Former Hawkeye, 49, wins pair of matches at regional tourney
By Jim Nelson
WATERLOO ” At an age when most men are beginning to stare down retirement, Randy Lewis decided to find out if he was still tough.
Wrestling for the first time since the 1992 Olympic trials, the 49-year-old Lewis, a 1984 Olympic gold medalist, showed he’s pretty tough for a guy who will turn 50 next month, but not quite tough enough to tame all the youngsters in his given sport of freestyle wrestling.
Lewis, a two-time national champion at Iowa, won two matches Saturday at the 2009 Northern Plains Senior and Junior Regional championships at Young Arena before losing in the semifinals to Northern Iowa’s two-time All-American Moza Fay.
“It was fun,” Lewis said. “It was real fun those first two matches. It was fun against Moza. It was a great experience for me. I’m glad I did it.”
Fay, more than a quarter century younger than Lewis, won the 163-pound semifinal, 9-2, 7-0.
“I made a couple of mistakes in that match against Moza and he is too solid for me to give up that much position,” Lewis said. “And once he got on top it was pretty much over.
“I told myself before this started if I got in a tight situation where if it was a decision to get hurt or turned, I was going to let them turn me and that was the decision Moza Fay gave me.”
Fay was his usual humble self in victory, raising Lewis’ hand in at the conclusion of the match as several hundred fans stood and applauded the former Iowa great.
“Honestly, I was nervous going into that match,” Fay said. “I mean really nervous because he is an Olympic champion, and I didn’t care if he was 49 years old.
“I knew he probably wasn’t going to win it, but it was cool to wrestle him and good for the sport. I just wish it wasn’t me who had to beat him.”
Fay lost in the final to Illinois’ Mike Poeta, 4-1, 9-3.
Lewis opened with a 1-0, 3-0 win over James Reynolds of the Maverick Wrestling Club, and beat Trent Larrieu of Victory School of Wrestling in the quarterfinals, 3-1, 5-1.
“I think I let a few people know I still have some stuff … probably not as much as I thought I had,” Lewis said with a laugh.
Iowa All-American Daniel Dennis beat reigning 133-pound national champion Franklin Gomez, (1-0, 0-2, 0-0, 1-0), in the 132.25 semifinals before topping Northwestern’s Brandon Precin, 7-0, 2-0, in the final.
The Northern Plains is a last-chance qualifier for the World Team trials May 30-31 in Council Bluffs.
Other champions were Cruse Aarhus of the Panther Wrestling Club at 121, Jared Frayer of the Gator Wrestling Club at 145.5, Chris Pendleton of the Gator Wrestling Club at 185, J.D. Bergman of the New York Athletic Club at 211.5 and Eric Thompson of the Cyclone Wrestling Club at 264.5.