SoCon wrestling poll
Teams: 1. UTC, 2 The Citadel, 3. Campbell, 4. Appalachian State, 5. Gardner-Webb, 6. VMI, 7. Southern Illinois-Edwardsville; 8. Davidson.
Individuals: 125 - Nick Soto, UTC; 133 - Brett Boston, Appalachian State; 141 - Dean Pavlou, UTC; 149 - Jordan Dix, The Citadel; 157 - Nick Rex, Campbell; 165 - Justin Guthrie, Gardner-Webb; 174 - Turtogtokh Luvsandorj, The Citadel; 184 - James Cook Campbell; 197 - Niko Brown, UTC; 285 - Odie Delaney, The Citadel.
Although they haven't even wrestled their annual intrasquad meet, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's Mocs have already been targeted.
It was announced Wednesday that they were picked to win the 2012-2013 Southern Conference championship but coach Heath Eslinger wishes everybody paid as little attention to the coaches' poll as he does.
"It's obviously preseason and they don't give out any trophies then," he said. "I try not to put too much emphasis on what comes out of the preseason other than us continuing to work hard."
Mocs fans, both wrestling and football, can get a look at most components of the wrestling team Saturday prior to UTC's home football game against Georgia Southern. The wrestling team will have its annual blue-gold scrimmage at 3 p.m. at the First Tennessee pavilion across the street from Finley Stadium.
Among the Mocs who'll wrestle Saturday are preseason all-conference picks Nick Soto, Dean Pavlou and Niko Brown.
"Again, those who measure such things measure the whole body of work and then bold and underline it at the end of the year. We're going to keep doing what we're doing with that end in mind," Eslinger said.
Both Soto and Pavlou, a two-time champion, have dropped a weight class, Soto to 125 and Pavlou to 141. Brown, who was injured around midseason, came back and tried to wrestle in the conference tournament at 197 pounds but wound up finishing fourth.
The Mocs were picked ahead of the Citadel to win the conference.
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 ...