BOONE, N.C. - Led by four individual titlists, Chattanooga returned to its perch atop the Southern Conference by winning the 2011 SoCon Wrestling Championship on Saturday at the Holmes Center.
After a disappointing fourth-place finish last year, Chattanooga won its 25th overall SoCon title and its sixth in the last seven years. The Mocs' SoCon-record 25 team championships have come in just 34 years in the league.
With four runners-up and one third-place finisher to go along with its four conference champs, UTC totaled 98 points to dethrone defending champion UNC Greensboro (87.5 pts.). Host Appalachian State placed third with 57.5 points, followed by The Citadel (44.5 pts.), VMI (27 pts.) and Davidson (18 pts.).
Chattanooga, UNC Greensboro and Appalachian accounted for nine of the league's 10 individual champions. UTC's Demetrius Johnson (133 lbs.), Cody Cleveland (141 lbs.), Josh Condon (157 lbs.) and Brandon Wright (174 lbs.), UNCG's Manuel Ramirez (125 lbs.), Ivan Lopouchanski (149 lbs.) and Caylor Williams (197 lbs.) and ASU's Kyle Blevins (165 lbs.) and Austin Trotman (184 lbs.) won SoCon titles and the accompanying automatic berths to the NCAA Championships, which will be held March 17-19 in Philadelphia. VMI heavyweight Josh Wine rounded out the first-place finishers with a last-second 3-2 double-overtime triumph over UNCG's Peter Sturgeon.
Cleveland, who earned all-America honors as a freshman in 2008, and Wine both became three-time SoCon champions while Loupouchanski and Trotman each won their second conference titles.
The match of the tournament came in 165-pound title match, where second-seeded Blevins stunned SoCon Wrestler of the Year and defending conference champion Turtogtokh Luvsandorj of The Citadel with a 4-3 double-overtime decision. With the thrilling win over Luvsandorj, who came into the championship with a 38-7 overall record and ranked in the top 10 nationally, the ASU junior was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Wrestler.
Despite the loss to Blevins, Luvsandorj still earned a trip to Philadelphia. The NCAA awarded the SoCon with a second national bid at 165 pounds, which Luvsandorj claimed with a 5-1 victory over UTC's Dan Waddell. The SoCon also received a second NCAA berth in the heavyweight division, which was won by UNCG's Peter Sturgeon, who downed Appalachian's Marc Tyson, 7-3, in the final match of the evening.
At-large berths for the NCAA Championships will be awarded on Monday.
FINAL TEAM SCORES
1) Chattanooga - 98 pts.
2) UNC Greensboro - 87.5 pts.
3) Appalachian State - 57.5 pts.
4) The Citadel - 44.5 pts.
5) VMI - 27 pts.
6) Davidson - 18 pts.
INDIVIDUAL CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS
125 - No. 1 Manuel Ramirez (UNCG) dec. No. 3 Prescott Garner (UTC), 17-6
133 - No. 2 Demetrius Johnson (UTC) dec. No. 1 Jamel Johnson (UNCG), 5-1
141 - No. 1 Cody Cleveland (UTC) dec. No. 3 Mike Kessler (ASU), 9-5
149 - No. 1 Ivan Lopouchanski (UNCG) dec. No. 2 Dean Pavlous (UTC), 7-5
157 - No. 1 Josh Condon (UTC) dec. No. 2 Pierre Frazile (CIT), 11-5
165 - No. 2 Kyle Blevins (ASU) dec. No. 1 Turtogtokh Lusandorj (CIT), 4-3 (2OT)
174 - No. 1 Brandon Wright (UTC) dec. No. 3 Byron Sigmon (UNCG), 6-4
184 - No. 1 Austin Trotman (ASU) dec. No. 2 Jason McCroskey (UTC), 6-4
197 - No. 1 Caylor Williams (UNCG) dec. No. 2 Nikolas Brown (UTC), 3-2
285 - No. 1 Josh Wine (VMI) dec. No. 2 Peter Sturgeon (UNCG), 3-2
NCAA SECOND-PLACE TIEBREAKERS (winners also receive automatic berths to NCAA Championships)
165 - No. 1 Turtogtokh Lusandorj (CIT) dec. No. 3 Dan Waddell (UTC), 5-1
285 - No. 2 Peter Sturgeon (UNCG) dec. No. 4 Marc Tyson (ASU), 7-3