Wednesday, April 23, 2014 · 10:36 a.m.
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Chattanooga's Corey Mock. (Photo: GoMocs.com)

The Chattanooga wrestling team opened Southern Conference action with a dominating 35-3 victory over Gardner-Webb on Monday, delighting the crowd at the Taziki’s Candlelight Dinner Match by winning nine of 10 individual matches. 

Instead of pulling out the bleachers, the Mocs sold matside tables and brought in Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe to cater a formal dinner for fans, providing a very unique atmosphere for those in attendance.

“Overall it was a great night,” UTC wrestling coach Heath Eslinger said. “We want to be innovators in our sport and in athletics. Obviously, the exclamation point is we come away with a good win and solid, solid wrestling.”

PHOTOS: UTC wrestling’s Taziki’s Candlelight Dinner Match (GoMocs.com)

“I think we upped it a notch, just with the classiness of it,” he added. “It was a great event. We are grateful to the people who support us and buy these tables. Good things are in the works for Chattanooga wrestling.”

Chattanooga raced out to a 17-0 lead by winning the first five matches, starting with sophomore John Lampe’s 5-2 decision over Gray Jones.

“We started at ’84 yesterday and thought it was a great place to start,” Eslinger said. “We drew it again today. John Lampe is just a kid that does not want to lose.”

Freshman Scottie Boykin followed with an impressive 11-3 major decision over Boyce Cornwell at 197, and junior Kevin Malone was next with his 7-4 decision over Justin Kozera at heavyweight.  

Freshman Campbell Lewis scored his first collegiate victory tonight, spotting the Mocs a 13-0 lead following his 5-0 win over William Anderson at 125—one of four UTC shutous on the evening.Nick Soto (133), Michael Hooker (149), Alex Hudon (157), Corey Mock (165) and Levi Clomons (174) also captured wins in their respective weight classes Monday, while Austin Sams was the only Moc to be defeated, falling to Ryan Mosley, 6-1, at 141. 

Mock, who came into his match undefeated, battled Gardner-Webb’s Austin Trott, who an impressive 13-2 on the year, in what was expected to be the match of the night. It turned out to be rather one-sided, though.

“Corey Mock has been outstanding,” said Eslinger. “That kid he wrestled is tough and he made it look easy. He has a lot of confidence and confidence wins athletic events. It is starting to permeate our team and he is doing a great job being a leader. He is doing the right things and he will continue to get better.”

Mock, who led 6-0 after the opening period, eventually rolled to a 17-0 victory, while Clemons, who suffered the match-clinching defeat in Sunday’s 21-15 defeat to Purdue, put the finishing touches on Monday’s contest, pinning Gardner-Webb's Brett Swain (2:22) in the first period.

“Levi needed that,” Eslinger said. “Levi Clemons is a guy we had to rally around and he did great tonight.”

The Mocs return to to action this weekend with a three-day trip out west. They'll face Stanford in a dual match Friday before competing in the Reno (Nev.) Tournament of Champions on Sunday. UTC’s next home event is the prestigious Southern Scuffle, a 34-team tournament at McKenzie Arena scheduled for Jan. 1-2. 

Michael Murphy covers UTC athletics for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelNooga.

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