COUNCIL BLUFFS – His first World Team Trials championship match came as a surprise to Jared Frayer.
That’s not the case this time.
Frayer advanced to tonight’s best-of-three finals at 145.5 pounds with three victories in Sunday’s challenge tournament, including a last-second win over top seed Brent Metcalf of Iowa.
Frayer advanced to the 2006 finals in Sioux City, losing to former Iowa national champion Bill Zadick.
He’ll meet ex-Iowa State wrestler Trent Paulson tonight at the Mid-America Center. The winner will represent the U.S. at the World Championships this fall in Herning, Denmark.
“This one I expected to be here,” Frayer said. “And I’ve got to win two matches. That’s it.”
Frayer beat N.C. State national champion Darrion Caldwell 2-2, 3-2 in the challenge tournament final.
Caldwell, who is showing he is a rising star in freestyle competition, defeated Olympian Doug Schwab and No. 2 seed Brian Stith earlier in the day.
He became a household name in the sport of wrestling and among Iowa fans with his shocking upset of Metcalf in the 149-pound NCAA finals in March. Caldwell, a two-time All-American and three-time New Jersey prep champion, hadn’t wrestled freestyle since the 2006 Junior Nationals.
“I don’t feel like I’m upsetting anyone. This is me,” he said. “Previously I’ve been known as a pin or be pinned wrestler. I’m being able to hone my skills and be a complete wrester. I feel right now I’m at the top of my game.”
Frayer, an assistant coach at Iowa, had experience on his side against the younger, more athletic Caldwell.
“I didn’t have any fear. I retired a couple of months ago,” Frayer said. “He’s a fun guy to wrestle. Somebody had to top him.”
Frayer took a 1-0, 0-3, 1-0 semifinal match decision over Metcalf.
Frayer won a scoreless first period, drawing the offensive position on the leg clinch and taking Metcalf down. Metcalf won the second, 3-0, but couldn’t finish off his workout partner in the deciding period.
Frayer got the best of a scramble situation and scored a takedown with three seconds left for a 1-0 victory.
It was a disappointing day for Metcalf, who did not place after a runner-up finish at U.S. Nationals last month.
Schwab beat the Hawkeye star, 1-1, 0-1, 1-1, taking the decisive third period because of a tiebreaker rule that the wrestler with the last takedown wins. Metcalf walked off the floor with a yellow Iowa hoodie draped over his head. He broke down later when speaking with reporters.
Top seed Tervel Dlagnev won a pair of matches and will face former Iowa NCAA champ Steve Mocco in the 264.5 pound finals.
Dlagnev is 1-1 against Mocco, who has trained in Iowa City following the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Dlagnev, a two-time Division II champion at Nebraska-Kearney, is a member of the Sunkist Kids wrestling club and trains at Northern Iowa.
“I feel good. It’s nice to get out there,” Dlagnev said. “He hasn’t been out there yet competing in the arena. I’ve been out there twice. I feel like I’ve got a good warm-up, a couple hours off and I think I’ll be all right.”
In the 121-pound finals it will be Danny Felix against U.S. National champion Nick Simmons.
At 185, challenge tournament winner Bryce Hasseman faces Jake Herbert.