The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling team won a tight 19-15 dual over Ohio in Maclellan Gym this afternoon. The Mocs took six of the 10 matches to improve to 3-4 overall.
"It is a good win," stated UTC head coach Kyle Ruschell. "We beat two of their top guys at 133 and 149, so those were two good quality wins that our guys needed.
"That is what this year has been about, giving our guys lots of opportunities. Today, a couple guys capitalized on that."
Junior Fabian Gutierrez opened with a 15-4 major decision over Trevor Giallombardo at 125. That was followed by sophomore Franco Valdes' big win over Mario Guillen at 133. Valdes' match was tied at 1-1 after regulation and the first overtime period. Both wrestlers escaped in the tiebreakers, but Valdes scored a takedown and two back points in the second frame for the 6-2 win.
Ohio cut into the lead with a major decision by Shakur Laney over sophomore Aidan Murphy at 141. Murphy battled hard and did a good job of fighting off a pin and a tech fall, despite the loss.
Sophomore Tanner Smith used a late takedown to secure a 4-0 win over Alec Hagan at 149. That win put the Mocs up 10-4 in the team race. Ohio would trim that advantage with a tech fall at 157, but it easily could have been tied had sophomore Tyler Shilson not fought off a close near-fall early in the match.
"At '41 and '57, we might have been out-gunned a little bit and the match got out of hand a little early," added Ruschell. "But our guys kept fighting off their back and saved team points. We talk about doing that more for each other than just themselves."
UTC went back up 13-9 with sophomore Drew Nicholson's 6-1 decision over Joseph Terry at 165. Ohio cut it back to a one-point, 13-12 lead with a decision at 174. Sophomore Matthew Waddell kept the pressure on with a 5-2 decision of his own over Mason Kroening at 184.
That gave UTC a 16-12 lead with two matches left. Senior Rodney Jones took the mat at 197 against Jake Walker with a chance to clinch the team win.
Walker came out early with a takedown, but Jones quickly countered with a reversal. The same thing happened in the second period and the score was tied at 4-4 with two minutes left. Walker had built up over two minutes of riding time, so Jones started the third period by conceding an escape.
"It was tough because that guy is a tough wrestler," stated Jones. "I knew that he was going to be stingy when it came to finishing takedowns on him. I got two reversals and those reversals really kept me in the match. I kept my motion and kept trying to fire off shots when I could and it ended up working out for me."
With Walker holding the riding time point, Jones was essentially trailing 6-4. He got the tying takedown, but there was still 30 seconds on the clock. He was able to keep Walker down and force overtime. Walker shot first in the extra frame, but Jones countered and got the dual-clinching score.
"I work on re-attacks with Coach Hatcher all of the time," explained Jones after the win. "When he took that shot, I knew immediately I had to get the angle to get around and get two. It was more muscle memory and something I have done a thousand times in the room. When I saw it in the match, I just went for it."
Ohio would take the heavyweight match, but sophomore Grayson Walthall showed a lot of toughness in a 3-2 loss. He was in on a single late in the third period, but could not get the go-ahead score.
"Rodney did a good job," said Ruschell. "Sometimes he can struggle on bottom, but he got two reversals. That is showing that he is getting better in some of his weakest areas. Ultimately, what won the match is he got the guy tired and Rodney had a lot of offense left in him."
Up next for the Mocs are final exams next week, followed by a Dec. 14 road trip to No. 11 Iowa State. The next home action is the 2020 Southern Scuffle, presented by Compound Sportswear, on Jan. 1-2 in McKenzie Arena. Be sure to click the tickets tab at the top of the page to get your tickets today.
125: Fabian Gutierrez (UTC) over Trevor Giallombardo (Ohio) (MD 15-4)
133: Franco Valdes (UTC) over Mario Guillen (Ohio) (TB-1 6-2)
141: Shakur Laney (Ohio) over Aidan Murphy (UTC) (MD 15-4)
149: Tanner Smith (UTC) over Alec Hagan (Ohio) (Dec 4-0)
157: Zac Carson (Ohio) over Tyler Shilson (UTC) (TF 20-5 6:01)
165: Andrew Nicholson (UTC) over Joseph Terry (Ohio) (Dec 6-1)
174: Logan Stanley (Ohio) over Hunter Fortner (UTC) (Dec 5-2)
184: Matthew Waddell (UTC) over Mason Kroening (Ohio) (Dec 5-2)
197: Rodney Jones (UTC) over Jake Walker (Ohio) (SV-1 8-6)
285: Jordan Earnest (Ohio) over Grayson Walthall (UTC) (Dec 3-2)