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  • Photo: The Citadel athletics

    Photo: The Citadel athletics

    SoCon Recap (11/16/2023)

    Hi besties, I hope y’all had a marvelous first few weeks of wrestling - I know I did. 

    We kicked off the season on the first of November, when the Fighting Camels made their debut against Army West Point at The Battle at Liberty, pulling forward with a 25-9 victory. The upset of the evening came from #20 Caleb Hopkins (184) over #13 Ben Pasiuk via an 8-0 major decision, meanwhile freshman Chris Earnest (157) started his career with a bang, defeating #25-ranked Nate Lukez 9-6. Heavyweight Taye Ghadiali served up a fall for the crowd, earning the Outstanding Wrestler belt for the evening. This was the first event of the season streamed on UFC Fight Pass, which has been uploaded to watch again. 

    Presbyterian College wrestled in this event as well, facing off against #3-ranked NC State. The Blue Hose lost the dual 48-0, notably with a forfeit at 125. Unsure of Dom Chavez’s whereabouts this season, but hopefully we see him return to the mat soon. 

    The Citadel hosted Allen University and Montreat College - grabbing their first dual wins of the season. The Bulldogs bested Montreat 50-4, scoring bonus-point victories in all their wins for the evening. The wins kept coming for The Citadel, as they served up the first #SoConShutout of the season against Allen University, with bonus point victories at all weights.  

    Moving on to Friday, App State hosted the then-ranked #3 NC State Wolfpack in Varsity Gym. This was my first time watching the new rules in practice this season - and the three-point takedown (in my humble opinion) has really helped to reward tough wrestling. It’s definitely making a difference in the point spread, and is fun to hear people get mixed up and yell “TWOOOO” but quickly correct themselves to “THREEE.” Varsity Gym, described as a “hostile environment” by many, was rocking and rolling - standing room only, t-shirt tosses, a push-up contest, and deluxe mat-side seating. Watching the evolution of the fan experience for college wrestling is truly exciting - for the individual programs and the sport alike. But back to the match - the Mountaineers dropped a tough dual 40-3, with their sole win of the evening coming from Ethan Oakley (133), who came through with a 4-2 decision over three-time NCAA qualifier Jarrett Trombley.  

    Saturday the action kicked back up at the Southeast Open - where Campbell, Chattanooga, Davidson, and VMI competed. The Camels took home fifteen placewinner, with two champions at heavyweight and 165 - Taye Ghadiali and Dom Baker were undefeated for the day.  

    Chattanooga racked up the hardware as well, with seven placements in the freshman/sophomore division - with redshirt freshmen Kamdyn Munro (165), Sergio Desiante (174) placing second, leading true freshman Isiah Powe (141) and redshirt freshman Austin Paradise (157) to third place finishes. Keydet Braxton Lewis took home the title in the 174 freshman/sophomore division, behind him were seven other placers ranging from senior Tyler Mousaw, making his debut at heavyweight, to the fresh faces of the program. 

    Last but not least, Davidson had two second-place finishes in the freshman/sophomore division - Tyler Xavier McKnight (149) and Wyatt Ferguson (184). 

    Bellarmine brought the action with four first-place finishes at the Patriot Open - two of those from freshmen Shay Korhorn (133) and Gray Ortis (157) in the freshman/sophomore division, while in the open division, Cole Nance beat teammate Grant O’Dell (165) for the title, and Sam Schroder won the 184 bracket.  

    The Clarion Open was truly an event to behold - upsets upon upsets, but the SoCon’s star of the show was Brayden Palmer. He made his debut at 125 lbs, but not in a Chattanooga singlet - it’s looking like Palmer could redshirt for part of the season. My new bold prediction is that his redshirt (depending on his performance prior to the Scuffle) could be pulled as early as January - but that’s if he’s redshirting this season. We love the “what if” game. This title earned Palmer SoCon Wrestler of the Week for the first week of the season. 

    Gardner-Webb’s Zach Price (149) brought home a third-place finish for the Runnin’ Bulldogs, with his lone loss of the day coming from Ohio State’s Dylan D’Emilio. 

    The Battle at the Citadel took place, where three Bulldogs had podium finishes for the weekend: John Chesser (285) battled for a second-place finish against George Mason’s Chad Nix, while Josh Stillings (174) and Patrick Brophy (197) earned third place finishes. App State true freshman Tomas Brooker took home the 184-pound title, wrestling against teammate Hunter Adams in the final. Mountaineers Noah Luna (125, 2nd place), Chad Bells (125), Kaden Keiser (141), and Jeremiah Price (149) placed third, and Ike Byers had a fourth-place finish at 141. 

    Bellarmine shut out Kentucky Wesleyan at their home opener this past Friday, with just shy of 2,000 fans in attendance. Again - it’s so awesome to see the growth of our sport and to see programs have that investment from their athletic departments. True freshman Kalob Johnstone (197) started his career with a bang - racking up a 15-0 technical fall over Cameron Fleming.  

    Campbell fell to Nebraska 37-4, with the lone win from Taye Ghadiali - picking up a 24-12 major decision win. 184-pound Caleb Hopkins lost a close 6-5 bout against Lenny Pinto. 

    The Camels will be back in action at the Battle at the Barn on UFC Fight Pass - which will be wrestled against Wyoming in a barn. It’s slated to be a great matchup, and a great production, be sure to tune in.  

    The Mountaineer Invitational was a SoCon-Studded event - where Cody Bond (149), Tommy Askey (157), and Jacob Sartorio (285) all won individual titles, resulting in Bond being awarded SoCon Wrestler of the Week for the second week of the season. Six runners-up and five third-place finishes later, the Mountaineers will be back in action at the Keystone Classic this weekend. Presbyterian had eight in action at the Invitational, with one fourth-place finish from sophomore Caleb Roe. Davidson senior Dan Yetsick took home a first-place finish at 157 pounds, while freshman Brock Carey (149) placed second, and John Hager (133) finished in third place. Gardner-Webb came out with a pair of second-place finishes, Jha’Quan Anderson (184) and Todd Carter (141) were the two placewinners for the Runnin’ Bulldogs.  

    Chattanooga wrestled a doubleheader against Ohio University and DII program Ashland. The Mocs battled hard, though losing the Ohio dual 23-19. Noah Castillo (149) picked up a ranked win over then-ranked #19 Derek Raike, 16-0. The team turned around to dominate against Ashland, winning 32-9, dropping a decision at 184 and an injury default at 197.  

    The Citadel had a strong showing at the George Mason duals. After their first loss against George Mason (18-17), the Bulldogs turned around and defeated Williams College (39-10), and Clarion 17-17 (64-62 tiebreaker), and ended the day with another shutout against Millersville (55-0). A nail-biter match, the Clarion dual went into total points scored in tiebreaker criteria. The Citadel will be back in action this weekend at the Navy Classic.  

    VMI traveled to the Navy Quad, picking up a dual win over the Morgan State Bears (33-9) following back-to-back losses from Navy (40-6) and Pitt (47-0). Standout performances from the Morgan State match include Braxton Lewis (174) winning by technical fall, while Josh Yost (157) scored a major decision win over his opponent.  

    It was a family affair in Hilton Coliseum on Sunday evening - head coach Nate Carr, Jr. alongside Marcus Coleman - headed home to Ames as the Wildcats wrestled the #10 Iowa State Cyclones. Coach Carr was in the corner coaching against his brother, National Champion 

    , and All-American David Carr, with Coleman and Director of Ops Erica Andorf at his side. The ‘Cats lost the dual 50-0, with the Cyclones picking up bonus-point wins at every bout.  

    Besties - next week I’ll have an extra-special recap/preview for y’all. And I hope to see y’all out and about real soon…until then, be safe, be well, kick your feet up and go check out our Live Streaming Guide for all your wrestling needs this weekend. 


    Rachel G

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