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Brent Metcalf has resembled his previous form.
Even an older version would have had trouble keeping up with the current competitor that rolled through the ASICS U.S. Senior Open field.
Metcalf dominated his way to the 143-pound freestyle crown last weekend in Las Vegas, posting three technical falls and a nine-point win without surrendering a single point. Metcalf handled former University of Michigan Kellen Russell, 9-0, in the championship.
“I feel good about it,” Metcalf said in a phone interview with The Gazette Monday. “Looking back on the matches, I did a lot of great things as far as wrestling and where I wanted to be.”
Metcalf finds himself back on top in a major U.S. freestyle national championship for the first time in eight years. He was excited to receive the octagon-shape award.
“I was speaking with some of my family and I think it was since 2006, which was the last stop sign I had,” said Metcalf, referring to the shape of the trophy. “It's big. It's important to do that as far as my progress and the goals I have and the things I want to achieve.”
Even more than winning the title was the way he accomplished it. Metcalf was impressive, posting three 10-0 technical fall victories to reach the championship. One of those came in the semifinal again current World Team member, Reece Humphrey, who was up from 134.
“It is about the way you do it,” Metcalf said. “It does make a difference. It makes you feel better going forward with that performance than maybe when you eke out one or two.
“You feel good about it because it was how I felt I could perform and went and did it.”
Whether it was the Metcalf that was a member of the U.S. Junior World Team, the one that won two NCAA titles in three national final appearances for the Hawkeyes or the current or 2010 World Team member, Metcalf has thrived with the new rules. He has adjusted, opening up and returning to the mindset of scoring early and building leads.
“That first three minutes, you're not out there and it doesn't have to be 'If I make a mistake I lose this period.' “ Metcalf said. “You get over it and wrestle. If I make a mistake, I have four to five minutes to come back. I think the way the rules were you just unnaturally wrestled.”
Metcalf, who finished third in the Open last year, continues to climb toward his international goals. He will face the best of the rest, in a best-of-3 series, at the U.S. World Team Trials at Madison, Wis., on May 31-June 1.
The Open serves as a good gauge as he works his way back to the World Championships.
“It keeps adding to a good thing,” Metcalf said. “It puts you on top of the ladder and is a good step up. You have another step to go before you can get yourself on that world team and that's what it is really all about.”
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