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|UPDATED: Metcalf, Mocco win international bouts at intermission of Iowa vs. Oklahoma State|
By Roger Moore Special to TheMat.com
IOWA CITY – Iowa City will host the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials, April 21-22. Wrestling fans got a double taste on Saturday night during an intermission of the Oklahoma State-Iowa dual meet inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Two former Hawkeyes, and a Cowboy, won matches against a Canadian and a German. All are top Olympic hopefuls.
Brent Metcalf (Iowa City, Iowa/New York AC/Hawkeye WC), a two-time NCAA champion for the University of Iowa and World Team Trials champion in 2010, defeated Canadian Haislan Garcia, who was fifth at the 2010 World Championships and a member of the 2008 Canadian Olympic squad.
The 145.5-pound freestyle bout saw Metcalf win the first period with a takedown/push-out from the clinch, then score a late takedown in the second for a 1-0, 1-0 victory.
“It was good to win. I had a slow start. I felt better going into the second period. I was able to get my hands and feet moving better,” said Metcalf. “You let the guy know what you are about. He is one of the guys we have to beat to qualify the weight for the Olympics. He is also one of the best guys in the world. You feel good about it and it is something to build upon.”
Also, Steve Mocco (Bethlehem, Pa./New York AC/Lehigh Valley AC), who won a title for both Oklahoma State and Iowa, defeated German Nick Matuhin in a 264.5-pound matchup.
The 30-year-old Mocco represented the United States in the 2008 Olympics, placing seventh, and is a five-time U.S. Team Trials runner-up. Matuhin, a 21-year-old, was fifth in the 2011 European Championships and suited up for his native Germany at the 2010 World Championships.
Mocco scored a takedown in the final 20 seconds of the opening period, nearly taking Matuhin to his back. The former Blair Academy star and Olympian finished off the German in straight periods with another takedown, and after fighting off a Matuhin attack, scored another takedown to win 1-0, 2-0.
“He was pretty tough. He’s a strong, young German guy. He was competing with me. I felt it was a good match for me. We were scrapping out there,” said Mocco.
It was a capacity crowd at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, and both U.S. wrestlers enjoyed the opportunity to compete in a setting which they experienced when they were in college.
“It was a lot of fun. There is nothing like wrestling in Carver-Hawkeye Arena,” said Metcalf. “They had it packed. It was a good time. The fan support was great. There was a lot of energy there. It was good to give them a preview of the Olympic Trials, and have a chance to get a few more in the door for the event.”
“It was awesome. It was a fun experience for me,” said Mocco. “I am very grateful to be brought back here to compete. It will be awesome to have the Olympic Trials here. They have a strong scholastic fan base here, and its one of the most energy-charged places to wrestle. We had 15,000 to watch us wrestle tonight. I felt honored to promote both freestyle and the Olympic Trials.”
FREESTYLE WRESTLING BOUTS
At Iowa City, Iowa, Jan. 7
66 kg/145.5 lbs. – Brent Metcalf (USA) dec. Haislan Garcia (Canada), 1-0, 1-0
120 kg/264.5 lbs. – Steve Mocco (USA) dec. Nick Matuhin (Germany), 1-0, 2-0