Saturday, July 28, 2007

Moore, Carew tops in nation

By Andy Hamilton
Iowa City Press-Citizen

Reality set in for Nate Moore sometime during the early hours Friday morning and somewhere during the 540-mile drive home from Fargo, N.D.

The West High wrestler left the Junior Nationals with another wrestling trophy. He arrived home as a national champion.

"I didn't really realize after I won it last night that I was a national champ," Moore said Friday. "It's kind of sinking in today that I pretty much beat the best guys there is in the country at my weight. It's kind of weird to think about."

Truth be told, though, Moore went into the tournament intending to come home with the championship. The Iowa recruit, who will be a senior at West in the fall, had been ranked No. 1 in the country at 125 pounds by Amateur Wrestling News since midway through his junior season, and he posted recent victories against two wrestlers ranked ahead of him throughout the year in the W.I.N. rankings.

"I was pretty pumped up," Moore said. "Most of the guys who were ranked ahead of me, I wrestled them two weeks earlier at National Duals and I beat them, so I knew going into the national tournament that I had to do what I did before and I'd come out on top."

Moore had been ranked behind Dan White of Hightstown, N.J. and Boris Novachkov of Sunnyvale, Calif., by W.I.N., but defeated both earlier this month at the National Duals. He defeated White again 4-2, 1-1 in Fargo and then captured the freestyle national title Thursday night with a 1-0, 1-0 victory against Boris Novachkov of Sunnyvale, Calif., in the 125-pound final.

For Moore, it marked the completion of a three-year quest to leave Fargo with a freestyle title. For West, it marked the second individual national champion of the week after junior-to-be Dylan Carew won the 125-pound Cadet Greco-Roman title and was named the tournament's outstanding wrestler.

Moore reached the finals in the Cadet freestyle division in each of his previous two trips to Fargo but left with runner-up finishes and questions about his ability to win the big match.

"I think over the past year I've matured to where I'm starting to be able to wrestle in some of those big matches and I'm able to calm my nerves a lot better," he said. "I don't get as worried and worked up and nervous. I just go out and wrestle and do what I'm supposed to do."

Carew bumped up to 130 for Cadet freestyle and came one period from sweeping both styles before Dylan Alton from Lock Haven, Pa., rallied for a 1-8, 1-0, 2-1 win the championship match.

"I didn't lose a period all the way up until the finals of freestyle, so I was wrestling basically flawlessly until then," Carew said. "It went really well for the week, but I had a slip-up there at the end, so there's room for improvement.

"I'm proud of what I accomplished, but it would've been nice to cap off the week with another national title. ... I was a little bit disappointed about (the fact that) I outscored (Alton) but lost the match."

Iowa recruit Brodie Ambrose placed second in Junior freestyle at 189. West sophomore-to-be Nick Moore (third in Cadet freestyle and Greco-Roman at 135) and senior-to-be Grant Gambrall (third in Junior Greco, fifth in freestyle at 171) also earned All-America honors.

"I thought overall, everybody did really well," Carew said. "Anybody who goes up there and wins matches is doing something right because that's the toughest tournament there is."