Defending NCAA champion Penn State, runner-up Cornell and Minnesota landed were each accorded three top seeds for the Southern Scuffle, which begins Sunday morning at McKenzie Arena.
The wrestling tournament features a number of teams ranked in the latest Top 25 including Penn State, which won the national tournament last year, and Cornell, who tied the Nittany Lions for last year's Southern Scuffle before finishing second at the NCAAs. The final No. 1 seed went to Oregon State.
The tournament will run Sunday and Monday with the first round to begin at 10 Sunday morning. The championship quarterfinals are to begin at 6:30 Sunday night. Monday begins with a 9 a.m. consolation round with the championship semifinals to start at 11 a.m. Medal rounds (third-eighth places) are at 2:30 on three mats and the championship finals will begin at 6.
In the latest NWCA rankings released the middle of last week Minnesota is No. 3, Cornell No. 4 and Penn State No. 5.
"The wrestling that will be seen is the best bang a person can get for his buck. We'll have some of the best wrestling in the country right in our back yard," UTC coach Heath Eslinger said. "Obviously you don't have every team here but I think you have a significant enough amount that it will be like a NCAA tournament. There are great matches in every round."
The No. 1-seeded wrestlers are Zachary Sanders (125), David Thorn (133) and Tony Nelson (285) from Minnesota; Frank Molinaro (149), David Taylor (165) and Edward Ruth (174) from Penn State; Cornell's Kyle Drake (157), Steve Bosak (184) and Cameron Simaz (197); and Oregon State's Michael Mangrum (141).
All-Americans in the group include Minnesota's Nelson, Cornell's Drake, Bosak and Simaz and Penn State's Ruth, Taylor and Molinaro. Ruth, a 2011 Big Ten champion, finished third at the NCAAs but also won the Gorriaran Award for most pins in the least amount of time at the tournament. He had two in a total of 66 seconds.
Highest seeded wrestler from the Southern Conference is Appalachian State 184-pounder Austin Trotman, who was accorded a No. 4 slot in what some are calling the tournament's toughest weight class.
Other Top 25 teams in the field are Missouri (12), Virginia Tech (15), Oregon State (16) and Hofstra (25).
Minnesota has eight wrestlers seeded among the top four in each weight class while Penn State, Cornell and Missouri have six apiece and Oregon State four.
Other teams joining host UTC and the those already mentioned are Army, The Citadel, Cleveland State, Duke, Gardner-Webb, Indiana, Navy, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Ohio, Old Dominion and Virginia.
"There are a lot of teams here that some people wouldn't consider maybe a powerhouse but there are good teams that can surprise the traditional teams," Eslinger said.
The Mocs are doing double-duty, both hosting and wrestling but the coach is looking forward to it.
"I definitely think we have the guys in our lineup that can make noise. The good thing is that this will be the first time we will compete in a two-day tournament, and it will be interesting to see how we handle ourselves winning and losing," he said.
The Scuffle was previously held at UNC Greensboro but the Mocs took over the tournament when UNCG was forced to drop its wrestling program at the conclusion of the 2011 season.
Scuffle's Top seeds
(1-4 in each weight class)
125 -- 1. Zachary Sanders, Minnesota; 2. Alan Waters, Missouri; 3. Frank Perrelli, Cornell; 4. Steve Bonanno, Hofstra.
133 -- David Thorn, Minnesota; 2. Nathan McCormick, Missouri; 3. Aaron Kalil, Navy; 4. Garrett Drucker, Oregon State.
141 -- 1. Michael Mangrum, Oregon State; 2. Evan Henderson, North Carolina; 3. Nick Dardenes, Minnesota; 4. Michael Nevinger, Cornell.
149 -- 1. Frank Molinaro, Penn State; 2. Kyle Bradley, Missouri; 3. Dylan Ness, Minnesota; 4. Craig Eifert, Cornell.
157 -- Kyle Drake, Cornell; 2. Dylan Alton, Penn State; 3. Roger Pena, Oregon State; 4. Drake Houdashelt, Missouri.
165 -- 1. David Taylor, Penn State; 2. Paul Gillespie, Hofstra; 3. Cody Yohn, Minnesota; 4. Zach Toal, Missouri.
174 -- 1. Edward Ruth, Penn State; 2. Dorian Henderson, Missouri; 3. Nick Purdue, Ohio; 4. Te Edwards, ODU.
184 -- Stephen Bosak, Cornell; 2. Kevin Steinhaus, Minnesota; 3. Quentin Wright, Penn State; 4. Austin Trotman, Appalachian.
197 -- Cameron Simaz, Cornell; 2. Sonny Yohn, Minnesota; 3. Matt Powless, Indiana; 4. Morgan McIntosh, Penn State.
285 -- 1. Anthony Nelson, Minnesota; 2. Clayton Jack, Oregon State; 3. Cameron Wade, Penn State; 4. Jeremy Johnson, Ohio.
Mocs' opening matches
On New Year's Day
125 -- Daniel Gallagher vs. Dale Boyd (Missouri); Blake Thomas vs. Buddy Scarborough (Una/ODU).
133 -- Nick Soto vs. winner between Derek Reber (Penn State)-Cameron Throckmorton (Una/UNC); Ethan Hames (Una/UTC) vs. Joe Martinez (Virginia); Adrian Thomas (Una/UTC) vs. Christop Dardenes (Minnesota).
141 -- Shawn Greevy vs. Taylor Moeder (Una/ODU); Joe Burns (Una/UTC) vs. Josh Palivoda (Cleveland State).
149 -- Kelly Felix vs. Shawn Harris (UVa); Dean Pavlou vs. Augustus Sako (Una/UVA); Cole Dodd (Una/UTC) vs. Mike Mencini (Cleveland St.); Austin Sams (Una/UTC) vs. Ryan Dunphy (Cornell).
157 -- Dan Waddell vs. Matt Stephens (Virginia Tech); Alex Hudson (Una/UTC) vs. Jedd Moore (UVa); Willard Beaver (Una/UTC) vs. winner between Chad Strube (Virginia Tech)-Matt Mincey (Minnesota); Jared Presley vs. winner between Zach Basich (Navy)-Ryan Knoz Indiana); Trey Stavrum vs. Sawyer Morris (Indiana).
165 -- Brandon Wright vs. Koort Leyrer (Cleveland State); John Lampe (Una/UTC) vs. Tristan Warner (ODU).
174 -- Levi Clemons vs. Todd Porter (Missouri).
184 -- Robert Prigmore vs. Michael Gorman (Army); Cory Canada (Una/UTC) vs. Will Brown (Army)
197 -- Niko Brown vs. Matt Loew (Hofstra).
285 -- Kevin Malone vs. Ethan Hayes (UVa); Bradley Rogers vs. Jonathan Gingrich (Penn State).
Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...