The Chattanooga wrestling team came close against No. 21 Purdue on Sunday at Mountain View High School in Lawrenceville, Ga., but ultimately suffered a narrow defeat to the Boilermakers in a contest that came down to the final match.
The Mocs (4-4) won five matches on the afternoon, but gave up a pair of costly pins and lost two more in overtime.
“There is a tipping point when you move from good to great and we have to take advantage of one of these opportunities to do that,” UTC head coach Greg Eslinger said after his team's 21-15 defeat. “I thought it was a good match, but I thought we could have won eight of the 10 matches.”
The score was still knotted up at 15 with one match remaining, though, before junior Levi Clemons was caught early and gave up the first-period fall to Purdue’s Patrick Kissell, securing the victory for the Boilermakers.
“Everyone thinks it falls on Levi but we had two overtime matches we could have won too,” Eslinger said. “We have to rally around those guys and find a way to get their confidence where it needs to be.”
Action began with an exciting match at 184 between sophomore John Lampe and Purdue’s Tyler Lynde. Lynde held a 1-0 lead after the first period, but Lampe scored a takedown in the second for a 3-1 advantage. After choosing down in the third, Lynde scored an escape and a takedown to go up 4-3. Lampe tied the match with an escape before the buzzer and won it in overtime with a takedown.
Freshman Jared Johnson battled No. 15 Braden Atwood at 197, and despite the 10-4 defeat, Johnson was able to avoid giving up bonus points with a late escape.
Junior Kevin Malone put the Mocs back on top, 6-3, with his 3-0 win over Alex White at heavyweight, as his second-period escape and takedown proved to be the difference.
Purdue reclaimed a 9-6 advantage with the first of its two pins on the day—Camden Eppert scored a second-period fall against freshman Byron Smith at 125.
Junior Nick Soto started strong at 133 against Cashé Quiroga, jumping out to a 5-0 lead after two periods. Quiroga battled back to tie the match at 8-8 in the third, but an escape and riding time for Soto gave him the 10-8 victory to tie the team score at 9-9.
Freshman Alex Hudson (157) and junior Corey Mock (165)—ranked as high as No. 4 coming into the match—both captured wins on Sunday, while freshman Michael Hooker was defeated by Purdue’s Doug Welch at 157.
The Mocs return to action this evening when they open Southern Conference action against Gardner-Webb at MacLellan Gym for the Taziki’s Candlelight Dinner Match.
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