Seniors Dean Pavlou and Niko Brown led the Mocs on Day 1 of the 2013 Southern Scuffle, presented by Defense Soap. Both University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestlers advanced to the quarterfinals of their respective weight classes in the much-anticipated tournament in McKenzie Arena.
Top-ranked Penn State leads the team scores with 102.0 points and has six wrestlers in the main draw semifinals. No. 3 Minnesota is in second with 94 points, followed by No. 2 Oklahoma State (89.5), No. 8 Cornell (4) and No. 6 Missouri (75.0). The Mocs have four wrestlers still alive and sit in 13th place overall with 25 points.
Pavlou opened with an 11-3 major decision over Ohio's Kagan Squire. He followed that with a 6-3 decision against American's Tom Page who was competing unattached. In the round of 16, he went up against Penn State's Bryan Pearsall and came away with an impressive 7-1 win.
In the quarterfinals, Pavlou found himself matched up with No. 1 seed and 11-th ranked Mike Nevinger. After a scoreless first period, Nevinger went up 1-0 with an escape in the second. Pavlou was unable to counter in the third, and gave up eight back points before losing 10-0. He will face unattached Zachary Beitz in the consolations tomorrow.
Brown ran his personal win streak to 13 matches before losing to Arizona State's ninth-ranked Jake Meredith 7-5. His wins came against Duke's Michael Chapman (10-2) and Cornell's William George (3-1 OT). Brown will take on Cornell's Jace Bennett in the backdraw.
Sophomore Nick Soto came into the tournament ranked as high as No. 7 in the nation and looking to improve on his second place showing at last year's Scuffle. He opened with an overtime win over Virginia's Nick Hermann (8-5) but lost in overtime to Old Dominion's Rob Deutsch (3-1). He is still alive in the consolations after two wins in the backdraw.
Sophomore Kevin Malone is the other Moc still alive for tomorrow's action. He fell to Penn State's 15th-ranked Jimmy Lawson (5-1) in the round of 16, but bounced back in the consolations. He defeated Air Force's Bentley Alsup (3-2) and scored a 5-3 win over UNC's Mike Kosoy.
Doors open tomorrow at McKenzie Arena at 8:00 a.m. (E.S.T.) with action beginning at 9:00 a.m. All of the top wrestlers are still alive and have set up and exciting semifinal round at 11:00 a.m. The finals and medal matches will all take place at 6:00 p.m.
Today's attendance of 2,543 was a 15% increase over last year's opening day crowd of 2,210. With a number of marquee matches on the horizon for Day 2, UTC should top last year's two-day total of 4,373.