By Zack Kirby, Chattanooga, TN—After winning the SoCon regular season and tournament titles, the Chattanooga Mocs wrestling team had their sights set on the
NCAA Championships, which were held in Des Moines, Iowa.
UTC had three wrestlers make it through the first day, with senior Josh Condon, from Powder Springs Ga., leading the way.
He picked up his first win in the NCAA Championships with a 7-4 victory in the first round. In the second round, Condon went on to drop a close 4-2 decision to Oklahoma State’s fourth-seeded Tyler Caldwell.
In the 149 pound division, junior Alex Hudson, from Marietta, Ga., faced fifth seeded Steve Santos of Columbia.
The score was tied 5-5, but with just over a minute of riding time in the third period, Hudson gave up the pin with under a minute left.
At 141, senior Dean Pavlou, from Cleveland, Tenn., competed hard in a tough 5-2 loss to Trevor Melde of Rutgers, and sophomore Nick Soto, from Spring Hill, Fla., lost in a major decision to Wyoming’s Tyler Cox in the 125 pound division.
Finishing out the first round of competition for the Mocs was senior Niko Brown, from Kissimmee, Fla., who fell 3-1 to ninth-seeded Jake Meredith of Arizona State.
Soto competed again in the second round, but gave up a pin in the second period to Virginia Tech’s Jarrod Garnett, who was seeded fifth, and Pavlou gave up a 6-1 decision to Missouri’s Nicholas Hucke.
Despite the early losses for Chattanooga, Hudson picked up a 10-5 victory over Max Mayfield of Iowa State to give the Mocs their second win.
Closing out the first day for the Mocs was Brown, who faced Cornell’s Jace Bennet and walked out with a 9-5 win to give UTC their third win for the day.
On the second day of competition, the Mocs fought hard but lost their three consolation matches to end their run at the NCAA Championships.
Hudson opened for the Mocs against Minnesota’s sixth-seeded Dylan Ness, where he went up quickly 2-0 in the first period, but gave up a pin with 2:30 remaining in the second.
Hudson finished his season with his first trip to the NCAA’s and a 16-7 overall record.
Condon faced Austin Wilson of Nebraska, where he picked up some points with two takedowns and a reversal to go up 6-4, but ultimately fell in the match 10-7 after Wilson’s late takedown and three back points.
After making his second trip to the NCAA’s, Condon closed out his senior season at 13-7, with a 52-24 overall record.
Finally for the Mocs, Brown gave up a pinfall to seventh seeded Nathan Schiedel of Binghampton with less than minute left in the match.
Brown’s senior season was nothing short of sensational, including a 30-5 record, and makes him just two short of being in the all-time top 10 regular season wins at Chattanooga.
“I don’t say we are disappointed in our performance but we obviously wanted more,” head coach Heath Eslinger told gomocs.com. “We took five great guys out there that I thought each had an opportunity to do some great things and we just came up short. We’ve got a great group of seniors that just completed their career here at Chattanooga, and I can’t thank them enough for the things they have brought to our program. They are definitely leaving their mark on Chattanooga Wrestling.”