Wrestling Set to Compete in 2011 SoCon Championships
Charleston, S.C. ? Wrapping up their 2010-2011 campaign, The Citadel Wrestling team will travel to Boone, N.C. on Saturday for the Southern Conference Championships at the Holmes Convocation Center.Doors open at 10 a.m. on Saturday with the preliminary rounds beginning at 11 a.m. In the afternoon, semifinals are slated for 1 p.m. with the consolation finals taking place at 5 p.m. The finals begin at 7 p.m. with the awards presentation to follow shortly after.
?We are favored in one weight class,? said head coach Rob Hjerling. ?In order to have a competitive weekend, we need to wrestle above our seeds. I think the schedule really prepared us all year for this. These guys, both individually and collectively, are as ready as I have seen us be prepared in the last few years. Hopefully it will pay off on Saturday in Boone.?
About The Citadel
The Bulldogs (8-12, 3-2) ended their regular season with a 28-9 win over Gardner-Webb in Charleston on Feb. 19. The Citadel has endured one of toughest schedules in school history this season with 20 dual meets scheduled and taking part in nationally-recognized tournaments such as the Southern Scuffle and the All-Academy Championships. The Bulldogs faced a pair of ranked opponents in both the Hershey Duals and the Lone Star Duals this season and faced four ACC opponents, all of which were on the road.
Six SoCon squads will battle it out on Saturday in Boone for the title of SoCon Champions. The 10 wrestlers that win individual titles will gain an automatic berth into the NCAA Championships in Philadelphia on March 17-20. Last season, UNC Greensboro dethroned Chattanooga in the SoCon Championships at Davidson. The Citadel finished in second place behind the Spartans, which was their best finish since the 2004-2005 season.
Last Time Out
The Citadel wrapped up the 2010-2011 regular season on Feb. 19 in Charleston with a 28-9 win over Gardner-Webb on Senior Night at McAlister Field House. Seven Bulldogs collected wins in the dual including a fall by Luke Johnson, a tech fall by Turtogtokh Luvsandorj, major decisions by Tyler Sim and Derek Royster and decisions by Richard Alarcon, Justin Sparrow and Kelby Smith. The Cadets never trailed in the dual and closed out seniors Sim and Royster in style with a win.
Turtogtokh Luvsandorj Named SoCon Wrestler of the Year
Sophomore Turtogtokh Luvsandorj was named the Southern Conference Wrestler of the Year this week. Wrestling at 165 pounds, Luvsandorj was tabbed Wrestler of the Year after compiling an overall record of 36-7 and a 5-0 SoCon record. The native of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, has ascended to the top 10 in most major national rankings and boasts an 8-1 mark against other Top 25 opponents.
This season, Luvsandorj became the highest ranked wrestler in Citadel history when he rose to No. 6 in the majority of the national polls. The sophomore sits just three wins shy of the single-season win mark set by Ryan McClester?s 39 wins in the 2003-04 season.
Luvsandorj has already collected SoCon Wrestler of the Month awards in December and January and has twice been tabbed SoCon Wrestler of the Week this season.
Luke Johnson Named to All-SoCon Freshman Team
Freshman Luke Johnson has stepped in and started nearly every dual this season at heavyweight for The Citadel while two-time NCAA qualifier Odie Delaney redshirts in the 2010-11 season. In his place, Johnson picked up eight wins on the season and four falls, including one in his last outing as he pinned Gardner-Webb?s Tyler Arrowood at the 2:38 mark.
Nationally Ranked Bulldogs
Turtogtokh Luvsandorj is now 36-7 on the season and ranked in every major national wrestling poll. He ascended into the top 10 nationally of all five major polls (W.I.N, Amateur Wrestling News, WrestlingReport.com, InterMat, and D1 CollegeWrestling.net) at some during the 2010-2011 season. His career record now sits at 62-19 (.765). The sophomore has gone 8-1 against nationally ranked competition this season and became the highest ranked wrestler in school history when he came in at No. 6 in late January and early February.
Redshirt junior J.C. Oddo has also been in the national rankings during the season before a late season injury slowed down the 174-pounder.
What to Watch
*Turtogtokh Luvsandorj needs just three wins to tie the single-season school record for most victories. Ryan McClester set the record in the 2003-04 season with 39 wins.
*Redshirt seniors Tyler Sim and Derek Royster will be both be shooting to finish their careers in style in search of their first SoCon titles in Boone on Saturday.
Sparrow and Smith Catching Fire
A pair of Bulldogs have caught fire in 2011. At 184 pounds, Justin Sparrow was named SoCon Wrestler of the Week on Feb. 23 as the redshirt junior has gone 12-3 since January 1 with all three losses coming to nationally ranked opponents. Meanwhile, Kelby Smith had an impressive February at 197 pounds. The junior posted a record of 5-1 and was highlighted by a title at the All-Academy Championships on Feb. 6.
Dogs Take Second at All-Academy Championships
In one of their more impressive outings of the season, The Citadel tied their best finish ever at the All-Academy Championships with a second place finish on Feb. 6 at McAlister Field House. The Bulldogs led all teams after the opening round, as they advanced nine wrestlers into the placing round. The Citadel then advanced six wrestlers into the finals with Turtogtokh Luvsandorj (165 pounds) and Kelby Smith (197 pounds) taking home titles. Richard Alarcon (125 pound), Derek Royster (149 pounds), J.C. Oddo (174 pounds) and Justin Sparrow (184 pounds) all finished in second place for the Bulldogs.
A full recap and agate of action will be posted after the championships on Saturday. For more information on Bulldog Wrestling, visit CitadelSports.com.