Grappler sparks the Hawkeyes

BY J.T. BUGOS | DECEMBER 17, 2009 7:30 AM

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Iowa wrestler Matt McDonough was faced with the task of taking over the 125-pound spot after former 125-pounder Charlie Falck graduated following last season.

As a redshirt freshman, McDonough has more than filled the void.

Falck, a two-time All-American, finished his Iowa career with a 94-34 collegiate record, 60-12 in dual meets. He was also a three-time Big Ten placewinner and finished as high as sixth at the NCAA championships.

McDonough sports a 9-0 record, with four pins and three technical falls.

And now the Marion native says he would like to better Falck’s highest NCAA finish and win a national championship.

“To be the best and be an Iowa wrestler, you have to have that kind of thought process. You want to get the top spot,” McDonough said. “I’m not going to be satisfied with just being an All-American, or having a winning season, or being a starter in the lineup. Your goal every time is to get that national championship, and that’s why I came to Iowa.”

After the Iowa State dual on Dec. 6, which McDonough opened with a 13-7 win over then-No. 12 Andrew Long, Iowa head coach Tom Brands said the youngster was a sparkplug for the Hawkeyes.

McDonough’s response to Brands’ comment was duly modest.

“It’s a good thing to know that the coach is impressed with you and sees that you’re doing things right,” the wrestler said. “But on the same note, I can’t let it get me overly confident. I still have to stay on my game plan and keep working hard to get what I want.”

Brands continued to heap praise on McDonough after Iowa’s dual with the Cyclones when he said the 125-pounder is “a competitive individual who represents the program well.” Brands also noted McDonough’s ambitions to define his career with championships, which would put his name in the Iowa wrestling history books.

Even with compliments flowing from a coach who is rarely satisfied, McDonough’s response doesn’t deviate.

“It feels good to know the coach sees you’re working hard to do things the right way and to emulate that Iowa style of wrestling that I’ve wanted to my whole life,” he said. “I can’t rest on that, because I’m not satisfied with where I’m at yet. It’s not March, and I haven’t beaten some of those other big names. I have to get myself ready to compete against some of the other top guys in the country.”

Brands said McDonough’s wrestling style lends itself to getting the team off to good starts. The redshirt freshman said his approach is to wrestle for the full seven minutes, not letting his opponent relax — or even take a breath.

His performance during the Hawkeyes’ dual against Northern Iowa illustrated what he can provide the sports’ No. 1 team.

McDonough pinned his opponent in 4:38, starting a streak of four-straight pins to begin the match and setting the tone for an easy 48-3 Iowa victory. While he rose to No. 9 in the rankings, he said he won’t be satisfied until he’s sitting eight spots higher on March 20.

McDonough knows managing victories rests squarely on his 125-pound frame.

“When you work as hard as you do in the wrestling room and train the way you do in the off-season, you have to expect to win and go out there with that mentality,” he said. “It’s always something you can’t just know is going to happen. You have to make it happen. Now that it’s working for me, it’s a good feeling. But I have to keep it going throughout the year.”

> Share your thoughts! Click here to write a Letter to the Editor.

comments powered by Disqus
Daily Iowan Advertising
Today's Display Ads | Today's Classifieds | Advertising Info

Follow the DI through:


Sponsored Links  
T-Shirt Design  
Insurance Leads Charlotte Web Design
Health Insurance Leads Home Equity Loans
Life Insurance  
Custom Magnets DMI Furniture
Solar Products Custom USB
Snow Removal & Odd Jobs Buy a text ad


Privacy Policy (8/15/07) | Terms of Use (4/28/08) | Content Submission Agreement (8/23/07) | Copyright Compliance Policy (8/25/07) | RSS Terms of Use

Copyright © The Daily Iowan, All Rights Reserved.