Archive for May, 2009

UPDATE: Finals set for World Team Trials

May 31, 2009

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.

Metcalf goes down…again

May 31, 2009

It’s not been a good day for Brent Metcalf.

The Iowa wrestling star and  World Team Trials challenge tournament favorite at 145.5 pounds won his first match of the day. It’s been downhill since.

He was beaten by training partner and Hawkeye assistant coach Jared Frayer in the semifinals, ending up on the wrong end of a last-second takedown.

An hour later in his consolation match against yet another training partner, Doug Schwab, Metcalf had another close match go against him. The three-period match went Schwab’s (1-1, 0-1, 1-1) way by virtue of Schwab twice earning the last takedown in the period.

Metcalf’s frustration was clear, during and after the match.

He tossed Schwab’s shoe aside after it came off when Schwab wiggled his leg loose from Metcalf’s hold. He walked off the floor in disust with a yellow Iowa hoodie draped over his head. 

And so, his tournament is finished. Much to his, and the dismay of others who thought he would ultimately be the one to face Trent Paulson in the best-of-three championship.

Metcalf broke down as he spoke with reporters. The senior-to-be will have to wait till next year for a shot at his first World team.

World-class wrestlers get a raise

May 31, 2009

World and Olympic champions over the next four years are getting a nice bump in pay under a new fund established by USA Wrestling.

Gold, silver and bronze medal finishes at this year’s World Championships in Herning, Denmark, the 2010 and 2011 Worlds and the 2012 Olympic Games in London are eligible.

For the World Championships, it will be $50,000 for a gold medal up from $15,000. Silver medalists will get $25,000 and bronze medalists $15,000.

For the Olympics, a gold medal winner will earn a whopping $250,000, silver will get $50,000 and bronze $25,000.

Fund organizers are asking members of the wrestling community to pitch in and help maintain the fund. Donations of $5 to $5,000 are sought from supporters who would like to show their appreciation for these athletes.

To donate: www.living-the-dream-medal-fund.com

The upsets keep on coming

May 31, 2009

COUNCIL BLUFFS — Darrion Caldwell has the University of Iowa’s number.

The North Carolina State wrestler shocked the college wrestling world with a victory over Iowa’s Brent Metcalf in the 149-pound title match at this year’s NCAA Championship, snapping Metcalf’s winning streak at 69.

Caldwell did it again Sunday, beating 2008 Olympian and former Hawkeye national champion Doug Schwab in the quarterfinals of the 145.5-pound challenge tournament at the World Team Trials.

The score: 1-0, 2-1.

It apparently was Caldwell’s first freestyle match since the 2006 Junior Nationals. Schwab came in as the No. 3 seed after a fourth-place finish at last month’s U.S. Nationals in Las Vegas.

“He’s last year’s Olympian and I just wanted to go out there and see where I was and see if I can compete with the best,” Caldwell said. “The way I’m wrestling right now, I feel like I’m really confident.”

Caldwell faces Brian Stith in the semifinals. If he can get by Stith, a 3-0, 3-2 winner over Mario Mason, and Metcalf can beat his assistant coach at Iowa, Jared Frayer, we’ll get to see a Metcalf-Caldwell rematch.

The challenge tournament winner will face U.S. Nationals champion Trent Paulson, formerly of Iowa State, in the best-of-three title bout tonight.

Cyler, Tyler leaving Cyclone wrestling team

May 31, 2009

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa — Iowa State wrestlers Cyler Sanderson and Tyler Clark have been released from their scholarships and will leave the program, Coach Kevin Jackson confirmed Saturday.

Sanderson is planning a transfer to Penn State to finish his final year of eligibility alongside older brothers Cael and Cody.  He will be able to compete next season.

Cael Sanderson left ISU in March to take the Nittany Lions’ job. Cody is an assistant coach.

Clark, a two-time NCAA qualifier at 125, has two years of eligibility remaining.

Jackson said he gave Clark a partial release, not allowing him immediate eligibility at Penn State, Iowa or other Big 12 Conference schools.

Seeing Cyler Sanderson follow his family out East wasn’t a huge surprise.

“It is his family. You have to go where your family is. I don’t blame him,” said ISU teammate Jon Reader.

The Cyclones were set to have all 10 NCAA tournament qualifiers return for Jackson’s first season. They are down to eight.

“It’s going to hurt a lot,” Reader said. “We are going to bounce back and try to fill those holes.”

Bono calls it quits

May 30, 2009

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa — It’s over.

At age 35, Father Time finally has caught up with Chris Bono. The former Iowa State NCAA champion and three-time World Team member has hung up the singlet. Forever.

“There’s no way I’m coming back. This is for good,” Bono said Saturday afternoon, matside at the World Team Trials here at the Mid-America Center. “Does it hurt? No. Would I like to be out there? Of course I would. I’m as competitive as the next guy. I wanted to win (a world title). It just didn’t happen.”

Bono competed at last month’s U.S. Nationals in Las Vegas.

He took a week off before resuming workouts. He hurt and soon was told he’d need multiple surgies to fix his ailing elbows and hand.

“I was going to try to fight through it but my training suffered,” Bono said.  “I’m not the kind of guy who is going to train half-heartedly.”

After his ISU career ended in 1996, Bono spent nine years as an assistant under Bobby Douglas. He’s entering his fourth season as head coach of Tennessee-Chattanooga.

Bono was scheduled to compete this weekend at 145.5 pounds. Instead, he’s here in support of others, trying to help them achieve their goals.

“It hurts, but I’ve gotten over it. I’m happy with the decision,” Bono said. “I love the other side of it. I love the coaching thing  and concentrating on the athletes. I’ve made lifelong friendships traveling around the world, I’ve traveled the world a couple times over. I wouldn’t change anything at all.”

UPDATE: Tough finals for Iowans at World Team Trials

May 30, 2009

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa – If there’s to be a sweep of Iowa and Iowa State champions at tonight’s World Team Trials, it’s not going to come easy.

We’ll got the match-ups most thought we would in tonight’s best-of-three championships. The No. 1 seeds in the challenge tournament advanced at 132 and 163 pounds. At 211.5, Olympian and 2006 World Team member Andy Hrovat battled through the field and will challenge Iowa State’s Jake Varner for a spot on the U.S. team.

Former Iowa star Mike Zadick and Travis Paulson of Iowa State, like Varner, earned the right to skip Saturday’s challenge tournament at 132 and 163, respectively.

Zadick faces Shawn Bunch in a rematch of last month’s National Open in Las Vegas.

Paulson takes on former Minnesota All-American Dustin Schletter. Schletter beat Ryan Churella in the challenge tournament finals, 2-0, 1-0.

Varner, a three-time NCAA finalist, lost to Hrovat twice last year at the 185 pound weight class. Hrovat wrestled at Michigan and in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Varner won the U.S. title in Vegas without surrendering a point.

“Jake is capable of beating everyone, and I think he should beat everyone,” ISU Coach Kevin Jackson said. “If he wrestles eight minutes of quality wrestling he makes the World Team. I believe he’s going to get it done.”

Other Iowa and Iowa State wrestlers had a tough afternoon.

ISU’s Nick Gallick won his first match at 132 pounds, then was dominated by former U.S. Nationals runner-up Shawn Bunch, 1-0, 6-0, and pinned by Reece Humphrey in his consolation match.

Cyclone Jon Reader also took his opening match, then was sent to the other side of the 163-pound bracket after a 5-2, 5-2 loss to Churella of the New York Athletic Club.

Reader rallied for a 2-5, 2-1, 3-1 win in the consolation semifinals over Andrew Howe. 

Jackson, Nate Gallick and Chris Bono each had spots in their corner during their bouts.

“It was a tough match for both of them, but right now Shawn Bunch and Ryan Churella are better,” Jackson said. “They are senior-level wrestlers.”

“It allowed me to see these guys in competition and understand what their areas of concentration are and what we need to work on. They are disappointed. This tournament puts us ahead of schedule I think.”

UNI’s Moza Fay lost, won and fell to Andrew Howe in the 163-pound consolation semifinals. Howe meets Reader tonight in the third-place match.

Iowa’s Daniel Dennis lost to Bunch, beat Drew Headlee, 7-0, 1-3, 6-3, then was pinned by Lehigh’s Matt Valenti.

Home mat edge for Paulsons at World Team Trials

May 29, 2009
The Paulson brothers back home

The Paulson brothers back home

Trent and Travis Paulson hold homefield advantage at this weekend’s World Team Trials in their hometown of Council Bluffs.

The twins’ mother bought tickets by the dozens for family and friends. Many more will be inside the Mid-America Center today and Sunday cheering on the native sons as they wrestle for a spot on the U.S. freestyle team that travels to Herning, Denmark, for this fall’s World Championships.

Trent Paulson’s third-grade teacher will be in attendance, wearing one of the hundreds of T-shirts the boys’ mother, Mary Ann, had printed for the event.

“It’s going to be awesome,” Trent Paulson said. “I can’t believe the amount of support we’ve gotten… from people that you wouldn’t even think of.”

The Paulsons, 26, each have earned the top seed in their weight class with wins at last month’s U.S. Nationals in Las Vegas.

Trent Paulson beat Iowa’s Brent Metcalf in the finals and, like the winners in each of the other six weight divisions, earned a bye to the best-of-three finals.

The 145.5-pound class holds the most intrigue for competitors from Iowa and Iowa State.          

Trent Paulson won an NCAA title at 157 as a senior at Iowa State. Metcalf, the No. 2 seed, won a national title at 149 his first season at Iowa and had his 69-match winning streak snapped this past season in the finals.

Olympian Doug Schwab, a former Iowa NCAA champion, current Hawkeye assistant Jared Frayer and former Iowa State national champion and assistant coach Chris Bono – a three-time World team member — are in the challenge tournament field.

N.C. State’s Darrion Caldwell, who shockingly defeated Metcalf back in March, earned a wild card spot into the field.

Travis Paulson is the top seed at 163 pounds.

An All-American, but never a national champion at ISU, Travis Paulson has made huge strides in his post-collegiate career. Working out in Lincoln, Neb., where the brothers are Cornhusker assistant coaches, has been helpful.

“I’ve always trained hard, but now I think I’m training smarter,” Travis Paulson said.

They’ve also spent a lot of time in Colorado Springs alongside USA Wrestling coaches like Zeke Jones, Bill Zadick, Brandon Slay and new Iowa State coach Kevin Jackson.

Nebraska coach Mark Manning is one of the coaches for the U.S. freestyle team. 

“They are high characters guys,” Manning said of the Paulsons. “I knew that previously, they were just wearing a little different shade of red. Now we’ve got them in the right red and they look better.

“The culture that we’ve tried to develop at Nebraska they fit right into that mold. They’ve put themselves in a great position.”

Five of the seven No. 1 seeds have ties to the state of Iowa.

Joining the Paulsons is Iowa assistant coach and Olympian Mike Zadick (132), ISU senior-to-be Jake Varner (211.5) and former Hawkeye heavyweight Steve Mocco (264.5).

As luck would have it, there were no bids to host the 2009 World Team Trials.

Council Bluffs had bid to host the 2010 event, but when no one stepped up to host this year’s World Team Trials, it was theirs for the taking.

It couldn’t have worked out better with the Paulsons as the top competitors at their weight. Travis will wrestle today. Trent’s match is set for Sunday.

“It’s tough for me to watch him,” Travis Paulson said. “I think I get more emotional during his matches than my own… but it’s the perfect scenario for Trent and I to come back home and wrestle.”

Ex-ISU hoops commit: “I want more in life than basketball”

May 27, 2009

Iowa State basketball coaches wanted more of a commitment to the game than Jordan Dykstra was willing to make.

And so, just months before the star Rock Valley (Iowa) forward was to make his three-year-long commitment official, Dykstra and ISU have parted ways. He will re-open his recruitment, and may even look into playing football at the college level instead, Dykstra said in an email Wednesday to The Gazette.

“For me to be successful in the Big 12, I would have to focus all my time in high school on basketball,” Dykstra wrote. “That would mean giving up many activities in high school that I really enjoy. I am not willing to do that to myself, or to my friends, coaches and instructors… I love basketball, but I want to have more in life than just that.”

Dykstra accepted a scholarship offer as a ninth-grader, before he even went through a varsity basketball practice.

He immediately connected with head coach Greg McDermott and the rest of the Cyclones’ coaching staff. This was not an easy decision.

 “They are good guys over there,” Dykstra said. “Sometimes you have to follow you heart when your heart tells you something isn’t right.”

The 6-9, 215-pound forward led Rock Valley to a Class 1A state championship back in March. Dykstra averaged 17.7 points and 10.1 rebounds as a junior.

His oral commitment back in 2006 is believed to be the earliest ever by an Iowa prep.

Not long ago the Cyclones had a pair of commitments for the Class of 2010. Chim Kadima, a 6-3 guard from Milwaukee also was set to come to ISU but now is looking at other schools.

National signing day for recruits is in November.

McDermott will have at least one scholarship available and possibly three.

Forward Jamie Vanderbeken and junior college transfer Marquis Gilstrap are seniors, though Gilstrap may ask the NCAA for an additional year of eligibility because of past injury problems.

All-Big 12 Conference forward Craig Brackins returned for his junior season, but is likely to only stay one more season before turning pro.

Dykstra answered “not really” when asked if schools had already made contact with him.

“I’m gonna keep my options open and just take it a day at a time,” Dykstra said.

Dykstra plays for the Martin Brothers AAU team. The team – which includes McDermott’s son, Doug – plays in a tournament this weekend in Manhattan, Kan.

Ideally, the school he chooses won’t be far from home.

“I’d rather stay close so I can have my family and friends at the games supporting me,” Dykstra said.

Dykstra said schools have spoken with his football coach. He also wrote that he would love to continue playing in college alongside Rock Valley teammate Marcus Heemstra, also a Division I prospect whom Dykstra has played with since grade school.

This decision comes just as ISU’s team appears on the rise.

“I know many people will question this decision, but I feel this is the right decision for me,” Dykstra said.

Cyclones lose 2010 hoops commitment

May 27, 2009

Months before he was to make his three-year-long commitment official, Rock Valley, Iowa, forward Jordan Dykstra and Iowa State are parting ways, The Gazette has learned.

Dykstra, who accepted a scholarship offer from ISU as a ninth-grader before he even went through a varsity basketball practice, is re-opening his recruitment. The decision, sources said Wednesday, was mutual.

“Iowa State had greater expectations of Jordan when it came to his commitment to basketball and that’s understandable,” Rock Valley Coach Heath Swanson told Rivals.com site Cyclone Report. “It’s a Division I program and they were wanting Jordan to really eat, sleep and live basketball. Being a 1A school, he’s involved in everything.

“Coach (Greg) McDermott said he needed to be more committed to basketball.”

The 6-9, 215-pound forward led Rock Valley to a Class 1A state championship in March. Dykstra averaged 17.7 points and 10.1 rebounds as a junior.

Dykstra’s commitment back in 2006 is believed to be the earliest ever by an Iowa prep.

Not long ago the Cyclones had a pair of commitments for the Class of 2010. Chim Kadima, a 6-3 guard from Milwaukee also was set to come to ISU but now is looking at other schools.

National signing day for recruits is in November.

McDermott will have at least one scholarship available and possibly three.

Forward Jamie Vanderbeken and junior college transfer Marquis Gilstrap are seniors, though Gilstrap may ask the NCAA for an additional year of eligibility because of past injury problems.

All-Big 12 Conference forward Craig Brackins returned for his junior season, but is likely to only stay one more season before turning pro.