published Monday, January 2nd, 2012

Ex-UTC coach Bono back at McKenzie

Former UTC coach Chris Bono was among the spectators Sunday and was impressed with the way the tournament was running.

"The actually got the heat up in the wrestling room," he said. "We could never seem to get that done when I was here."

Bono, who left the Mocs to become return to his alma mater Iowa State, was with UTC three years and the Mocs won three straight Southern Conference titles.

The personable Bono is now based in Columbia, S.C., and selling medical equipment, and he said he's enjoying the family and being home most days by 4:30.

'You run like a girl'

During Kevin Malone's match with Oregon State's second-seeded Clayton Jack, UTC assistants Rocco Mansueto and Patrick Bond were in the matside coaches' chairs. When the two heavyweights scrambled over close to Mansueto and Bond, Mansueto abandoned his chair.

The quick action prompted an even quicker quip from Mocs head coach Heath Eslinger: "Rocco, you run like a girl."

Jack, who is ranked fourth and who entered the tournament with a 20-0 record, pinned Malone in the first period of their round of 16 bout.

Silva returns

Former UTC wrestler Israel Silva is back in town this week with the Oregon State contingent. A Southern Conference champion for the Mocs, Silva is working out at the Northwest regional training center at Oregon State. The two-time Pan-Am Games bronze medalist is training with his eyes on a fourth Mexico world team berth at 96 kg (211.5 pounds).

"I'm more noteworthy than Bono nowadays. I'm still active in the sport," he said with a hearty laugh.

Silva went Sunday morning and picked up Bono, whose family was visiting in Ringgold over the weekend.

Leen here with Virginia

Jordan Leen, the 2009 NCAA champion from Cornell, is in town with Virginia where he's working as an assistant coach.

The Baylor product, a four-time state champ for the Red Raiders, is still very much in wrestling shape, or at least he was until last week when he suffered a torn ligament in his right knee while working out. He is looking at another knee operation -- probably before the month is out.

about Ward Gossett...

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 ...

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