SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Citadel heavyweight Odie Delaney was named the Southern Conference Wrestler of the Year and teammate Ugi Khishignyam was named the league's Freshman of the Year as determined by a vote of the conference's eight head coaches, the league office announced Wednesday. The Bulldogs and Chattanooga shared league-high honors with five all-conference selections each.
Because of a tie at 165 pounds, the coaches selected an 11-member all-conference team to go along with a 10-member all-freshman team. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own wrestlers.
Delaney, a redshirt senior, finished the regular season with a 34-7 record, including a 12-1 dual mark. Ranked 14th nationally in his weight class, Delaney went 7-0 in SoCon matches this season for his third career undefeated league slate. The Santa Rosa Beach, Fla., native finished his SoCon career with a 20-3 league mark. Delaney finished the regular season on a 14-match winning streak and pushed his career wins total to 117, good for a tie for second in school history.
A two-time SoCon Wrestler of the Month this season, Delaney was also the league's wrestler of the week four times in 2012-13, pushing his career total to a SoCon-record eight weekly awards. He won the award in three straight weeks late in the season, becoming just the second wrestler in league history to accomplish that feat, behind Khishignyam.
Delaney earned All-SoCon recognition for the third time in his career.
Khishignyam, a redshirt freshman, burst onto the SoCon scene this year, turning in a 35-4 overall mark and a 10-1 dual record. Ranked sixth nationally at 141 pounds, Khishignyam went 6-0 in SoCon duals this season to earn all-conference honors, as well. The Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, native was the SoCon Wrestler of the Month for December and earned three consecutive wrestler of the week awards from December to January, becoming the first wrestler in league history to do so.
Delaney and Khishignyam were joined on the All-SoCon Team by Citadel teammates Aaron Hansen (133), Matt Frisch (157) and Josh Tuck (184).
Chattanooga, which went 7-0 in SoCon duals this season to win its eighth regular-season championship in the last nine years, matched The Citadel with five selections of its own. Josh Condon (165) earned his third all-conference nod, while Nick Soto (125) and Niko Brown (197) were selected for the second time each. Alex Hudson (149) and redshirt freshman John Lampe (174) rounded out the Mocs' all-conference selections.
Appalachian State's Zack Strickland tied with Condon at 165 to earn his first all-conference selection.
All told, five of the 11 all-conference selections were redshirt freshmen. In addition to earning spots on the All-SoCon Team, Appalachian State's Strickland, Chattanooga's Lampe and The Citadel's Frisch, Hansen and Khishignyam all earned spots on the all-freshman team.
Those five were joined on the all-freshman team by Appalachian State's Colin Hedash, Campbell's Eric Montoya, The Citadel's Marshall Haas, Gardner-Webb's Gray Jones and SIUE's Jake Residori.
The SoCon Wrestling Championship, hosted by VMI in Lexington, Va., takes place Saturday. Doors to Cameron Hall open at 9 a.m. First-round matches are set to begin at 10 a.m., with finals slated to start at 7 p.m.
2012-13 Wrestler of the Year
Odie Delaney, R-Sr., HWT, The Citadel
2012-13 Freshman of the Year
Ugi Khishignyam, 141, The Citadel
2012-13 All-Southern Conference Team
125 – Nick Soto, So., Chattanooga
133 – Aaron Hansen, R-Fr., The Citadel
141 – Ugi Khishignyam, R-Fr., The Citadel
149 – Alex Hudson, R-Jr., Chattanooga
157 – Matt Frisch, R-Fr., The Citadel
165 – Zack Strickland, R-Fr., Appalachian State
Josh Condon, R-Sr., Chattanooga
174 – John Lampe, R-Fr., Chattanooga
184 – Josh Tuck, Sr., The Citadel
197 – Niko Brown, R-Sr., Chattanooga
HWT – Odie Delaney, R-Sr., The Citadel
2012-13 All-Freshman Team
Colin Hedash, Appalachian State
Zack Strickland, Appalachian State
Eric Montoya, Campbell
Matt Frisch, The Citadel
Marshall Haas, The Citadel
Aaron Hansen, The Citadel
Ugi Khishignyam, The Citadel
Gray Jones, Gardner-Webb
Jake Residori, SIUE
John Lampe, Chattanooga