Metcalf qualifies U.S. for Olympics at 66 kg weight class

Metcalf earns silver at Pan Am qualifier, will compete at U.S. Olympic Trials at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City

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University of Iowa's two-time NCAA champion and three-time NCAA finalist Brent Metcalf earned a runner-up finish at the FILA Pan American Olympic Qualifying Tournament on Sunday in Kissimmee, Fla., to secure a spot for the U.S. Team in the 2012 Olympic Games July 27 through Aug. 12 in London, England.

Metcalf finished second to Canada's Haislan Garcia, who is a native of Cuba.

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Brent Metcalf finishes 2nd to qualify U.S. for Olympics at Pan American Olympic Qualifier

By Craig Sesker USA Wrestling


American Brent Metcalf (in red) battles Canada’s Haislan Garcia in the finals on Sunday. Larry Slater photo.

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – American Brent Metcalf came here to win a gold medal.

But Metcalf walked away with one big goal accomplished at the FILA Pan American Olympic Qualifying Tournament on Sunday at the Silver Spurs Arena.

Metcalf finished second, but he qualified the U.S. for the Olympic Games in freestyle wrestling at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. with his top-two finish.

Metcalf fell to Canada’s Haislan Garcia in the finals.

Garcia won a ball draw after a scoreless first period and finished in the leg clinch to win the period 1-0. Metcalf was in deep on a leg attack late in the second period, but Garcia countered and exposed Metcalf’s back for two points. The U.S. challenged the call, but to no avail.

“He probably got the points he deserved,” Metcalf said. “It’s just a matter of putting myself in a position to score three or four times a period. It doesn’t matter if the guy doesn’t want to wrestle or not. I got in a position to score and maybe panicked a little bit and got myself out of position.”

Metcalf clinched the Olympic berth for the U.S. after pinning Colombia’s Edison Hurtado Lerma in the second period of the semifinals. Metcalf, a two-time NCAA champion for Iowa, will now compete in front of his home fans at next month’s Olympic Trials at Iowa City’s Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

“It’s going to be in a hostile environment – one that favors me,” Metcalf said. “There will be a lot of excitement there. Now it’s time to get the job done and get on that team.”

American Shawn Bunch fell to Yowlys Bonne Rodriguez of Cuba in the semifinals at 60 kg/132 lbs.

Bunch scored a takedown near the edge of the mat late in the first period to lead 1-0, but the explosive Rodriguez quickly recovered to drive Bunch out of bounds with five seconds left in the period to tie it 1-1. The Cuban won the period by virtue of scoring last. Rodriguez stormed out strong in the second period and won that period 6-0 to earn the victory.

Bunch swept Canada’s John Pineda 5-0, 3-0 in the bronze-medal match.

“We had a pretty clear goal – come in and win two gold medals,” U.S. National Coach Zeke Jones said. “We weren’t coming for anything less. Of course, I’m disappointed. We got one weight class qualified and that’s important, but we didn’t get the job done. Now we have to go back to the drawing board.”

The top two finishers at each weight class qualified their countries for the 2012 Olympic Games, set for this August in London, England. There are no true second-place matches, so the two wrestlers that advanced to the finals qualified their countries for the Olympics.

The U.S. has now qualified for the Olympics in six of seven freestyle classes. The U.S. has qualified in 16-of-18 weight classes overall for the Olympics.

The U.S. team qualified for the Olympics in seven of the nine weight classes it competed in at the Pan American Qualifier here this weekend.

Canada’s Matt Gentry, an NCAA champion for Stanford, qualified his country for the Olympics at 74 kg/163 lbs. Gentry beat Puerto Rico’s Francisco Soler Tanco 6-0, 7-0 in the finals.

Mexico’s Jesse Ruiz, a NAIA national champion for Menlo College, qualified his country for the Olympics at 120 kg/264.5 lbs. Ruiz finished second.

Puerto Rico’s Jaime Espinal, who trains at the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club, qualified his country for the Olympics at 84 kg/185 lbs. Espinal finished second.

Two more Olympic Games qualifiers will be held after the Pan American qualifier. The first will be in Taiyuan, China on April 27-29 and the second in Helsinki, Finland on May 4-6.

The U.S. will send entries to China at 96 kg/211.5 lbs. in Greco-Roman and 60 kg/132 lbs. in freestyle.


60 kg/132 lbs.

Gold – Yowlys Bonne Rodriguez (Cuba)

Silver – Guillermo Torres Cervantes (Mexico)

Bronze – Shawn Bunch (USA)

Bronze – Abel Herrera (Peru)

66 kg/145.5 lbs.

Gold – Haislan Garcia (Canada)

Silver – Brent Metcalf (USA)

Bronze – Edison Hurtado Lerma (Colombia)

Bronze – Pedro Soto Cordero (Puerto Rico)

74 kg/163 lbs.

Gold – Matt Gentry (Canada)

Silver – Francisco Soler Tanco (Puerto Rico)

Bronze – Yunierki Blanco (Cuba)

Bronze – Eduardo Gajardo (Chile)

84 kg/185 lbs.

Gold – Humberto Gallardo Martinez (Cuba)

Silver – Jaime Espinal (Puerto Rico)

Bronze – Adrian Abou Jaoude (Brazil)

Bronze – Jeffrey Adamson (Canada)

96 kg/211.5 lbs.

Gold – Javier Cortina Lacerra (Cuba)

Silver – Khetag Pliev (Canada)

Bronze – Israel Silva (Mexico)

Bronze – Luis Vivenes (Venezuela)

120 kg/264.5 lbs.

Gold – Arjan Bhullar (Canada)

Silver – Jesse Ruiz (Mexico)

Bronze – Luis Olivares (Venezuela)

Bronze – Antoine Abou Jaoude (Brazil)


60 kg/132 lbs.

Yowlys Bonne Rodriguez (Cuba) dec. Guillermo Torres Cervantes (Mexico), 4-0, 4-0

66 kg/145.5 lbs.

Haislan Garcia (Canada) dec. Brent Metcalf (USA), 1-0, 3-0

74 kg/163 lbs.

Matt Gentry (Canada) dec. Francisco Soler Tanco (Puerto Rico), 6-0, 7-0

84 kg/185 lbs.

Humberto Gallardo Martinez (Cuba) dec. Jaime Espinal (Puerto Rico), 3-3, 2-0, 6-0

96 kg/211.5 lbs.

Javier Cortina Lacerra (Cuba) dec. Khetag Pliev (Canada), 2-1, 2-0

120 kg/264.5 lbs.

Arjan Bhullar (Canada) dec. Jesse Ruiz (Mexico), 1-0, 1-0


60 kg/132 lbs. – Shawn Bunch, Columbus, Ohio (Gator WC) – 3rd

WIN Gabriel Garcia Sanchez (Dominican Republic), 6-0, 1-4, 4-1

LOSS Yowlys Bonne Rodriguez (Cuba), 1-1, 0-6

WIN John Pineda (Canada), 5-0, 3-0

66 kg/145.5 lbs. – Brent Metcalf, Iowa City, Iowa (New York AC) – 2nd

WIN Elvis Fuentes (Venezuela), 3-0, 4-0

WIN Edison Hurtado Lerma (Colombia), 2-0, fall 0:43

LOSS Haislan Garcia (Canada), 0-1, 0-3

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