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Hawkeyes Hire Song as New Strength Coach

August 30th, 2009 by Tom

Andy Hamilton - Iowa City Press-Citizen

Danny Song wasn't certain what he was getting into three years ago when his search for a place to continue his wrestling career led him from New York to Iowa.

He had just finished his senior season at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy where he became a Division III All-American under coach Tim Alger, a former Hawkeye.

A phone call from Alger to Iowa coach Tom Brands helped get Song's foot in the door of the Dan Gable Wrestling Complex in 2006. Ultimately, it helped Brands find the newest member of his coaching staff.

Brands said Monday that Song will be the strength and conditioning coach for the Hawkeyes. The 25-year-old replaces Jared Frayer, who left Iowa after one season for an assistant position at Wisconsin.

"I consider myself a product of this program, "Song said. "I feel like the philosophy, the lifestyle, the culture, it's what I was looking for, even not knowing it. But getting out here and getting a feel for it, it's exactly where I want to be."

Song trained in Iowa City for two seasons before spending last year as an assistant coach at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J. He returned to Iowa in the spring to continue his freestyle training.

"We were looking for a guy who loves the Hawkeyes, and he does, "Brands said. "He's young, but he has a passion for wrestling and with the help we have, he adds to a good staff. ... The attractive thing for him to come back is the training aspect. He's in an environment where he's still able to train and compete."

But Song said his first priority will be helping the Hawkeyes in their pursuit of a third straight NCAA title.

"A lot of times you get guys who are competing and the focus is shifted between being there for the team and then being for yourself and getting yourself ready for competition, "Song said. "From what I've seen and what I've learned so far, I think I can bring a complete, 100-percent dedication to the program and to the position. In my head, this isn't a position that's going to supplement my training, which it might. It might do that, but my priority lies with getting these guys strong for March."

Paulsons Together Again In The Iowa State Wrestling Room

August 28th, 2009 by Tom

More than two years after their last matches at Iowa State, twins Trent and Travis Paulson remain inseparable.

They live together, they train together and now they're back at ISU together to continue their quest to become world and Olympic freestyle wrestling champions.

"We've always wanted to stay together, just because we feed off each other. We always have," Travis said Tuesday. "We know what we're capable of and we push each other to the limit."

Their return figures to be a two-way deal in the Cyclone wrestling room.

The Paulsons say they'll benefit from training under Iowa State Coach Kevin Jackson, an Olympic gold medalist and former national team coach. Jackson's ISU wrestlers will benefit from having the Paulsons as workout partners.

"Our mentality is we want to work harder in practice than we do in a match," Jackson said. "A match should be easier than practice, so with these guys in our room, it kind of plays into that. We're actually wrestling at a higher level than we'll face in competition. There are no collegians as good as these guys right now."

Trent Paulson ended his Iowa State career by winning the NCAA championship at 157 pounds in 2007 and finished with a 115-20 record. Travis finished fifth at 165 in his final NCAA meet and went 106-32 at ISU.

The former Council Bluffs Lewis Central stars have been training at Nebraska for the past year.

"I just kind of had a deep feeling that I'd be a part of something special by coming back," Trent said. "Not only will the Cyclones be right in there to be national champions as a team, at the same time they're winning national titles, Travis and I will be making world teams and winning world medals."

Added Travis, "It was tough to leave (Nebraska), but when the opportunity arose to come back to Iowa State and work out in the toughest room in the country, I had to take it.''

Trent will compete for the world championship at 145.5 pounds in Herning, Denmark next month. Iowa State wrestler Jake Varner is the U.S. entry at 211.5 pounds.

"I'm getting a lot of great experience, a lot of different perspectives, a lot of different coaching," Trent said. "I'm just trying to be a sponge right now and bring back as much as I can."

The Paulsons' return is part of Jackson's plan to set up a regional training center at Iowa State for world-class wrestlers. That should help recruiting, he said, because top-notch high school prospects would see they'd have a chance to work out with some of the best wrestlers in the country.

"We are in pursuit of other world-class wrestlers,'' said Jackson, who got the Iowa State job May 1 after Cael Sanderson left to become the coach at Penn State.

The Cyclone Wrestling Club will pay the Paulsons' living expenses so they can train full-time. Their other option had been to move to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

"The Cyclone Club's been unbelievable, very supportive," Trent said. "Even when we were at Nebraska, they'd drop us e-mails asking how we're doing, saying once a Cyclone, always a Cyclone. They just always cared.

"They went above and beyond to get us back. We're excited to be back in Cyclone country."

The Paulsons share a house they bought in Ames a year ago and had been renting out. But they confine their wrestling to the Iowa State mats. No moving the furniture aside so they can tussle on the living room floor.

Laughing, Travis said, "We're in the wrestling room so much, we really don't have any energy when we get home."

Success to Follow Dynamic Gallick Duo

August 16th, 2009 by Tom

AMES, Iowa "For Iowa State's current 141-pound wrestling standout, a former Cyclone 141-pound NCAA champion is in his corner all the way this season. Luckily for Nick Gallick, it's his workout partner, coach and older brother, Nate Gallick.

The Gallick brothers don't have a sibling rivalry. Nate and Nick Gallick's relationship could be more closely described as a partnership. Their brotherly arrangement exists in the realms of both collegiate and freestyle wrestling. They want to be the best and sometimes the road to being on top is a hard path to take.

Brothers are sometimes the most hard on each other, but for the Gallick brothers; that is part of their goal.

"Having Nate back in the room with me on a daily basis will be good," Nick Gallick said. "That is going to help me. I'm really excited he is back."

Nick Gallick has shadowed his older brother's career closely in his time in a Cyclone singlet. The younger Gallick is a two-time All-American heading into his senior season, like his older brother. Nate Gallick finished his senior season as the 2006 NCAA 141-pound champion and is now a volunteer coach on ISU's wrestling coaching staff.

"We've had pretty similar careers here at Iowa State," Nate Gallick said. "I think he fell short a little bit last year, but I think he's had the capability to be a national champion."

ISU's Nick Gallick plans to couple the knowledge of the new coaching staff, led by Iowa State head coach Kevin Jackson, with his own work ethic.

"I'm putting in the extra work," Nick Gallick said. "I'm getting with all the coaches and I'm really excited about the coaching staff. They are helping me work on areas that I need to work on."

Nick Gallick's focus remains on the collegiate arena while Nate Gallick's gaze has shifted towards the top of the national freestyle ranks. Nate Gallick feels that being back in a recognizable wrestling room can push him towards the summit of the international wrestling scene.

"Ames is a familiar training environment for me," Nate Gallick said. "I'll have great workout partners. Being here with Coach Jackson is awesome. I'm really fortunate to have him be able to coach me."

Nate Gallick is a force to be reckoned with in freestyle wrestling. Competing at 60 kg (132 pounds), Gallick took first-place honors at the 2007 U.S. Senior Nationals and placed third at the 2008 Olympic Team Trials. An injury suffered while wrestling overseas hampered Gallick over the last year, but he has returned to top-form since leaving his post as assistant coach at Tennessee-Chattanooga for Iowa State.

"I learned a lot about coaching while at Chattanooga," Nate Gallick said. "Being down there with Coach Bono helped me learn a lot and I think I'll be able to come back here and help our guys. I will also make them appreciate what they have here at Iowa State."

Several of today's seniors cemented their places in the lineup as freshmen. Gallick wants to put an impressive stamp on the final chapter of his Cyclone career.

"I think we've done great things as a class," Nick Gallick said. "We have so much potential that we are definitely going to go for it all this year. We're here working to ensure that we get it."

Older brother Nate Gallick echoes his younger brother in his confidence behind the ISU title hunt. In his supporting role, Nate Gallick will still enjoy the thrill of victory.

"I can't wait until March," Nate Gallick said. "I'm really excited. I know these seniors really well. I want to be in their corner. I want to help them reach their individual goals. I want to be part of a national championship team. This team has potential."

In regards to the coaching corner, those faithful to Cyclone wrestling will see a new staff of familiar faces. Jackson, along with his staff, have taken the helm in Ames. Nate Gallick has experience with Jackson from the Olympic Training Center and expects great things in the coaching department.

"When we are showing technique to the wrestlers, we'll be demonstrating the same techniques, along with the rest of the staff." Nate Gallick said.

Current Iowa Stater Nick Gallick affirms his older brother's confidence in the new staff.

"I think our coaching staff will be super technical," Nick Gallick said. "They are in here pushing us to work. As much time as we are willing to put in; they will be here for us. That work will take us far."

Constructive criticism in coaching from a sibling might not be the easiest to take. For the Gallicks, pinpointing areas of wrestling technique refinement is of the utmost importance.

"I'm probably one of his main workout partners," Nate Gallick said. "When I see him doing something wrong; I'm his brother, so I can't help but tell him. If he sees me doing something wrong, I hope he tells me. I respect his wrestling skills as much as he respects mine. We are both being here to help each other."

Nick Gallick ventured even further to note that he looks at his older brother as more than just a sibling, but as an indispensible asset of wrestling knowledge.

"He'll be able to help me out and I'll be able to help him," Nick Gallick said. "Nate being here is going to be nothing but positive things for me."

The older Gallick emphasized the importance of his younger brother's senior season.

"This is his senior year and I think he's got the skills, technique and mindset to win a national title," Nate Gallick said. "Overall, he's had a great career here, win or lose."

One Moore Reason to Cheer for the Hawkeyes

August 9th, 2009 by Tom

Andy Hamilton "¢ Iowa City Press-Citizen

Nick Moore joked in May that he might hold off on making a commitment until next spring just to throw off all of the people who expected an announcement this summer that he was headed to Iowa.

As it turned out, the three-time state champion from West High might have thrown himself for a loop.

"I wanted to stay open-minded and not get set on Iowa, "Moore said. "But in the end, it would've hurt a bit not to go to Iowa."

So Moore committed to the Hawkeyes on Sunday night, ending a short recruiting process that also included Old Dominion and Edinboro -- perhaps the only two schools that thought it wasn't a lost cause to pursue a wrestler who has a brother and three other high school teammates either at Iowa or on their way.

"Even if it's just your siblings there, it's tough to turn away from that school, "Moore said. "But I live in Iowa City, too, so they probably didn't want to waste their time."

Moore has compiled a 131-1 record at West and has won 99 straight matches since losing to Iowa freshman Mark Ballweg, then of Waverly-Shell Rock, in the 2007 state duals after winning their previous meeting a week earlier in the state semifinals.

Even more impressive, Moore has run the table the past two seasons with an injured right shoulder that required a pair of off-season surgeries.

"He knows how to compete, and he's done a real good job of wrestling the top competition, "West coach Mark Reiland said. "He always seems to step up to the challenge. He's won two of his three state titles injured. There aren't a lot of kids who can do that. You'd like to think his mental toughness is one of his strong suits.

"That's the biggest (strength) he has -- the toughness part. He knows how to battle, he doesn't typically get flustered. At the state tournament this year, he didn't get flustered even though he was having close matches. He doesn't like having them close, but sometimes when you're physically not able to do some things it's going to be that way. He stuck to what he knew he could do, and that's going to take him a long way."

Moore, projected as a 157-pounder in college, is ranked the No. 10 prospect nationally in the Class of 2010 by InterMat. He is the second recruit to verbally commit to Iowa's 2010 recruiting class, joining Waverly-Shell Rock two-time state champion Jake Ballweg.

Moore is set to become the fifth West wrestler in three years to sign with the Hawkeyes. Iowa landed his brother, Nate, and Grant Gambrall in 2007 and signed Dylan Carew and Derek St. John last fall.

"(Iowa) just showed a lot of interest in me and looked at me as an individual, "Nick Moore said. "I really thought that was a good place for me and they had me in their best interests.

"I especially liked the coaches. They just seem like they're always giving 110 percent to you. They just want you to succeed to the best possible ability that you can. I feel like if I surround myself with those kind of people things will click. The coaches, especially, it just seems like you want to be around those type of people with the success they've already had."

Iconic wrestler Brent Metcalf, normally relentless, takes break

July 25th, 2009 by Tom

Brent Metcalf has been a national champion. He has been a national runner-up. He has been an All-American " twice. He has been a Big Ten champion " twice. He has been the Outstanding Wrestler at the Big Ten championships " twice. He has been the Outstanding Wrestler of the NCAA championships. He has been the Dan Hodge Trophy winner. He has a 69-match winning streak.

Yet, he is not satisfied.

Accolades such as that could make anybody's head swell. But Metcalf is not the pompous type. While the 23-year-old exudes cool confidence, he has remained grounded. He doesn't bask in the glory of his victories; instead, he chooses to find motivation in his few losses.

The Hawkeye senior has been wrestling since he was 8. From the moment he first stepped onto the mat, he has been an opponent to be feared.

He began in the novice division of youth wrestling, but that didn't last long. In just one weekend, he advanced to the regular division, a transition that took other successful wrestlers months. After that, he won the youth state championships in his home state of Michigan as well as tournaments across the country.

His first national victory came at age 11 at the USA Championships in Waterloo, and his parents, Tom and Lynn Metcalf, see that win as a turning point.

"That was probably the first inkling we had that he could do this on a national stage," Tom Metcalf said. "But I certainly never thought he was going to be an Olympic athlete."

Click on the link to read the rest of the story, view the pics and the video


Former ISU Wrestler Tyler Clark Back In Business at Iowa

July 8th, 2009 by Tom

ISU transfer back in business at Iowa

By Andy Hamilton "¢ Iowa City Press-Citizen "¢ July 3, 2009

Rankings apparently came into play when Tyler Clark made his decision to leave Iowa State and transfer to Iowa.

The two-time NCAA qualifier was listing some of the factors Thursday that led to his departure from the Cyclones when the business major mentioned the University of Iowa's Tippie Business School, which recently ranked 44th nationally by U.S. News. Iowa State was unranked.

Of course, Iowa's No. 1 wrestling program factored into the equation too.

"Right now," Clark said, "this is the place to be."

Clark, a 125-pounder, feels so strongly Iowa is the place for him that he's sacrificing a scholarship check and an opportunity to compete next year to join the Hawkeyes.

Clark said Iowa State granted him a conditional release after coach Cael Sanderson left the Cyclones for Penn State and Kevin Jackson took over in Ames. Clark was restricted from transferring to Iowa penalty-free. Thus, he can't have contact with Tom Brands or the Iowa coaches until his first day of classes in the fall, he'll have to pay his way through school next year without scholarship assistance and he won't be eligible to compete for the Hawkeyes next season.

Clark's situation is similar to what four current Hawkeyes went through in 2006. Seniors Brent Metcalf, Jay Borschel, Dan LeClere and Joe Slaton, along with graduated senior T.H. Leet, left Virginia Tech after their first year at the school to attend Iowa and follow Brands, who had been named the head coach of the Hawkeyes that April.

Clark, however, didn't use his redshirt at Iowa State so he won't lose a year of eligibility next season and has two years left to compete.

"I would like to wrestle," Clark said. "I'm on track as it is to graduate in four years. I've kept up on my schooling, so it would've been nice to graduate and have wrestling done in four years and focus on getting my master's. But it might be a blessing in disguise. This could be a big improvement year for me. Not having that redshirt coming straight out of high school, I gained a lot of experience and I really didn't have a chance to focus on my weak areas. This might be a time I can do that."

Clark said a year of strictly training will give him an opportunity to hone his basic skills and get back to wrestling with an attacking style.

"I was like that in high school, and I kind of drifted away from that," he said. "I'd like to get back to the way I was " always attacking, always being the aggressor."

Clark picked Iowa State over Iowa during his senior year at Bettendorf. He said he was drawn to Ames by the recruiting pitch and plan that Iowa State assistant Cody Sanderson offered and envisioned himself going into engineering at the time.

The Cyclones pulled Clark out of redshirt for the National Duals in 2008. He went 18-12 as a freshman and posted a 25-8 record last year, notching a victory in January against national champion Angel Escobedo of Indiana before going 1-2 at the NCAA Championships.

Clark said "there were quite a few factors" that led to his decision to leave Iowa State.
"Obviously, coach Sanderson quitting was a big disappointment. I really liked him and it sucked to see him leave," he said.

"I wanted to wait and see who the (new) coach was. There had been rumors that (Iowa assistant) Terry (Brands) was going to take the job, so I wanted to wait and see. I didn't really make a decision until I found out who the coach was. I went and talked to coach Jackson maybe two and a half weeks after that and told him I wanted a release."

Jackson told The Des Moines Register he got the feeling Clark "wasn't comfortable with the change" and said Clark "would have had a tough time making our lineup next year with Andrew Long and Anthony Valles."

"That's not the reason I left," Clark said. "I don't run away from a challenge. If I did, I wouldn't be coming into the returning national champions' room, so it's not that I'm running. But at the same time, he's got to motivate those guys who are still there. Anthony Valles and Andrew Long are both tough competitors, and he's got to find a way to motivate them."

Clark will be reunited with high school teammates Jordan Johnson and Nick Trizzino at Iowa.

"I've talked to a lot of guys (at Iowa), and they've been pretty nice and welcoming," Clark said. "They haven't really held any grudges that I know of. I've talked to some of the guys at Iowa State, some close friends and they all understand. They just said you've got to do what's best for you, and I believe this is the best place for me right now."

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Jared Frayer Leaves Hawkeyes for Wis Badgers

June 21st, 2009 by Tom

Jared Frayer, the Iowa wrestling team's strength and conditioning coach, has accepted a position as an assistant coach at Wisconsin.

Frayer wrestled at Oklahoma, where he was a two-time all-American and an NCAA runner-up in 2002 at 149 pounds, and also has extensive post-collegiate national wrestling experience. He served as Iowa's strength and conditioning coach for the 2008-09 season.

Frayer will join former Hawkeye Barry Davis's staff at Wisconsin.

First assistant Bart Chelesvig left Davis's staff in May, and Donnie Pritzlaff was elevated to the associate head coaching position. Frayer will take over Pritzlaff's position.

"They had offered me the volunteer position about two weeks ago," Frayer said. "It just wasn't right. It was more of a lateral move for me. I enjoyed where I was at at Iowa. But I guess they kind of knew what they wanted and they (made the offer).

"It's a better position. This is what I want to do as a career. It's a position where I can recruit. I'm directly involved with the university. I respect the guys that are there. There are not too many places that I would have gone other than that."

Frayer said that rather than take the volunteer position, which is a paying position but is limited in other respects, he would have stayed at Iowa.

"I wanted to be loyal to the program and there was something I really wanted to do," he said. "I wanted to finish what I started. I didn't feel like we accomplished what we wanted to this year. It's a little selfish but there's a lot of things we left on the table that I think the Hawkeyes are going to accomplish next year that will be pretty special."

Frayer said that being around a program like Iowa's will help him in the future.

"Their expectations are nothing less than the best," he said. "They don't strive to be all-Americans. They strive to be national champions, world champions, Olympic champions. Also the fact that preparation kind of changes your expectations. The way the Iowa program works, preparation is second to none, so you expect second to none.

"It's a place that is unlike any other. It's just been a great opportunity for me to work for Terry and Tom Brands."

Greco-Roman wrestler Rial finds new motivation

June 13th, 2009 by Tom

Council Bluffs, Ia. " Greco-Roman wrestling got to be a drag for Mark Rial, especially after a subpar showing at the 2008 Olympic Trials.

A move back to Cedar Falls, where his college wrestling career began, helped Rial get back on friendly terms with the wrestling style that allows only upper-body moves.

Rial, a state champion at Fort Dodge and an assistant coach at Northern Iowa, made the finals of the 145.5-pound weight class in the Greco-Roman challenge tournament at Mid-America Center on Sunday. He faced reigning National Open champion Faruk Sahin in a best-of-three series for a spot on the World Championships squad Sunday night.

In freestyle, Iowa assistant coach Jared Frayer at 145.5 and Bryce Hasseman of Iowa City at 185 pounds, along with Northern Iowa assistant coach Tervel Dlagnev at 264.5, faced National Open champions to determine the rest of the squad that will compete in Denmark in September.

Frayer was to face former Iowa State NCAA champion Trent Paulson - who grew up in Council Bluffs - while Hasseman met Jake Herbert and Dlagnev faced former Iowa and Oklahoma State NCAA champion Steve Mocco.

Rial was thinking he was done with Greco-Roman after the disheartening Olympic trials. He was living in Colorado Springs, training in Greco-Roman as if it was a full-time job.

"I took a step back, took some time off, became a father and moved back to Iowa and started coaching, "Rial said. "That got me going a little bit. January rolled around and I was like, 'I feel good and I'm in decent shape, (National Open) is a couple months away, and I can get in shape for that.' "

Rial said just being in the practice room at Northern Iowa was good for him.

"It made it fun, actually, "Rial said. "I think I put too much pressure on myself when I lived (in Colorado Springs). If I didn't win, oh my gosh the world's going to end. Now I'm just going out having a good time."

After losing the first round of the semifinals to Kerry Regner of Sunkist Kids, Rial got three turns with a front headlock for a 6-0 win and then a turn late in the third round for a 2-0 victory.

Rial said the front headlock is one of his best moves.

"Once I get that lock on people, it's pretty dangerous, "Rial said.

Late moves helped Frayer reach the best-of-three finals Sunday. He got a 2-point exposure move with 52 seconds left to beat Darrion Caldwell of Sunkist Kids. In their first match, Caldwell and Frayer each had two points, but Frayer won the criteria because his was a two-point move.

In the semifinals against Iowa's Brent Metcalf, Frayer won the first round in overtime with a clinch move and then got a second win on a takedown with 3 seconds left.

Hasseman lost the first round 1-0 against ex-Oklahoma State NCAA champion Chris Pendleton, but scored a fall in the second round to win the challenge tourney.

Dlagnev gave up two points in a pair of wins at 264.5.

A Hassled Cael Laying Low While Still in Ames

June 8th, 2009 by Tom

AMES " Cael Sanderson is not done in Iowa just yet.

The former Iowa State wrestling coach has been in and out of Ames since shocking the wrestling world in April with his decision to leave for the head coaching job at Penn State.

Sanderson faced a great deal of criticism from Cyclone fans and, to some, will long be an unpopular figure in the state because of his career choice. Vulgar and even threatening e-mail and letters were written.

One fan, Sanderson said, went to his house, rang the doorbell and threw ISU clothing into the house at his wife, Kelly, and 2-year-old son Tate. They now don't go to the front door when it is someone the family doesn't know.

To avoid any kind of confrontation, the Sandersons keep a pretty low profile. Cael has shied away from public appearances and will continue to do so until ISU summer wrestling camps are over in late July.

"The only problem is that I like to eat (out) a lot," he said. "I'm not in Ames a great deal. I just do what I have to do. I don't go out."

The backlash has died down considerably since Sanderson accepted the new job.

Time has healed those wounds, even more so after Kevin Jackson was hired to take over ISU's program. Still, the negative reaction has been bothersome to Sanderson and his family, though not a surprise.

"That's expected. Kelly knew that when we were making the decision," he said. "I expected people to be upset. I understand. It was emotional for me at first. People care about wrestling and that's why Iowa State has been so good since the beginning."

At last weekend's World Team Trials in Council Bluffs, Sanderson donned a blue Penn State cap.

Despite living in a hotel room when he's in State College, Sanderson has enjoyed organizing the Penn State program, securing recruits and getting his wrestlers to buy into what he's selling.

"Change is exciting," he said. "It's been overwhelming a little bit with some of those things. I like the area a lot. ... It's going well. People know what's going on there. They love wrestling."

The Nittany Lions have a handful of All-Americans returning and will add Cyler Sanderson, who was released from his scholarship at ISU and is planning a transfer to Penn State.

No team members have asked to transfer, Sanderson said. Penn State finished 17th at March's NCAA Championships.

"There's a lot of potential there," Sanderson said. "But just like anything, you have to get in there and work hard. They've got to feel comfortable with me. I don't want anyone there who doesn't want to be there, but those kids all love Penn State."

Former ISU teammate Joe Heskett will be competing against Sanderson for Big Ten Conference supremacy.

Heskett, who was one of the leading candidates to succeed Sanderson, is an assistant coach at Ohio State. Heskett said he was surprised, but not shocked by his friend's decision to leave Ames.

"I think it is good for the sport of wrestling," Heskett said. "I love the competition. The more the merrier. Having him in the Big Ten is great."

How about getting Iowa State on the schedule for a dual meet? In Ames?

"I'm not opposed to it," Sanderson said. "I don't have anything to prove or wouldn't be trying to come in there and do anything."

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Randy Lewis goes old-school

May 18th, 2009 by Tom

Former Hawkeye, 49, wins pair of matches at regional tourney

By Jim Nelson

Waterloo Courier

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.

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