It’s hard to determine what is the most important thing that happened, but it’s hard to make the case against Metcalf’s gold medal at the Golden Grand Prix in Azerbaijan. It is something the Iowa faithful (and the people who root for Team USA wrestling) have been wanting to see out of Metcalf for the last few years on the international stage. Metcalf has always fared pretty well against American competition, and recently we have seen him step it up against others now on the world stage. His semifinal win over Garcia of Canada, who defeated up and comer Logan Stieber 6-2 at Beat the Streets, was a solid win in itself. Then he went on to grind out a victory over Magomed Muslimov, which was another great win over a world ranked opponent (#14 here). Metcalf is also bringing home a sweet $10,000 cash prize for winning the Grand Prix, which is a nice bonus to his successful tournament.
Matt McDonough spent some time talking with us about his international career. In his interview he let us know that he is at 57 KG for good, and some of the things he needs to work on to get better. I liked how Matt opened up to give us his insight on what he needs to improve on. The obvious thing is for Matt to stop giving up big leads (though he has proved really good at erasing those deficits), but the thing that I think gets lost is that Matt said he needs to work on throwing his legs back. Say what you want, but it could be a result of him being so dominant his whole life that he has never had to have such elite level defense – though he seems to be coming along well in that area.
Another thing this made me realize is just how frickin’ good Tony Ramos has been in freestyle. We all knew that his ability to push the pace and his leg attacks would transition well, but watching Ramos fend off some of his opponents shots has just been unreal. I will be really interested to watch how Tony defends against his opponents leg attacks when he gets to World’s this September.
Speaking of Ramos, fresh off his life long commitment to his now wife Megan, Ramos won Elite Level Sports Marketing’s Social Media Athlete of the Year, by taking down in state wrestler Mike Moreno of ISU. So far 2014 has been Tony’s year, a NCAA title, World Team Trials, the Canada Cup, is there any thing Tony Ramos can’t win?
Edwin Cooper is supposedly coming to Iowa City. This is of course based off of a Tweet that Cooper sent out back near the middle of the month. While it’s not public knowledge where Sorensen and Grothus will be headed for the upcoming season (I’m sure they at least know) Cooper could factor into the 149 and 157 race. Cooper has had some great success at both the Junior college and Division II level, and given he was a good talent coming out of high school, there is no reason to think if he does end up wrestling in Iowa City for the Hawkeyes, he can be a real contributor if he makes the lineup.
The final note is on Junior Team camp, which is taking place out in Columbus, Ohio where the wrestlers will make their final tune up before competition. The Hawkeyes have 57 KG Junior World Team member Thomas Gilman, and he will be out participating in the camp. Iowa will also have another wrestler out in Ohio as high school All-American Fredy Stroker will be out working with the team as well. Gilman will be making his second Junior World Team appearance at Zagreb, Croatia where the championships will be held August 5-10th. A year ago Gilman was the 8th place finisher at 55 KG, so he will look to improve upon that finish.