WHAT: 2014 FILA World Championships (Freestyle and Greco Roman wrestling)
WHERE: Tashkent, Uzbekistan
WHEN: Monday at 11 PM (CT); subsequent rounds continue later in the evening/morning
HOW TO WATCH: WATCH IT LIVE AT 11PM (CT) (Will update link stream when it is available)
Brent Metcalf has been part of the foundation of the Hawkeye reemergence. After Iowa was experiencing a long drought in team titles, the University decided to switch directions and brought back Tom Brands to head the program. One of the wrestlers Brands brought with him was Metcalf, who was one of the most sought after recruits during his high school days. After sitting out a year due to transfer restrictions, Metcalf entered the lineup and took the NCAA by storm, making the NCAA finals all three years, and winning two titles. During that stretch the Hawkeyes were able to three-peat in the team title race, and brought new life to the black and gold faithful.
So when Metcalf started his international career of course he chose to stay in Iowa City and train with the men that made him one of the best college wrestlers of his time. It was a rough start for Metcalf, who even though he made a few World Teams, he was never able to do real damage on the international scene, as most of his success came within the United States. It wasn’t until 2013 that Metcalf started his dominance winning the Sargsyan International and making the World Team for the first time since 2010.
The rule change by FILA (no scoring resets, and two-three minute periods) seemed to immensely benefit Metcalf, as this year he cruised through the Las Vegas Open, blanking opponents 39-0. He then went on to win a big match against the now #1 ranked wrestler at the Beat the Streets event in New York, and later won two matches against Jordan Oliver to claim his third World Team spot. After winning three matches at the Gran Prix in Azerbaijan, Metcalf broke through the rankings, and now finds himself in the middle of the pack at #11. It appears that Metcalf is wrestling in his prime, as just one of those accomplishments would qualify as having success this year. With Metcalf primed and ready to go, he gives the HWC the complimentary piece it’s been needing.
Metcalf is currently riding a hot streak and his win over Haislan Garcia of Canada at the Golden Grand Prix looks to be his strongest win (technically the win over Kurbanaliev was exhibition) as Garcia was the 7th place finisher at the 2012 Olympics, and 8th place finisher at the 2013 World’s. If Metcalf wrestles like he did at the Grand Prix, or the U.S. Open there is nothing that anyone on Earth will be able to do to stop him from reaching the peak and bringing home gold for Team USA.
Metcalf’s draw is a favorable one from our perspective. Armenia’s David Safaryan is on the top side of the bracket whom won the 2013 World title at the old weight class of 66 kg/145.5 lbs. He is ranked #4 in the World this year. Unranked Seongun Park (KOR) will be Metcalf’s first opponent which should not be a problem. This sets up a second round match with #19 ranked Mustafa Kaya (TUR). Kaya is ranked for a reason but with the way Metcalf is wrestling he will prevail setting up a potential rematch with #12 Muslimov of Azebaijan in the quarter-finals. Metcalf beat him 6-6 with a late throw so expect a very good battle between these two. Moving down the bracket, Iran’s Sayed Ahmad Mohammadi should reach the semi-finals. Mohammadi won the Asian Championships this year and is ranked ninth. Mohammadi is two spots above Metcalf in the rankings but it’s hard to get a lot of recognition from the FILA for the Americans. The main reason is because a lot of the tournaments used for ranking criteria are overseas. In the end it won’t matter, because Metcalf has already shown he can beat the guy at the top of the rankings. If Metcalf truly is the best in the world, he is going to have to prove it by beating the rest of the world, and there is no other way around it. We don’t want to jinx it but right now it looks like Metcalf has a very strong chance to bring home a medal.
These should be the links to tonights matches.
Here is a link to ALL of the brackets.
Here’s the complete broadcast schedule.
Comment below with your predictions!