Day two of the World Team Trials took place today in Madison, Wisconsin and for Iowa fans they got to see another one of their former greats face off in a best of three showdown. Yesterday, Hawkeye fans were able to rejoice as Tony Ramos defeated Sam Hazewinkel to make his first World Team. What made the victory even more sweet was Ramos mentality after the match. Ramos isn’t going to be satisfied with just qualifying for the World Team, or even just winning a medal, it’s all about the gold. Tom Brands also had some good things to say about Tony in an interview by Flo.
But today was Brent Metcalf’s day to shine.
Metcalf was facing off against Jordan Oliver at 65 KG. Oliver and Metcalf have traded blows over the last few years, but with Metcalf’s dominant 39-0 performance at the US Open (which is also the reason Metcalf got to sit out the challenge tournament), and his win over Kurbanaliev of Russia at the Beat the Streets event in New York City, this weight looked like it was Metcalf’s to lose. In another interview with Flo you can see what Oliver’s thoughts on Metcalf were before the finals – fast forward to about 45 seconds in. Basically Oliver said he needs to wrestle six minutes and win every position.
The first match was as much of a dog fight as expected. Metcalf came out aggressive early and scored an early pushout to go up 1-0. After Oliver showing little action, he was put on the 30 second shot clock. Oliver was able to get Metcalf out on the edge near the end of his shot clock to tie the match up 1-1. Oliver was then able to pick up a near takedown on Metcalf to push his lead to 2-1 (Oliver did have the lead on criteria) in the second period. With the match on the line Metcalf was able to get a late score on a turn with just under a minute to go to retake the lead 3-2. Metcalf added another pushout in the closing seconds to finish the match with a 4-2 win. I am not sure what was actually more impressive, the fact Metcalf was able to mount a late comeback win, or the fact that Oliver was in deep on Metcalf a few times and Metcalf was able to use his outstanding defense to keep Oliver from scoring takedowns.
Match two was pretty similar, with Metcalf coming out and really trying to work Oliver’s head. Metcalf’s aggression led him to getting a passive and later put Oliver on the shot clock for the second straight match. With Oliver failing to score in 30 seconds, Metcalf took a 1-0 lead into the second period. In the second Metcalf continued to push the pace and picked up two pushouts to win the match 3-0. It wasn’t a typical Metcalf victory as he really wasn’t in on too many shots, but at the end of the day Metcalf was making the World Team for the second time. A truly great showing to see two former Iowa wrestlers claim six of the World Team spots up for grabs.
As mentioned Tony Ramos is the World Team member at 57 KG for USA, and also competing yesterday for the Hawkeyes at 57 KG was Matt McDonough, who finished 3rd with a win over Nico Megaludis. Also competing for the Hawkeye Wrestling Club this weekend was Micah Burak at 97 KG, and Phil Keddy at 86 KG. Keddy made the semifinals of the challenge tournament before falling to Ed Ruth and then defaulting out of the tournament.
Phase two of the Team Trials will be taking place in July for the 61 and 70 KG (for men’s freestyle) weight classes in Fargo, North Dakota. McDonough is the only former Hawkeye who may compete at Fargo for the 61 KG team spot. Jimmy Kennedy is the US Open champion, and he defeated McDonough 10-0 technical fall in Las Vegas at the Open. McDonough also lost to Futrell to finish fourth at the Open, so it will be a tough hill to for him to climb.