The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling team posted a dominating 35-3 win over Gardner-Webb to open Southern Conference action in Maclellan Gym tonight. The Mocs delighted the crowd for the Taziki's Candlelight Dinner Match by winning nine of the 10 individual bouts.
"Overall, it was just a great night," stated UTC head coach Heath Eslinger. "We want to be innovators in our sport and in athletics. Obviously, the exclamation point is we come away with a good win and some good, solid wrestling."
Instead of pulling out the bleachers, the Mocs sold mat-side tables and brought in Taziki's Mediterranean Café to cater a formal dinner for the fans. Space around the mat sold out quickly and made for a very unique atmosphere in Maclellan Gym.
Chattanooga raced out to a 17-0 lead with wins in the first five matches. The dual started at 184 pounds with sophomore John Lampe scoring a 5-2 decision over Gray Jones.
"We started at 84 yesterday and thought it was a great place to start," said Eslinger. "We drew it again today. John Lampe is just a kid that does not want to lose."
Freshman Scottie Boykin followed with an impressive 11-3 major decision over Boyce Cornwell at 197. Junior Kevin Malone was next with his 7-4 decision over Justin Kozera at heavyweight.
Freshman Campbell Lewis scored his first collegiate win tonight. He gave the Mocs a 13-0 lead with a 5-0 shutout of William Anderson at 125. It was one of four shutouts for Chattanooga on the evening.
Junior Nick Soto had a major decision (13-4) over Robbie Goulde at 133 before Ryan Mosley put Gardner-Webb on the board with a win at 141.
That was all the Bulldogs would get tonight as the Mocs ran off the last four matches. Freshman Michael Hooker had a 4-2 decision over Tyler Ziegler at 149. Ziegler's two points in the match were the last for GWU on the evening. Junior Alex Hudson quickly shut out Kyle Ash for an 8-0 major decision win at 157.
The 165 match looked like it could be a good one between UTC's No. 4 ranked junior Corey Mock and GWU freshman Austin Trott. Mock came into the match undefeated at 11-0 while Trott was an impressive 13-2 to start the season.
Mock led 6-0 after an opening period that included a takedown and four back points. Trott chose top for the second period, but Mock quickly reversed and went to work on top. Before the end of the second frame, Mock had had run off 11 more points for the 17-0 technical fall.
"Corey Mock has been outstanding," added Eslinger. "That kid he wrestled is tough and he made it look easy. He has a lot of confidence and confidence wins athletic events. It is starting to permeate our team and he is doing a great job being a leader. He is doing the right things and he will continue to get better."
Junior Levi Clemons bounced back from a tough day on Sunday against Purdue to put an exclamation point on tonight's match. He pinned GWU's Brett Stein (2:22) in the first period to close out the team win.
"Levi needed that," continued Eslinger. "Levi Clemons is a guy we had to rally around and he did great tonight."
The Mocs improve to 5-4 overall and 1-0 in SoCon action. Gardner-Webb drops to 4-8 on the year and 1-1 in league matches. Tonight's win was the 50th in Eslinger's career at UTC. He is already fourth on UTC's career coaching win list with a 50-34 record since taking over prior to the 2009-10 season.
"I think we upped it a notch, just with the classiness of it," said Eslinger. "It was a great event. We are grateful to the people who support us and buy these tables. Good things are in the works for Chattanooga wrestling.
"We need to be more creative on how we treat our donors. It takes a lot of help from a lot of people to keep this thing where they are and to move forward. We want to think of more creative ways like this to enhance the atmosphere of the match. We want to have events, not just wrestling matches. This was an event."
UTC's next home 'event' is the prestigious Southern Scuffle, presented by Defense Soap and Flip Wrestling. The 34-team tournament takes place in McKenzie Arena on Jan. 1-2. Tickets are on sale now on GoMocs.com or by calling the UTC Ticket Office at (423) 266-MOCS (6627).
The Mocs still have work to do before the holiday break. Chattanooga heads out west for a dual match at Stanford on Dec. 20 and the Reno (Nev.) Tournament of Champions on Dec. 22.
184 John Lampe (UTC) Dec. 5-2 - Gray Jones (GWU) UTC 3-0
197 Scottie Boykin (UTC) MD 11-3 - Boyce Cornwell (GWU) UTC 7-0
285 Kevin Malone (UTC) Dec. 7-4 - Justin Kozera (GWU) UTC 10-0
125 Campbell Lewis (UTC) Dec. 5-0 - William Anderson (GWU) UTC 13-0
133 Nick Soto (UTC) MD 13-4 - Robert Golde (GWU) UTC 17-0
141 Ryan Mosley (GWU) Dec. 6-1 - Austin Sams (UTC) UTC 17-3
149 Michael Hooker (UTC) Dec. 4-2 - Tyler Ziegler (GWU) UTC 20-3
157 Alex Hudson (UTC) MD 8-0 - Kyle Ash (GWU) UTC 24-3
165 Corey Mock (UTC) Tech Fall 17-0 (4:50) - Austin Trott (GWU) UTC 29-3
174 Levi Clemons (UTC) Fall 2:22 - Brett Stein (GWU) UTC 35-3