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|2006-07 UTC schedule highly competitive|
By Jeff Romero UTC Sports Information
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling team faces six teams this season which placed 35th or higher at the 2006 NCAA Championships, including three such teams from the Southern Conference.
The Mocs, who won their 21st SoCon Championship last year, begin a new era under first-year Head Coach Chris Bono. A former NCAA Champion and current international competitor, Bono has not shied away from the competition in his first run as a head coach.
"I am happy how our schedule turned out for as late as we finished it," Bono said. "We have geared it toward the SoCon Tournament and NCAA Championships. Our whole year is about getting ready for those two events.
"The first thing I wanted to do was have as many home matches as possible. We want to have them early to get the fans interested so they can come out the rest of the year."
Among the top team finishers at the 2006 NCAAs on the Mocs' schedule this year include Missouri (15th), American (17th), Central Michigan (26th), Northern Iowa (28th), UNC Greensboro (31st) and The Citadel (33rd).
UTC has seven home dates this year as opposed to three in 2005-06. The Mocs open the schedule Nov. 11 against SoCon foe Davidson. The squad travels to the Missouri Open Nov. 19 then closes out the month of November with a tri-match at home against Anderson College and Cumberland University.
UTC makes a return trip to the prestigious Cliff Keen Invitational Dec. 1 and 2 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Last year, the Mocs placed 12th in the event with All-Americans Matt Keller and Michael Keefe placing fourth and fifth respectively in their weight classes. The Mocs visit Ohio State, ranked No. 15 in the preseason, on Dec. 17, and will participate in the Southern Scuffle in Greensboro, N.C., Dec. 29 and 30.
The meat of the schedule is in January where, on Jan. 7, the team heads to Cedar Falls, Iowa, to take on highly regarded Northern Iowa and Oregon State. American University, ranked 12th in the preseason after placing 17th at the NCAAs, invades Maclellan Gym on the UTC campus Jan. 12.
The Mocs will compete at the Central Michigan Invitational Jan. 21 in Mount Pleasant, Mich., then close out the month with away matches at UNC Greensboro and Appalachian State. A dual with The Citadel, the key match of the last two seasons, will take place Jan. 31 in Chattanooga.
VMI and UTC will square off in the Scenic City Feb. 11, and the Mocs end the regular season with a Feb. 18 trip to No. 3-ranked Missouri.
The SoCon Championships are March 3 in Durham, N.C., and the NCAAs will be March 15-18 in Detroit, Mich.
The Mocs will hold their annual Blue-Gold Match Nov. 3 and open the 2006-07 season Nov. 11 at home against SoCon foe Davidson.
2006-07 UTC WRESTLING SCHEDULE
Nov. 3-Blue-Gold Match (exhibition), 11-Davidson, 19-at Missouri Open, 25-Anderson College/Cumberland University;
Dec. 1-2-at Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, 17-at Ohio State, 29-30-at Southern Scuffle;
Jan. 7-at Northern Iowa/Oregon State; 12-American, 21-at Central Michigan Tournament, 27-at UNC Greensboro, 28-at Appalachian State, 31-The Citadel;
Feb. 11-VMI, 18-at Missouri;
March 3-SoCon Championships, 15-18-NCAA Championships