Megan Black of McKendree University-130 pounds. Photo by Holly Watters.
What do you get when you match up #1-ranked (WCWA) and Rio Olympian Haley Augello against #2-ranked Megan Black at the NWCA Multi Divisional National Duals? You get one of the biggest matches of the month and what is sure to be one of the most exciting upsets of the year.
As Iowans, we are proud of our sport and proud of the talent that comes out of this great state. And as Iowans this match was a really big deal. Ultimately, this is one of Iowa’s own showing that she doesn’t just belong but that she is a competitor at the highest level.
It can certainly be argued that Augello was wrestling up two weight classes and giving up 14 pounds. In fact, when interviewed following the conclusion of the dual, Black herself brought up the fact the Augello was wrestling up. You can also argue that the two of them were roommates and teammates when Black was a freshman at King University. That could give Black a level of familiarity that a competitor may not normally have. But that familiarity would apply to Augello as well.
The fact remains, Black stepped up to the match, faced one of the best in the nation, and beat her with confidence and grace. It wasn’t a lucky “catch” by Black or a misstep by Augello. It was a solid back and forth. Black kept it close, trailing 3-4 at the end of the first period. In the second, Black countered a front headlock attempt by Augello at the whistle, to go ahead 5-4 before locking up the cradle and getting the fall.
Trackwrestling.com has made the match available here.
What was even more striking than the win, was the way in which Black conducted herself after the fall. She helped her friend and former teammate to her feet and gave her a hug. The battle was over, the result was clear, and respect was given. There was no fist pumping, no grandstanding, no antics. There was the calm demeanor of a wrestler who did the job that was expected, like any other match, and had the satisfaction of knowing that her hard work and effort in the wrestling room had paid off.
In a post-match interview with Andy Hamilton from Trackwrestling, Black commented that in the past she has had a problem with making some matches bigger than others. Over Christmas break, Black made the decision to treat every match the same and work to keep at the forefront that “it’s just wrestling”.
“It was pretty unexpected,” said Black. “She is usually a 116 pounder so I didn’t think they would wrestle her up. But when I saw she was going to wrestle me I was like, alright, well she’s the one that stepped out there so she’s the one I’m going to wrestle.”
And wrestle she did. McKendree ultimately fell to King 19-24 but the Black win fueled an impressive rally that put McKendree within striking distance of the championship.
For wrestlers young and old and for parents and coaches of those wrestlers, it is important to take note. For the younger wrestlers who are starting to make your mark on this sport, watch the match and watch the interview. This is the stuff role-models are made of.
No matter who it is or under what circumstances, Megan Black “just wrestles”.
Trackwresting.com has also made the post-match interview with Megan Black available here.