If you haven’t been paying attention to what has been going on in Madison this weekend you are missing out.
Starting off the action tonight was former Iowa Hawkeye Matt McDonough, who showed that when he is healthy, he is good enough to take on Nico Megaludis with a 4-0 win.
The real excitement was supplied by, as usual, Tony Ramos. Coming into a best of three series against a World Team Member is usually a daunting situation. Tony came out and he was vintage Ramos going to the move that made him famous in college. No, not the cowcatcher to the back, the infamous stare down. Hazewinkel smirked about it when he Ramos came out to the center. And why wouldn’t he? Ramos was barely getting his feet wet in the freestyle game. The stare down worked in college, this is the big leagues. Apparently Hazewinkel didn’t realize that probably crossed a line.
Ramos was supposed to transition quickly with his leg attacks, but was assumed to need some time to develop his scoring on the mat. To put those rumors to bed, Ramos got in on a shot, got behind Hazewinkel and was able to get a leglace for four points to take the first match 4-0. If Hazewinkel thought the stare down was a gimmick, Ramos had certainly gotten his attention now.
As if the veterans didn’t know Tony’s intentions, he made them pretty clear in this interview. “You see interviews. You watch Simmons, Hazewinkel, Escobedo, all they ever talk about winning a medal. They’re satisfied with winning a medal. If you think I go overseas and just bring back a bronze or a silver and be satisfied? You’re wrong. It’s about winning a gold, it’s not just about winning a medal.” I strongly encourage you to watch the rest of it in, it’s entirety.
Ramos came out for the second match, and I noticed that Hazewinkel made a point to stand behind Ramos, as if to avoid the stare. Ramos couldn’t get much going early on. He got hit with a passivity warning. You know Ramos by now, that isn’t his nature. So he hit a shot right away. Came up with Hazewinkel completely off the ground and was looking to score big. I am not sure what happened next, but after the flurry/scramble the score was 1-1 as they headed back to their feet. Ramos a point for the throw, Hazewinkel picking up a reversal point (I guess that’s what you would call it). Ramos was able to pick up a takedown immediately following a restart off a Hazewinkel passivity call. In the second Ramos was able to turn a Hazewinkel shot into a few more of his points to go up 5-1. Hazewinkel made it interesting with about 20-25 seconds to go by picking up 3 more points, but in the end we saw Ramos do his other move, the double rainbows, as he clinched his World Team Member spot.