Chattanooga’s wrestling team split its matches in front of a sold-out crowd at Maclellan Gym on Friday. The Mocs shut out NIAI opponent Cumberland 49-0 before falling to No. 2 Iowa 37-6 in the evening’s finale.
“I want to give a big thanks to the community for coming out,” UTC head coach Greg Eslinger said. “I hope people will come back when we wrestle (No. 6) Illinois (Jan. 6) and when we wrestle our conference schedule.”
The Mocs got off to a quick start in their 5 p.m. match with the Bulldogs, jumping out to a 6-0 lead behind Nick Soto’s first-period pin. Chattanooga posted wins up to the 174-pound match before junior Jake Young pinned Cumberland’s Zeke Hunt in the first period.
Robert Prigmore, Niko Brown and Kevin Malone also pinned their respective opponents.
No. 2 Iowa snuffed out any hope of an upset early, sandwiching a major decision at 133 with pins at 125 and 141.
Junior Alex Hudson got UTC on the board with his convincing 6-2 decision over Brody Grothus at 149.
Chattanooga looked like it was going to get another win from Young at 174. He was leading Grant Gambrell 5-1 in the second period, but gave up an escape and takedown before the buzzer. Gambrell chose down in the third and quickly escaped to tie the match at 5-5. Gambrell then scored a takedown late in the period for a 7-5 win.
The match of the night came at 197 between Brown and Iowa's Tomas Lira. Brown was the aggressor from the opening whistle, scoring two takedowns and 4-2 lead early in the first period. Lira countered with a takedown of his own, but Brown escaped before the buzzer to stay ahead 5-4.
Brown escaped again to start the second and ignited the crowd with another takedown for an 8-4 lead. Another takedown in the period gave him a 10-6 lead after five minutes of action. He gave up an escape in the third, but fought off Lira for the 10-7 win to improve to 14-1 on the season.
The Mocs will be back in the room for the next four weeks, preparing for a road trip to Princeton on Dec. 14 and the Grapple in the Garden in New York's Madison Square Garden on Dec. 16, where UTC will face Rutgers and No. 4 Oklahoma State in the first collegiate duals held in the historic arena.
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