CEDAR FALLS, Iowa - The No. 21-ranked University of Northern Iowa wrestling team closed its home dual season with an 18-12 victory over the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Mocs in front of 475 fans in the West Gym.
The Panthers honored its senior class prior to the match and all three came up big on Saturday with victories to pace the home squad. UNI moved to 8-6 on the season, while Chattanooga dropped to 11-10 overall.
Senior Andrew Anderson got the draw to start the dual for the Panthers at 197 pounds. Anderson secured a takedown 34 seconds into the match and did not trail as he scored a 5-3 victory over Chattanooga's Ethan Winel.
However, the Mocs won three straight matches to a take a 9-3 advantage in the dual. Chattanooga's Cody Sliger scored a 3-1 sudden victory over UNI's Dustin Bauman at heavyweight and 125-pounder Demetrius Johnson scored a 9-6 win over UNI's Cruse Aarhus. The Mocs' Josh Statum tallied a 6-2 triumph over the Panthers' Steven Fitzgerald at 133 pounds to the visitor's run of victories.
The Panthers turned the tide at 141 pounds behind redshirt freshman Trent Washington's 6-4 victory over No. 9-ranked Cody Cleveland. Washington nearly ended the match in the first period on a five-point move, but Cleveland avoided the fall and trailed by a 5-0 count at the end of one. Cleveland was able to earn a three-point nearfall of his own at the 1:29 mark of the second period to pull within two. Cleveland pulled even closer to start the third period as Washington was dinged for his third caution of the match to make the score 5-4 in Washington's favor. Washington earned an escape four seconds into the third and was able to hold off Cleveland's shots in the final seconds for the triumph.UNI's Trevor Kittleson knotted the dual at 9-9 following his 6-2 victory over Chattanooga's Kelly Felix at 149 pounds. Kittleson trailed 2-0 after Felix began the match with a takedown, but Kittleson settled in and did not allow Felix to score again. Kittleson racked up a 1:22 in riding time and added an escape and a penalty point in the final period for the 6-2 victory.
Chattanooga's Joey Knox provided the visitors with their final win of the day at 157 pounds with a 2-1 triumph over UNI's Tyson Reiner. The match was scoreless after two periods with Knox riding out Reiner in the second. Knox escaped to start the third to tally the first points of the match. Reiner was given a stalling point with 41 seconds left in the match and nearly won it with a shot in the final three seconds, but referee Mike Exline did not award the takedown and Knox hung on for a 2-1 win via riding time (1:58).
Panther senior Moza Fay got the home crowd on its feet with a takedown and nearside cradle in the first period against the Mocs' Seth Garvin at 165 pounds. However, Garvin avoided going to his back and trailed 2-0 following the first three minutes of action. Fay increased his lead to 6-2 after two periods, but could not get the takedown he needed in the closing seconds and had to settle for a 9-3 decision. Fay's victory tied the dual at 12-12.
UNI's Jarion Beets made his return the mat successful with an 11-5 decision over Chattanooga's Jason McCroskey at 174 pounds. Beets had been out of action since the National Dual on Jan. 10 when he suffered a concussion in a match against the Michigan Wolverines. Beets held a 4-2 lead going into the third period but then he unleashed an all-out blitz on McCroskey and nearly scored a major decision as he tallied three takedowns in the final two minutes.
It was only fitting on Senior Day, that senior Alex Dolly clinched the match for the Panthers. Dolly recorded an 8-3 victory over Tyler Roberson at 184 pounds. The match was tied 2-2 heading into the third period, but Dolly took over with a pair of takedowns, an escape and a riding time point for the win.
The Panthers will close the dual season next weekend with matches at South Dakota State (Feb. 21) and at North Dakota State (Feb. 22).
FINAL RESULTS: UNI 18, Chattanooga 12
197 - Andrew Anderson (UNI) dec. Ethan Winel (UTC), 5-3
285 - Cody Sliger (UTC) dec. Dustin Bauman (UNI), 3-1 sv
125 - Demetrius Johnson (UTC) dec. Cruse Aarhus (UNI), 9-6
133 - Josh Statum (UTC) dec. Steven Fitzgerald (UNI), 6-2
141 - Trent Washington (UNI) vs. Cody Cleveland (UTC), 6-4
149 - Trevor Kittleson (UNI) dec. Kelly Felix (UTC), 6-2
157 - Joey Knox (UTC) dec. Tyson Reiner (UNI), 2-1
165 - Moza Fay (UNI) dec. Seth Garvin (UTC), 9-3
174 - Jarion Beets (UNI) dec. Jason McCroskey (UTC), 11-5
184 - Alex Dolly (UNI) dec. Tyler Roberson (UTC), 8-3