The Chattanooga wrestling team took on a ranked opponent for the second time in less than a week Friday. And this time, after just missing out on a big win against No. 12 Purdue on Sunday, the Mocs wouldn't be denied.
Fueled by one of the biggest individual wins in school history—junior Nick Soto's 15-8 victory over Ryan Mango, the No. 1 ranked 133-pounder in the nation—Chattanooga (6-4) posted a 25-13 victory over the No. 15 Stanford Cardinal (8-3) in Palo Alto, Calif.
“We had one of these coming,” UTC head coach Heath Eslinger. “I am not any more proud of our team tonight than I was on Sunday, it just feels better getting the win. We competed hard then and we competed hard tonight. Tonight, things went our way and we were able to get over the hump.”
Soto, a top-10 wrestler at 133 as a freshman, dropped down to 125 last season, and had been out of the national spotlight since midway through his sophomore year. He made his return Friday night.
Chattanooga was trailing 4-0 after suffering a major decision at 125, but Soto came out quickly in the opening three minutes, scoring a pair of takedowns to take a 5-3 lead. He went up 10-3 following another takedown and back points in the second.
He nearly let it slip away in the third, getting caught on his back, barely avoiding a pin. He escaped, however, and scored another takedown before the final horn, marking his third win over a top 5 opponent in his career and first since 2011-12.
“When he gets on guys early, he is dangerous,” Eslinger said. “He was huge for us tonight. It set the tone for the rest of the match.”
The Mocs went on to win the next six matches.
Freshman Michael Pongracz moved up to 141 for his first dual action, and scored a 9-0 major decision over Tommy Pawleski, to give Chattanooga a 7-4 lead, and Stanford could only score on escapes and penalties in the next three matches.
Junior Shaun Greevy defeated Matt Garelli 7-1 at 149, followed by senior Alex Hudson’s 8-1 decision over Brett Baumbach at 157. Corey Mock (165), Levi Clemons (174) and John Lampe (184) also captured wins Friday, while Scottie Boykin (197) and Kevin Malone (285) were beaten in the final two matches of the evening.
Chattanooga returns to action Sunday in Reno, Nev., for the Reno Tournament of Champions.
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