Falck isn't satisfied after NCAA finish
Iowa senior unhappy with getting sixth at national meet.
By MATT LEVINS
The University of Iowa wrestling team satisfied its hunger for a national championship with its first NCAA national title since 2008 when the Hawkeyes dominated the competition at the NCAA Championships at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis in March.
But that did not satisfy Charlie Falck's desire to be the best, his quest to become a national champion himself. Instead, Falck's sixth-place finish at 125 pounds it added fuel to the fire, left him even hungrier to get to the top of the podium.
Falck, who will be a senior at Iowa this fall, knows he has one last chance to get what he knows is rightfully his -- a national championship. And the hunger burns deep inside of him.
"It was exciting winning it as a team, but I didn't get what I wanted," Falck said Tuesday at Clark Fieldhouse, where he was the featured clinician at the Burlington Wrestling Camp.
Falck started his junior season by winning his first 12 matches, including taking first place in the Kaufman-Brand Open.
Falck went on to place third in the prestigious Midlands Championships and fourth in the Big Ten Championships and took a 32-4 record into the NCAA Championships.
Falck won his first three matches at the Scottrade Center, but came up short in consecutive matches against Angel Escobedo of Indiana, Mark McKnight of Penn State and Tanner Gardner of Stanford to finish sixth.
While the Hawkeyes celebrated the team title, Falck was left to ponder what went wrong and where he had to go from there.
"I'm better than that. I was embarrassed," Falck said. "I I beat the top guys except for (Minnesota's Jayson) Ness. Everybody else I beat. I can beat him, too. I just have to go out and do it when it counts. When the lights go on, you've got to be ready to go."
Falck said he took several weeks off after the wrestling season to recharge his batteries. After spending some time hunting, it was time to get back to work. He still has some unfinished business to tend to.
"I took two or three weeks off where I wasn't on the mat at all," said Falck, who was a four-time state champion for national powerhouse Apple Valley High School in Minnesota. "I started lifting again. (Doug) Schwab and Mike (Zadick) are training for the Olympics and a bunch of us have been helping them train. Now that we are starting camps, it's time to go to the next phase."
Falck knows there are still things he needs to work on, areas he needs to improve on if he wants to take that next step up and win a national championship. And the time is growing short.
"I definitely have some things I need to work on. I've just got to do it. I have everything I need and I know what I am capable of doing, I've just got to do it," Falck said. "A lot of people say wrestling is 90 percent mental. A lot of it is thinking you are going to win going into every match. Sure, a lot of it is hard training, but you've got to have the mental toughness to get very far."
Falck said working with young kids keeps him fresh, takes him back to the fundamentals that are vital to building a champion.
"I love working with the little kids especially. They have a short attention span, but it reminds me that I need to work on my patience," Falck said. "I like wrestling because if you work hard at it, anybody can get it. The harder you work, the better you are going to be."