Mock fed off the home crowd in Carmichael Arena and rode the support all the way through the match, notching an 11-5 victory. Immediately after the buzzer, Corey Mock surrendered a point when he kicked Dong.
“(The win) was huge for him,” UNC coach C.D. Mock, Corey’s father, said. “It was huge for the team, too.”
Although the Tar Heels ultimately lost the match 25-9, they took two of the final five decisions and carried their momentum into the rear end of the doubleheader, defeating Clarion 32-10.
Redshirt junior and 174-pounder Thomas Ferguson said Mock’s upset win sparked life back into the Tar Heel squad.
“I was confident before he wrestled that I was going to win,” Ferguson said. “But as soon as his hand was raised after that match, I was like, ‘If this freshman can go out and beat this highly ranked kid — I can win. There’s no excuse if I lose.’”
In his second match, Corey Mock also defeated his opponent, recording a fall 1:39 into the match in dominating fashion against Clarion’s Kyle Braddock.
But winning the bout against Dong was what stood out the most for the freshman during the weekend. Corey Mock lost to Dong 5-2 in the Nittany Lion Open in early December.
“He beat me before, so I was pretty excited,” Corey Mock said. “Right at the end when he gave up, I was thinking to myself, ‘Oh my gosh, I just beat a top-five kid.’”
The Tar Heel wrestler said the experience he gained from his previous match with Dong helped him on Saturday. He enlisted the help of teammate Kyle Kiss to prepare for the Hokie the second time around.
“Jesse is really good at getting the pass,” Corey Mock said. “I had Kiss working with me all week, so he wasn’t getting that shot.
“I had to wrestle tough. I had to keep my momentum going.”
To C.D. Mock, the upset wasn’t as surprising as it was to most. After the first match against Dong, Corey Mock told his coach that the next time he wrestled the Hokie, Mock would win.
“He felt very confident,” the UNC coach said. “He felt like he could beat him.”
In what C.D. Mock called a freshman lapse in judgment, Corey Mock celebrated with the John Wall dance after being announced the winner in his first match.
“I thought I would just bust it out,” the 157-pounder said through a laugh.
His father wasn’t as entertained.
“It won’t happen again,” the UNC coach said.
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