By Kaylene Chadwell, Chattanooga, Tenn., —
The Chattanooga wrestling team clinched their 29th Southern Conference Championships, including three individual titles and two others with automatic bids into the NCAA Championships.
“Right now we have five guys going to NCAAs and another team title at the Southern Conference Tournament, so overall a good day,” head coach Heath Eslinger said to gomocs.com. “We had a rough patch there in the semis, but we battled back. The guys fought hard, and it was a great character check for us.”
Senior Sean Boyle, Lowell, Mass., took first place in the 125 weight class, advancing to NCAA’s for his third time but first time as a Moc.
At 133, senior Nick Soto, Spring Hill, Fla., claimed his fourth SoCon title. He is currently tied for fourth for most all-time wins at UTC. He has a 113-36 career record.
Sophomore Sean Mappes, Greenwood, Ind., was the No. 4 seed at 174. He upset the No. 1 and 2 seeds to win the title. This will be his first appearance in NCAAs.
Senior Shawn Greevy, Mechanicsburg, Pa., will also make his first trip to the NCAA tournament after finishing third in the conference at 149.
At heavyweight, Jared Johnson, Jefferson City, Mo., earned an automatic bid into NCAAs with his solid performance in the consolations in the league tournament and ended up earning true second.
“You look at Sean Boyle, Sean Mappes and Nick Soto, those were all great victories,” Eslinger said. “Greevy punched his ticket because his body of work was good. Jared Johnson battled back to take that true second to earn his spot.”
In the 141 weight class, sophomore Michael Pongracz, Milford, N.J., lost in the finals. Junior Austin Sams, Fairfield, Ohio, sophomore John Shrader, Franklin, Tenn., and sophomore Scottie Boykin, Murfreesboro, Tenn., finished third in each of their weight divisions The NCAA Championships is in St. Louis, Mo., March 19-21