CHATTANOOGA (UTC) -- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling team has dominated the Southern Conference throughout its history and 2013-14 is shaping up to be another championship run for the Mocs.
The SoCon's eight wrestling coaches picked UTC to win its 28th league title since joining in 1977 in preseason voting released Thursday.
Chattanooga picked up four-first place votes and 46 total points to top second-place Appalachian State by four. The Mocs will be seeking their ninth regular-season and tournament titles in the last 10 years.
Head coach Heath Eslinger's squad boasts two members on the preseason All-SoCon team. After winning the league title at 125 last season, junior Nick Soto is the preseason pick at 133. He won that title as a freshman in 2012. Fellow junior Kevin Malone was the coaches' preseason selection at heavyweight.
Alex Hudson, the Mocs lone senior, won the SoCon title at 149, but has moved up to 157 for 2013-14. Junior Levi Clemons was an NCAA qualifier at 174 pounds in 2012. He is coming off a redshirt season and will contend for the top spot in the conference at that weight. Junior Corey Mock, a two-time NCAA qualifier and transfer from North Carolina, will be in the Mocs lineup at 165.
The Mountaineers, who claimed 42 points and two first-place votes to edge The Citadel for second in the poll, placed a league-high four wrestlers on the preseason all-conference team. Dominic Parisi (125), Dylan Cottrell (149), Zack Strickland (165) and Paul Weiss (197) all took the honor for Appalachian State.
The Citadel picked up the remaining two first-place votes and totaled 41 points in the poll. Returning 157-pound champion Matt Frisch was the preseason all-conference selection at that weight this season, while teammate Turtogtokh Luvsandorj, who redshirted last season, was the pick at 174 pounds. Luvsandorj was the SoCon champion at 174 in 2012 and at 157 in 2010.
Gardner-Webb was fourth in the poll with 28 points and saw Ryan Mosley claim a preseason all-conference nod at 141 pounds. Campbell was right behind the Runnin' Bulldogs with 27 points, while SIUE was sixth with 19 points. Davidson was seventh with 12 and put Scott Patrick on the preseason squad at 184 pounds. VMI rounded out the poll with nine points.
The Mocs open up 2013-14 action with the Blue & Gold Match in the First Tennessee Pavilion on Saturday, Oct. 26. The season-opening exhibition is right in the middle of football tailgating and starts at 11:30 a.m. The first duals of the season are Nov. 8 against Cumberland and No. 8 Wisconsin in Maclellan Gym.
Information provided by UTC Sports Media Relations and GoMocs.com.
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