By Kaylene Chadwell, Chattanooga, Tenn.,— Seven Mocs competed in the NCAA Wrestling Championships in St. Louis, Mo.
“Obviously we always want to win the team championship,” head coach Heath Eslinger said to gomocs.com. “More importantly it’s about punching guys through and having guys win at the NCAA Tournament.”
This is the most UTC has sent to the NCAA’s in one year since 2008. Five of the wrestlers qualified automatically and two were given at-large bids.
Senior Sean Boyle, Lowell, Mass., was one win shy of claiming All-American honors. The last Moc to receive that honor was in 2008.
Boyle won his first round match as the No. 5 seed at 125. Next, he played the No. 12 seed he had beaten earlier in the season. However, this time around he dropped the 12-7 after three takedowns and two back points from his opponent in the first period.
Boyle racked up two wins in the back draw. Then, he played another opponent he had beaten earlier this season but lost after getting pinned 27 seconds in to the match.
No. 15 seed Nick Soto, senior, Spring Hill, Fla., was upset in the first round at 133 after being pinned by Cornell’s Mark Grey.
“He’s (Nick) is a bad draw for anybody, whether it’s the No. 1 seed or the No. 15 seed,” Eslinger said to gomocs.com.
In the consolation bracket, he was matched up against North Carolina’s Troy Heilmann, who Soto had lost to twice in the regular season. Soto took the match 8-4. Then, he lost to the No. 16 seed.
Sophomore Scottie Boykin, Murfreesboro, Tenn., lost to the top seed and defending NCAA Champion at the 197 weight class.
Boykin trailed 3-0 at the end of the first two periods and then 8-1 after the final stanza. In his first back draw match, he clinched a 2-0 win. Next, he beat the No. 10 seed 8-6 after scoring a takedown in the last period. Boykin got pinned in his final match.
Senior Shawn Greevy, Mechanicsburg, Pa., and sophomores Michael Pongracz, Milford, N.J., Sean Mappes, Greenwood, N.J., and Jared Johnson, Jefferson City, Mo., made their first trips to the NCAA’s. They each went 0-2, with six of their eight matchups being against seeded opponents.