Saturday, March 21, 2009

2009 NCAA Wrestling Results

The big result was that dominating Brent Metcalf was defeated by Darion Caldwell in the finals at 147 pounds. Caldwell had pinned Metcalf back in 2007 in a freak move called a 'spladle', and it is really fun to watch on YouTube. But this was considered a lucky accident. Metcalf went on to win 69 matches in a row, including a national championship in 2008, and a dominating performance in the qualifying tournament. Caldwell was still very good, but no one thought he could beat Metcalf again. In the finals Caldwell was clearly the better athlete, with greater natural quickness and flexibility. He threw a headlock, and actually got a takedown out of it, a move that clearly shows no fear (usually throwing a headlock against a really good wrestler opens one up to a counter, it's a high risk, high reward move). It was a shock, and Caldwell won Outstanding wrestler of the tournament. See match here.

Unfortunately, as much as I would have liked to cheer for Caldwell's greater ability, he was a classic 'poor sport'. He took extended injury time to catch his breath. He ran away at the end of the match and did a back flip. As Caldwell was celebrating, the TV announcer said 'he's got to get off the mat', as the announcer was clearly anxious about the fact that he was potentially going to ruin a great moment. We know you are happy, but winning a competition should not just be about you, because the competitor and his supporters are all there. To celebrate excessively assumes the competitor does not exist.

There was the case of Anthony Robles, a one-legged wrestler from Arizona, which is rather amazing. He was born without a leg, and so clearly has a disadvantage. On the other hand, he gets another 10-15 pounds of weight for his upper body. One would think this is insufficent, yet he placed 3rd in the NCAAs. That's not charity.

Then there was Paul Donahoe, who won the championship in 2007, but was dismissed from Nebraska because he was in some naked pics with another wrestler for some gay magazine (he's not gay himself). It sounds at first like homophobia, but I think the issue was that he was exposing himself while wearing school uniform. I think it's a reasonable request that a school require its athletes not to pose naked with school colors on, because its a PR nightmare. He went to Edinboro, and lost a close match in the finals.


Anonymous said...

Caldwell was counted out before the match even began. Even the sports announcers stated it there was not much of a chance he could win against Metcalf. There comments after the match just comfirms their bias. It is not unusual that a wrestler who wins a title match to display happiness physcally and vocal. He never showed any disrespect during or after the leaving the mat. I supposed you feel the shove that flatten Caldwell after the match ended by Metcalf was justified. Both are and will continue to be great wrestlers.
Lighten up!

Eric Falkenstein said...

I don't know enough about Caldwell to infer what kind of person he really is. Clearly, a sympathetic view is that he was overjoyed and was going to win anyway. He's just a kid, so I should probably give him the benefit of the doubt.

Jon Gaffney said...

I thought the whole ending to the match between Caldwell and Metcalf was unfortunate. Caldwell did indeed take a very suspicious "injury" TO and has been known to do this in the past, which I have zero respect for. Inspite of that he was definitely the superior wrestler on the day. I would not have had a problem with the back flip if he had waited till it was appropriate to do so, i.e. after time was out and he'd shaken Metcalf's hand. It's not at all uncommon for wrestlers to celebrate with a backflip, but running away with time on the clock to do it shows blatant disrespect for your competitor and the sport. If I was Metcalf I would've flattened him too, time was on the clock it was completely justified. They should've both been hit for team points as they both were clearly in the wrong.