Mocs wrestling wins SoCon opener at home
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling team posted a 32-8 win over VMI in Maclellan Gym today. The Mocs won eight of 10 matches to improve to 3-5 overall and 1-0 in Southern Conference action.
Head coach Kyle Ruschell had to make a few adjustments in his lineup due to some injuries, and the Mocs responded with an impressive win. UTC took the first six matches, running out to a 25-0 lead to secure the team victory.
Freshman Mason Wallace was one of those adjustments. He bumped up to 157 in place of an injured Ryan Resnick for the third match in row. After a scoreless first, Wallace chose bottom and was turned for two back points by VMI's Darren Ostrander. Wallace tied the match with a reversal late.
Ostrander chose bottom in the third period and could not get off the mat. Wallace drew two stalling calls that gave him a 3-2 lead. Riding time at the end of the match left the final score 4-2 as Wallace improved to 14-9 overall and 2-1 at 157.
Junior Trey Watson may have had the match of the day, despite falling 10-4 in overtime. A regular back-up at 165, Watson moved all the way to 184 to replace an injured Dominic Lampe. There was a visible size difference between Watson and his opponent, Max Gallahan. However, it was Watson that was the aggressor throughout the match.
Watson was in on single-leg shots throughout the first period. He was so aggressive that he drew a hands to the face penalty soon after the opening whistle.
Gallahan took bottom in the second, leading 1-0. He escaped and went up 4-0 with a takedown of his own. Watson drew a penalty point from Gallahan and escaped late for a 4-2 deficit. In the third, Watson escaped and forced a second stalling call to tie the match. He nearly won it at the buzzer, but could not finish his shot in time.
A quick scramble in sudden-victory resulted in a Gallahan takedown and Watson giving up four back points. Regardless of the outcome, the crowd on hand gave Watson the loudest ovation of the day for his gutty performance.
"We asked Trey yesterday if he would wrestle at 184 and he stepped up for the team," said Ruschell. "He put himself in a position to win and almost pulled it off."
Other winners for the Mocs today included freshman Tanner Smith's pin at 149 and sophomore Fabian Gutierrez's tech fall at 125. Freshman Drew Nicholson (165), junior Jake Huffine (133) and senior Connor Tolley (285) all had major decisions, while junior Chris Debien (141) and senior Rodney Jones (197) scored wins.
"It is exactly what we preach every day," added Ruschell. "We expect their full effort. The main thing about this dual, we did not want them to hang around and keep the matches close. We needed to be on their legs and think offense right away. Our guys did that today."
Up next for the Mocs is a home match against Davidson on Sunday, Jan. 27. Match time is set for 2:00 p.m. (E.S.T.) in Maclellan Gym. Tickets are available now on GoMocs.com.