Please stop doing interviews and talking about Metcalf. You sound like a kid who got his lollipop taken away from him.

First Metcalf is scared and now he is not athletic. Give me a break Bubba.

Sunday, Mar. 23, 2008
Jenkins falls in finals at 149
By Guy Cipriano
ST. LOUIS — Penn State sent the ideal personality to the mat to undertake perhaps the most challenging task in college wrestling this season.

Sophomore Bubba Jenkins went to Beijing last summer with almost no international experience and won a world junior freestyle title.

So the thinking went like this: Jenkins at least stood a chance against sophomore Brent Metcalf, one of the best conditioned and most talented wrestlers Iowa has sent to the NCAA Championships this decade.

As expected, Jenkins embraced the lights, cameras, live television audience and crowd of 16,154 fans.

Yet he couldn’t find a way to break Metcalf.

Jenkins squandered a 4-1 lead and fell to Metcalf 14-8 in Saturday’s 149-pound final at Scottrade Center.

The loss was Jenkins’ third to Metcalf this season.

Metcalf pinned Jenkins in the third period during a dual meet in Iowa City and majored him 15- 3 at this month’s Big Ten Championships. Jenkins finished his sophomore season 26-6, with all six of his losses coming against Big Ten wrestlers.

“I don’t take anything from it,” Jenkins said. “I’m an NCAA finalist and All-American which is good. I closed the gap. The first time he pinned me, the second time he majored me and this time he beat me by a little bit. I’m done with moral victories. I want to win and I think this is going to make me work harder.”

For the second time this season, Jenkins opened a lead on Metcalf by recording two first-period takedowns. Jenkins also led Metcalf 6-1 during the dual meet in January.

This time, Metcalf (39-1) methodically trimmed the lead. Metcalf took Jenkins down 21 seconds into the second period to claim a 5-4 advantage. Jenkins escaped to tie the bout.

The decisive move came later in the period when Metcalf grabbed Jenkins’ knee. Jenkins locked his hands around Met-calf’s left knee. After spending 10 seconds on the mat, Metcalf broke the hold and took Jenkins to his back for a period-ending five-point move.

“That was definitely a big takedown,” Metcalf said. “It was the point where it put the match just out of reach. I knew finishing that was going to be big. It turned him into an all-or-nothing mode.”

Metcalf took Jenkins down two more times during the third period to win his first national title.

“Metcalf is a great competitor and he goes 100 percent all the time,” Penn State coach Troy Sunderland said. “We closed the gap and made a lot of adjustments. Without the five-point move, it’s a 5-5 match going into the third period.”

The loss ended a solid national tournament for Jenkins, a Virginia Beach native who won Beast of the East and senior national titles during his high school career. He entered the event seeded sixth and defeated four wrestlers, including last year’s 141-pound finalist Ryan Lang of Northwestern and two-time All-American J.P. O’Connor of Harvard. Jenkins then hit a late five-point move to defeat North Carolina State’s Darrion Caldwell 12-8 during Friday night’s semifinals. Caldwell was the only wrestler to defeat Metcalf this season.

Less than 10 minutes after his finals loss, Jenkins, who competed at 157 last year, said he wants to redshirt next season.

“Even in a redshirt year, I want to go undefeated and come back as a junior and win this thing,” Jenkins said. “I’m tired of people putting me as the underdog. I’m tired of being the background guy.”

It took a spectacular wrestler to prevent Jenkins from achieving his goal this season.

Metcalf waited two long years to participate in the national tournament.

He committed to Virginia Tech after finishing— this one requires a second look — 228-0 during his career at Davison High School in Michigan. His coach at Virginia Tech, and his coach now, Tom Brands, elected to redshirt Metcalf in 2005-06.

“He just keeps going,” Jenkins said. “He’s not athletic. He’s not superior in moves than anybody else. It’s not who wants it more. I can tell you I wanted it a lot more than probably he did or Iowa fans think he did.

“I wanted it so bad. The game-plan was to just keep battling until I felt him break and hold out. He just keeps pushing through. I guess that’s what makes it tough. He has the confidence.”