UTC's Smith Posts NCAA Wrestling Win
Thursday, March 21, 2019
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling team scored one win on the opening day of the 2019 NCAA Wrestling Championships. Freshman Tanner Smith posted a 12-7 victory against Drexel’s Parker Kropman in the consolation preliminary round at 149 pounds today.
After dropping his pigtail match 149 pounds, Smith was in trouble early in his match against Kropman. Smith trailed 6-2 after the first period, giving up three takedowns in the opening frame. He turned it on in the second, scoring an escape, takedown and four back points to take 9-6 lead into the third. Another takedown and riding time gave the 2019 Southern Conference Freshman of the Year his first win at the NCAAs.
“Tanner showed some heart and fight to come back,” stated head coach Kyle Rushcell. “He scored 10 straight points and was able to get the win. He has fought through injuries and adversity all year, but this will give him some confidence and something to build on heading into offseason.”
Junior Rodney Jones had the best effort in the morning session for the Mocs. He nearly pulled off a win in the pigtail match against Rider’s Ethan Laird at 197 pounds. After a scoreless first period, Laird took bottom and scored one point with an escape. That was the score heading into the third when Jones chose down. He reversed Laird for a 2-1 lead, just 12 seconds into the final frame.
Laird escaped to tie the score and neither got an advantage for the rest of the period. Jones got in on a double with five seconds left in regulation and nearly won the match there. He was not awarded a takedown before time expired. That call was confirmed by video review after the ensuing Chattanooga challenge.
In overtime, Jones nearly got another double right after the first whistle. He was not able to finish the move and Laird countered for the winning takedown. Jones went on to drop an 8-0 match to Northern Colorado’s Jacob Seely in the consolation prelims. That ended Jones’ run at the NCAA’s.
Senior Alonzo Allen ended his career with two losses at 125 today. Junior Chris Debien also went 0-2 at 141 pounds. Smith lost in the morning session to Michigan’s Malik Amine (9-2), before falling to Stanford’s 14th-seed Requir van der Merwe (8-0).
“The results today were disappointing, but I can’t thank these guys enough for their effort throughout the season,” added Ruschell. “The future is definitely bright for Chattanooga wrestling and we look forward to building on this championship program.”
UTC wraps up its 2019 campaign with a 7-7 overall record and a share of the Southern Conference title at 5-1 in league duals in Ruschell’s first season. In addition to Smith’s freshman of the year honor, Debien won the league title at 141 and was joined by Allen on the All-SoCon team.
125 – Alonzo Allen
7 Pat Glory (Princeton) – L-TF, 0-16 (3:16)
Carmen Ferrante (Penn) – L-D, 5-7 (SV1)
141 – Chris Debien
No. 5 Jaydin Eierman (Missouri) – L-Fall (4:41)
Austin Headlee (UNC) – L-Fall (4:02)
149 – Tanner Smith
Malik Amine (Michigan) – L-D, 2-9
Parker Kropman (Drexel) – W-D, 12-7
No. 14 Requir van der Merwe (Stanford) – L-MD, 0-8
197 – Rodney Jones
Ethan Laird (Rider) – L-D, 2-4 (SV1)
Jacob Seely (Northern Colorado) – L-MD, 0-8