Aug. 6, 2013
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa two-time wrestling national champion Brent Metcalf was one of two Americans to win a gold medal Aug. 3 at the Stepan Sargsyan International in Vanadzor, Armenia.
Metcalf rolled through five matches, including wins over two 2013 World Team qualifiers, to earn the 66 kg title. Clayton Foster won gold at 84 kg for the United States.
“I feel pretty good about it,” said Metcalf, who earned a position on the U.S. World Team by winning the World Team Trials in June. “These are high-level opponents, so you can’t have everything you want, but I wrestled well.”
The international tournament was Metcalf’s final tuneup before he challenges for the World Championship in Budapest, Hungary on Sept. 16. It will be his second attempt at a world title. He was bounced in the first round at the 2010 World Championships, but rules have changed since then, and so has Metcalf.
“I’m a much smarter wrestler,” said Metcalf. “I don’t’ want to say better, because I thought I was pretty tough back then, but I’m more seasoned and experienced from a point of view that I have wrestled a lot of these guys. I’ve been exposed to just about every one of the top guys at my weight, so I feel better.
“It was good to get another competition under my belt with the new rules. You have to take yourself back to 2006 when the rules used to be like this. I wrestled pretty much the way I want to wrestle — scoring and building my leads.”
Metcalf recorded wins against a pair of opponents he could meet at the World Championships. He defeated Levan Kelekhsashivili (Georgia), 5-3, in the quarterfinals, before defeating Ulukman Mamatova (Kyrgyzstan), 6-3, in the finals. But his biggest win, at least from a mental standpoint, may have come in Round 2, when he used a quick takedown to defeat Russia’s Alan Gogayev, 2-0. Gogayev was the 66 kg World silver medalist in 2010.
“It is good to get a win against the guy who went to the finals the year I wrestled at the World Championships,” said Metcalf. “He has gone on to have a lot of success, and I’ve had my eye on him since he reached the finals, so it’s good to beat that guy. On top of that, I beat a couple guys I could potentially wrestle at Worlds, so I feel pretty good about the competition.”
Metcalf continues training in Iowa City until Aug. 16. He’ll compete at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., from Aug. 18-27, before traveling to Belarus and Hungary from Sept. 4-15. The World Championships’ 66 kg weight class will be decided Sept. 16 at PAPP LÁSZLÓ BUDAPEST SPORTARENA.
“It’s a big opportunity,” said Metcalf. “They don’t come along too often. I’ve had three years to think about the last one. I’ve got to be ready.”
Brent Metcalf, United States, 66 kg
Zhirayr Hovhannisyan (Armenia) 7-0
Alan Gogaev (Russia) 2-0
Levan Kelekhsashivili (Georgia) 5-3
Koneb Khabalashivili (Georgia) 6-0
Ulukman Mamatov (Kyrgyzstan) 6-3