Caldwell-Metcalf the Owings-Gable of 2009?

Portion of a sports columnist from the Creston (Iowa) News-Advertiser drawing some links between Caldwell-Metcalf and Owings-Gable…

Creston/O-M coach Darrell Frain has often told me tournaments are won on the back side of the brackets, and Iowa proved that with its consolation performance on the Saturday morning of this year’s NCAA meet in St. Louis. Guys like Ryan Morningstar, Dan Erekson and Phil Keddy were the real heroes for the Hawks, rebounding from disappointing losses to gain important team points in the consolations.

Of course, the most noteworthy match was the unexpected loss by unbeaten junior Brent Metcalf at 149 pounds, and the team point deduction he got for shoving North Carolina State’s Darrion Caldwell on the edge of the mat as time expired.

But here’s the deal. Metcalf only knows one thing, to wrestle until the final whistle. Caldwell started doing back clips, inbounds, before time expired. Some wrestlers would have shoved that showboat right off the stage in those circumstances. What’s with no unsportsmanlike call against Caldwell?

And here’s the curious part. In a tiring match against a wrestler (Metcalf) known for his third-period domination, Caldwell took 20 seconds for injury time in the final period because of back spasms. Then, he is able to do back flips with five seconds left?

That was not the sportsmanship that Larry Owings displayed when he shocked the world by beating Dan Gable in Gable’s final collegiate match in the 1970 NCAA finals. Gable had won 181 consecutive matches in high school and college until Owings, a Washington sophomore, surprised him in a 13-11 decision. He reached down and helped up a crestfallen Gable afterward.

That match reminded me of Metcalf’s loss, in that he didn’t wrestle his normal match that day, for whatever reason. Heavy-footed, lethargic, compared to the usual whirlwind of activity.

If Metcalf uses it as motivation like Gable did, going unscored upon in the 1972 Olympics, then opponents better look out next season! You’ll see a man on a mission.

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  1. I also wondered why there was no unsportsmanlike call against Caldwell. I don’t blame Metcalf for doing what he did. I know I would have pushed him a lot harder.