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McDonough adds to impressive résumé

BY DANNY PAYNE | JUNE 24, 2014 5:00 AM

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I know Iowa wrestling fans do not doubt what Matt McDonough can do at this point, but do other people around the country? I’m asking this rhetorically, of course, but if there is any doubt, it shouldn’t exist.

The former Iowa 125-pounder took on Cornell’s Nahshon Garrett Monday to earn the right to wrestle in the 57-kilogram University World Team spot, defeating his opponent, 16-10, 15-5, in the best-of-three competition.

The victory came after he failed to make the World Team in the same weight class a few weeks ago at the World Team Trials. But true to form, McDonough showed an incredible amount of resiliency to earn the right to represent his country in some form.

We’re talking about a guy that started flat on Monday and was down 8-2 at the beginning of the first period in his first match. Then things changed. A few takedowns and McDonough was tied, 8-8, with Garrett. He then gave up one takedown before racking up 8 points with a takedown and leg lace to win 16-10.

The second match saw the Hawkeye Wrestling Club member grab points in a number of ways en route to a 15-5 thrashing of Garrett.

When there was a hiccup and it seemed as if McDonough couldn’t do it, he made the minds of spectators do a complete 180-degree turn and put away the match in convincing fashion.

It’s at the point where we shouldn’t be surprised when he does something like this. A little shock by the fact that he did start so slowly, but none by the result.

He proved time after time throughout his career in Iowa City that he is a winner. Two national championships and a .931 winning percentage is more than impressive.

As far as his senior year goes, McDonough is on his way to proving that was a fluke. He was hampered by injuries and is a better wrestler than an exit in the Round of 12 would indicate.

If anyone thinks the previous point is unfair to make, tell me how a guy stages such an impressive comeback against an opponent who has finished in the top three of his weight class two years running at the NCAAs.

Let’s take a step back here; what does the victory mean in the grand scheme of things? Well, not a ton, yet.

The honor of making the World Team and competing internationally is nice, but the ultimate goal is obviously to take home a gold medal. It’s just another notch in McDonough’s belt, one that surely will become more decorated as his career progresses.

He hasn’t done anything yet — he’ll be one of the first people to admit that. But if people viewing or following the match on Monday seriously thought McDonough was going to lose that match, they had their world turned upside down just a few minutes later.

Again, he gave us another example of why to never doubt the lightweight, and that lesson applies when he competes later this summer.


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