First there was Thomas Gilman, who took two matches from Nathan Tomasello to claim the 57 KG Junior World Team spot. Then it was Tony Ramos‘ turn as he shocked the world (and the 57 KG weight class) and defeated Angel Escobedo, Nico Megaludis, and Sam Hazewinkel (twice) to give the Hawkeye Wrestling Club their second World Team member. Next, we saw Brent Metcalf wait to face the winner of the challenge tournament after he destroyed the U.S. Open field. Metcalf was able to defeat Jordan Oliver twice to return to the World Team at 65 KG. Then there was Matt McDonough.
McDonough traveled to Las Vegas competing at the 61 KG weight class where he finished a respectable 4th place at the U.S. Open. In Madison with only the Olympic weight classes available for the first round of competition, McDonough made the cut down to 57 KG for the first time since his senior year at Iowa. McDonough dropped a match to Brandon Precin and had to wrestle back to the true third place match in order to set up an opportunity to challenge for the University Team spot. After defeating Nico Megaludis, McDonough had earned the right to challenge Nahshon Garrett, who infamously ended his quest to become a four time NCAA finalist for the University 57 KG spot.
There was action almost immediately following the whistle. Garrett wasted little time before he was able to lock McDonough up for a four point move just seconds into the match. From there Garrett was able to push his lead to six as he added a takedown. After another scramble McDonough left the first period in a big hole, down 8-2.
But when have Hawkeye fans ever seen McDonough give up?
On a blast double attempt by Garrett, McDonough was able to use that momentum to slip out and score a takedown and turn to narrow the lead to 8-6. Another takedown by McDonough tied it at 8-8 with Garrett leading on criteria. Garrett was able to score another takedown to push his lead back out to 10-8. McDonough wasn’t done yet, as he added his third takedown of the match and after a couple attempts with his leg lace was able to come out of the first match victorious 16-10 in the closing seconds.
It wasn’t the first time we have seen McDonough put himself in a deep hole, as at the World Team Trials McDonough spotted his opponent Hutter, an 8-0 lead before charging back to score 14 unanswered points to set up his match against Zach Sanders. McDonough’s gas tank, which made him famous in college, is his greatest asset as guys like Garrett and Hutter, who tend to wear out toward the end of their matches.
The second match McDonough made the necessary adjustments, and came out pushing the pace. McDonough was able to score two pushouts in the first minute and a half of the match before landing a single on Garrett and finishing it by coming to his feet for a trip. With a 4-0 lead, McDonough scored another takedown to go up 6-0. With time winding down Garrett went for his blast double, which it appeared McDonough had countered well initially, but in the end surrendered two points to lead 6-2.
After the break, McDonough came out again working his single leg attempts. On a Garrett counter McDonough was able to go around to take a 8-2 lead. McDonough continued to get his single leg to work for him, almost as if on command, and scored another takedown and one point turn, before losing control and getting reversed bringing the score to 11-3. Garrett then proceeded to get his offense going by notching his second takedown of the match, but McDonough was able to score another takedown and leg lace to win 15-5.
Iowa now owns every 57 KG spot with McDonough (University), Gilman (Junior), and Ramos (Senior). The 2014 University World Championships on July 6-12 in Hungary. Link to the entire University Challenge YouTube.
Update: McDonough – Garrett match #1