-2 decision of Chris Lopez.

Both teams were without three starters. The Mocs were missing Alex Hudson (149), Jake Young (174) and Niko Brown (197). Each is expected to be ready for the Cleveland State match.

Illinois' B.J. Futrell, the nation's third-ranked 141-pounder made short work of Mocs senior Dean Pavlou, pinning the senior in 3:14. Pavlou was UTC's lone Scuffle medalist, finishing seventh.

The Mocs got a great effort from 165-pound Josh Condon but the senior lost a 5-4 decision to Conrad Polz, who's ranked eighth nationally.

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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