University of Tennessee at Chattanooga coach Heath Eslinger had a short story about each Mocs wrestler who will participate in his final home match Sunday afternoon.
There's Scottie Boykin, who lost his redshirt in his first tournament of his freshman season; Mike Pongracz, who wouldn't speak when he first arrived on campus in 2013; and Cody Hill, a four-year member of the program.
In addition, there's Justin Lampe, who has followed in the footsteps of his brother John, a two-time all-Southern Conference selection. Bryce Carr, Dylan Forzani and Chad Pyke joined the Mocs later in their collegiate careers, but they have contributed, too.
The seven are nearing the end of their final season at UTC, and they will be honored when the Mocs hosts Gardner-Webb in Southern Conference dual at 2 p.m. at Maclellan Gymnasium. After today, the Mocs (6-7, 4-1) are at Campbell on Saturday before having two weeks to get ready for the SoCon tournament in Charleston, S.C.
"There's a lot of character in this class, in a good way," Eslinger said. "Just a lot of genuine good in the guys that are going to be talked about. There's just so much that wraps this deal of what these guys represent."
The Mocs are coming off a disappointing 18-16 loss to Appalachian State last Sunday that hurt their bid for the league's regular-season title. Although the Bulldogs (1-9, 1-3) may not seem likely to present the same sort of challenge, Eslinger wants his team to approach this match the same way they did a week ago, when he felt his team outwrestled the Mountaineers.
"We want to win," he said. "We do this because we want to be successful. Everybody wants the desired outcome of winning. We measure success in a lot of ways, but we want to win. We put in the work, so we don't just want to win, we want to do what it takes to win. It's why it hurts, it's why it feels good.
"When you lose a tough one, the next one can't get here quick enough because you want to get that taste out of your mouth. They (Gardner-Webb) are a little down, but they're not going to lay down, so we need to go wrestle well and get the job done."
The Mocs are expected to start Alonzo Allen (125), Chris Debien (133), Pongracz (141), Roman Boylen (149), either Forzani or freshman Jake Adcock (157), Pyke (165), Lampe (174), Carr (184), Boykin (197) and Connor Tolley (285).