UTC Wrestlers Win 29-15 Over Southern Illinois-Edwardsville

Friday, January 19, 2018
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling team posted a 29-15 Southern Conference win over Southern Illinois-Edwardsville in Maclellan Gym tonight.  It was a tight match halfway through the evening before UTC took control.

Chattanooga split the first four matches, but led 11-6 thanks to bonus points.  Junior Chris Debien scored a pin at 133, while senior Michael Pongracz had a tech fall at 141.

"Chris Debien got his weight down and that is how Chris has to go out and wrestle," stated head coach Heath Eslinger.
  "When you do that, great things happen."

The Mocs seemed poised to take over when junior Dylan Forzani went up 6-0 at 157.  However, he got caught in a scramble in the second period and was pinned by Karsten Van Velson.

"Dylan Forzani lost, but it is the best he has looked all year," said Eslinger.  "It is not just about winning and losing, it is about effort.  Are you getting better in the things we worked on?  He got caught and it stinks, but I can live with that."

Not only was UTC now trailing 12-11, but senior Chad Pyke gave up a quick takedown and was almost pinned in the opening seconds of the 165 match.  He managed to fight off bonus points before falling to Nate Higgins 10-3. 

A forfeit at 174 put UTC back in front 17-15 in the team race and the Mocs won the last three to close out the Cougars.  Senior Bryce Carr, ranked No. 15 at 184 this week, moved to 19-5 overall with an impressive first period pin.

Senior Scottie Boykin had a tough bout with Christian Delaney at 197.  Both Boykin (11) and Delaney (32) are listed in this week's NCAA Rankings.  Boykin was steady in his match and posted a 6-3 decision to improve to 20-5.

That was career win No. 88 for Boykin (88-40), passing Pat Murphy (1980-83) for No. 10 on the Mocs' all-time wins list.    

The most entertaining bout came at heavyweight, featuring freshman Ben Stacey.  Stacey weighed in at 195, but moved up to heavyweight due to injuries for the fourth time in a dual this season. 

SIUE's Bryce Shewan had a couple of takedowns and took a 4-3 lead into the second period.  Stacey scored a takedown of his own in the second to tie the match at 5-5.  The match was tied at seven in the third when the crowd really got going. 

The fans went nuts when Stacey took down Shewan late in the final frame and nearly pinned him for the win.  Instead he scored four backpoints to seal a 13-7 win.

"Ben Stacey is what athletics should produce in young people," added Eslinger.  "He is resilient, tough, great teammate, all of those things.  That is what athletics is about. 

"That is why he is fun to coach and that is why his teammates were going crazy.  He comes in every day and he does what he is supposed to do and he gets the job done.  People cheer for that."
Tonight was career win No. 98 for head coach Heath Eslinger (98-60 - .620) in nine seasons with the Mocs.  He is an astonishing 50-4 (.926) in league duals. 

Up next for the Mocs is a quick trip to The Citadel.  The Mocs take on the Bulldogs on Sunday, Jan. 21, at 2:00 p.m. in Charleston, S.C.  Follow the action via live scoring links on the wrestling schedule page on GoMocs.com. 

Chattanooga 29 – Southern Illinois-Edwardsville 15
Maclellan Gym – Chattanooga, Tenn. – Friday, Jan. 19
125: Zachary Gentzler (SIE) over Alonzo Allen (CHAT) (Dec 5-4)
133: Chris Debien (CHAT) over Joe Antonelli (SIE) (Fall 0:52)
141: Mike Pongracz (CHAT) over Dakota Leach (SIE) (TF 18-0 6:01)
149: Tyshawn Williams (SIE) over Roman Boylen (CHAT) (Dec 14-8)
157: Karsten Van Velsor (SIE) over Dylan Forzani (CHAT) (Fall 4:06)
165: Nate Higgins (SIE) over Chad Pyke (CHAT) (Dec 10-3)
174: Justin Lampe (CHAT) over (SIE) (For.)
184: Bryce Carr (CHAT) over Jake Godinez (SIE) (Fall 1:54)
197: Scottie Boykin (CHAT) over Christian Dulaney (SIE) (Dec 6-3)
285: Ben Stacey (CHAT) over Bryce Shewan (SIE) (Dec 13-7)

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