Wrestling dominates Gardner-Webb and App State over the weekend

By Zack Kirby, Chattanooga, TN—The Chattanooga Mocs wrestling team defeated Gardner-Webb last Friday by a score of 40-6, which was followed by a 29-9

Defeat is not an option: Sophomore Nick Soto, from Spring Hill, Fla., leads his team to victory against Gardner-Webb’s Starkes and again against App State’s Parisi.

win over Appalachian State on Sunday.

On Friday against Gardner-Webb, the Mocs finished with nine wins and four pins to take the match. UTC improved to 6-6 overall, and were 2-0 in the SoCon after that win. The Bulldogs are only an affiliate member of the SoCon in wrestling, and they fell to 4-8 of the season and 2-4 in the conference.

Opening the match at 125 pounds was sophomore Nick Soto, from Spring Hill, Fla., who came into the match ranked 18th in the nation.  He defeated GWU’s Cortez Starks in a 12-0 major decision.

Freshman Marvin Lopez, from Marietta, Ga., won his match by decision at 133, followed by senior Dean Pavlou, from Cleveland, Tenn., who picked up the first of UTC’s four pins at 141.

Winning his third straight match with a 4-0 decision over the Bulldog’s Ryan Medved at 149 was junior Alex Hudson, from Marietta, Ga. His win gave UTC a 16-0 lead through the first four matches.

Gardner-Webb got on the board when Alex Medved pinned sophomore Trey Stavrum, from Chattanooga, Tenn., at 157, but that would prove to be the only points for the Bulldogs for the entire match.

Despite possible momentum being built for the Bulldogs, it was all taken away when senior Josh Condon, from Powder Springs, Ga., pinned Justin Guthrie to give UTC a 22-6 lead.

Robert Prigmore, a senior from Southlake, Texas, sealed the win for the Mocs with his 2-1 overtime win, while fellow senior Niko Brown, from Kissimmee, Fla., extended his outstanding season with his eighth pin of the year at 197, which leads the team.

Brown is ranked 19th in the nation with his 22-3 overall record and he improved his dual matches record to 10-0 for the season. Lastly, sophomore Kevin Malone, from Carrollton, Ohio, claimed a 3-0 decision to give the Mocs their 40-6 victory.

The following Sunday, the Mocs wrestling team was back in action at Appalachian State, where again they won in convincing fashion. Their 29-9 victory over the Mountaineers now improves UTC’s record to 7-6 overall, and 3-0 in the SoCon.

Last year, ASU defeated UTC last year and snapped their 39-match regular season SoCon winning streak; however, that wasn’t the case this year.

Soto kicked off the match with a 10-2 decision over App State’s Dominic Parisi, but the Mountaineers gained a tad of momentum when Brett Boston pinned UTC’s Marvin Lopez at 133.

The Mocs re-gained an 8-6 lead when Dean Pavlou won by a 13-4 major decision at 141. Also, Alex Hudson shut out ASU’s Zach Ketcher 4-0 at 149, followed by another shut out from Trey Stavrum, who won 5-0 at 157.

At 165 pounds, Condon kept up his undefeated 3-0 SoCon record by pinning his opponent. Sean Mappes gave the Mocs a 23-6 lead when he won his match with a 7-2 decision at 174.

Niko Brown now moves to 22-3 overall and is 11-0 in dual matches after his 4-0 shutout win over Paul Weiss at 157. Finally, Kevin Malone ended the match with a win of his own; a 5-0 shutout over Joe Cummings at heavyweight.

Head Coach Heath Eslinger said he was very satisfied with how dominant his team was over the weekend, and he hopes to see it continue for their future matchups.

“I think our guys are doing a good job,” Eslinger said. “They’re ready to compete, they’re executing everything in competition and when you do that, good things happen.”

Chattanooga (7-6, 3-0 in SoCon) will return to the mat on Feb. 10, against the Davidson Wildcats (6-9, 1-3 in SoCon) at Maclellan Gym. Competition is set to take place at 2:00 p.m.

Already looking forward to Davidson, Coach Eslinger believes that his team will be prepared for the upcoming matchup.

“We match up with them well, and I think we got to have a great week of practice and preparation, and then we’ve got to be hungry and compete Sunday.”

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