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Thread: Never back down

  1. #1

    Default Never back down

    March 17. 2009 11:26PM
    Never back down
    By J.R. Ogden

    The Gazette
    jr.ogden@gazettecommunications.com
    http://www.gazetteonline.com/apps/pb...703179908/1056


    IOWA CITY ? He never flinched.

    University of Iowa junior wrestler Brent Metcalf, who opens defense of his NCAA title Thursday in St. Louis, faces tragedy and its aftermath like he faces an opponent on the wrestling mat. Straightforward, attacking, never flinching, never wavering.

    "His wrestling isn't unique to his personality," said his father, Tom. "That's who he is ... He lives his whole life the same way."

    Never backing down, never flinching.

    After arriving at Virginia Tech in the fall of 2005, Metcalf got the call he feared, yet expected. Chase, his older brother by two years and his best friend, had died in a car accident at age 21. Chase had been drinking.

    "When I got the phone call, it wasn't tears, surprise 'Oh my God,'" Brent said last week in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on the Iowa campus, where he transferred after one year at Virginia Tech. "It was anger a little bit. It was 'you SOB, of course you did.'"

    Brent saw this coming.

    Like Brent, Chase Metcalf was a standout wrestler at Davison (Mich.) High School, a two-time state champion and four-time placewinner. He won at the Senior High School National Championships before enrolling at Michigan on a wrestling scholarship and won a Junior National title in Greco-Roman.

    "He was probably a better wrestler than Brent," Tom Metcalf said. "He couldn't get it together mentally like Brent can."

    Chase spent two years at Michigan. It was in Ann Arbor where his life began to unravel.

    "He had problems there with drugs and alcohol," Brent said. "He ended up falling out of a window and breaking his leg."

    Chase tried to come back but was never the same wrestler.

    "It ended pretty quickly," Brent said. "When it started to collapse, it all collapsed."

    Chase made attempts to turn his life around, Brent said, but never got there. After he left Michigan, he coached at Davison, helping Brent put the finishing touches on a 228-0 high school career. Chase also worked for a club with young wrestlers.

    "He was a great coach. He was a great motivator," Brent said. "I don't know what you want to call turning it around (though). I have pretty high standards of what turned around means. To my standard, he probably wasn't turned around. He was out drunk driving."

    Brent admits, however, that his high standards were molded from his relationship with Chase. They both started wrestling at an early age, Brent first.

    "We did everything together," Brent said. "We pushed each other. He pushed me more than I could ever ask myself to push myself. He cared more about my career than he did his own almost.

    "It was a tough situation. He was always doing things to hinder himself and his situation. But everything he had to say to me was positive."

    Brent said the family took the loss hard, especially his parents.

    "I felt I had to maybe be the strong one a little bit," he said.

    He wasn't, of course, all the time. Tom said Brent lost his focus and lost some matches during a red-shirt season at Virginia Tech,

    "There was nothing (Brent) could do about it," Tom said of Chase's path.

    Brent uses that love for his brother, those high standards Chase set for him, as motivation as he attempts to be called the best wrestler of all time. That's Brent's goal ? best in the country, best in the world.

    Brent, 22, takes a 33-0 record into this weekend's NCAA Championships and has won 65 matches in a row, including the national 149-pound title a year ago. He has 18 pins this season, including one in the Big Ten Championships final against second-seeded Bubba Jenkins of Penn State.

    "I'm not angry at him now," Brent said of Chase. "I know he's there watching me, watching over me."

    n Contact the writer: (319) 368-8696 or jr.ogden@gazcomm.com
    RIP Jacob Schlottke; KR1963 and rpayton




  2. #2

    Default Re: Never back down

    March 17. 2009 11:13PM
    Motivation everywhere
    By J.R. Ogden
    http://www.gazetteonline.com/apps/pb...703179906/1008
    The Gazette
    jr.ogden@gazettecommunications.com




    (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
    Iowa's Brent Metcalf (facing camera) gets Minnesota's Joe Grygelko in an arm lock during their 149-pound match at Carver-Hawkeye Arena this year. Metcalf takes a 65-match winning streak into this weekend's NCAA Championships.


    IOWA CITY — Brent Metcalf finds motivation around every corner.

    There’s his brother, Chase, who died in a car accident shortly after Brent enrolled at Virginia Tech. There’s his only collegiate loss, by pin at the hands of Darrion Caldwell of North Carolina State. He thinks about a loss right after leaving Davison (Mich.) High School at the senior nationals.

    “There’s all sorts of motivations,” Metcalf said last week. “The motivation to be the best — be the best in the country and in the world.”

    A junior at the University of Iowa, Metcalf takes a 33-0 record and 65-match winning streak into the NCAA Championships Thursday at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis.

    Metcalf is seeded No. 1 at 149 pounds.

    Being the best ever tops Metcalf’s list of goals, but it will be impossible for him to match Cael Sanderson’s four NCAA titles and 159-0 career record. Sanderson won three Dan Hodge trophies as the nation’s best wrestler and was Outstanding Wrestler at the NCAA meet four times.

    But Sanderson never pinned the No. 2 wrestler at his weight. Metcalf, winner of last year’s Hodge award and a front-runner for it again this year, has done that — twice.

    “He’s pretty much starting to blaze uncharted territory,” Iowa Coach Tom Brands said. “Some of the things that Metcalf does are beyond what anybody’s done.”

    Like getting better all the time. An assistant coach for a rival Big Ten team said it’s scary to think what Metcalf will do next season as a senior.

    He improved on last year’s 35-1, 11-pin season by notching 18 pins this year. He has scored a major decision, technical fall or pin in his last 19 matches, including a pin against No. 2 Bubba Jenkins of Penn State in the Big Ten finals.

    Jenkins is seeded No. 2 at the NCAA Championships, which get started Thursday at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis..

    “He’s a true pinner,” Brands said. “But he’s also a whirlwind on his feet and nobody rides him.”

    Metcalf, who had only three years of eligibility after following Brands from Virginia Tech to Iowa, said he made a conscious effort to become more of a pinner this season.

    He always thought pinning was a by-product of takedown after takedown, wearing an opponent down.

    “There has been a conscious effort of just learning holds, turning holds ... becoming more efficient with them,” he said. “The idea is to go out there and make them quit. But not everyone’s going to quit. You’ve got to force them to quit.”

    The attitude of domination comes from Brands and the Hawkeye coaching staff, said his father, Tom Metcalf.

    The attitude of never being satisfied comes from his parents, Brands has said.

    Brands said Metcalf rarely takes a day off and takes advantage of every minute in the wrestling room.

    “Being a tough competitor all the time. That’s what Brent Metcalf is about,” Brands said. “That’s why he is where he is.

    “It’s his approach. He doesn’t get bored in practice. Every shot is real ... it’s just a lot of hard work and repetition.”

    Metcalf, who enjoys hunting and going to movies with his girlfriend when not wrestling. said the “process” of practice is what gets him excited.

    He loves learning new things about the sport and pushing his limits during practice.

    “I enjoy pushing myself to the point where I don’t feel I can go any more and then getting beyond that,” he said.

    That kind of drive allows no letup.

    “What you’re trying to do is put your name in the history books, stamp your name on the world of wrestling,” Metcalf said. “Just don’t ever be satisfied. It just can’t be enough.”

    His father said Brent’s run is just starting.

    “I don’t see any stopping him at this point,” he said.

    n Contact the writer: (319) 368-8696 or jr.ogden@gazcomm.com
    RIP Jacob Schlottke; KR1963 and rpayton




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