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King of Discipline — Iowa’s Matt McDonough

(Preview of article in WIN’s Nov. 8th Printed Edition: By Mike Finn)

Matt McDonough (center) got plenty of motivation from Iowa coaches Tom (right) and Terry Brands during last April’s Olympic Trials in Iowa City.

Iowa wrestling is a program built on tradition. But Matt McDonough will be in rare air if the Hawkeye senior wins a third NCAA championship … and competes in a fourth straight national final.

But if McDonough can indeed accomplish that feat next March in Des Moines, Iowa, the native of Marion, Iowa, will have accomplished something none of the other three four-time finalists — Ed Banach, Duane Goldman and Lincoln McIlravy — did.

For while that trio were considered middle to heavier weights, McDonough has successfully wrestled at the lightest weight class of 125 pounds.

That’s quite remarkable considering the Hawkeye stands 5-foot-7-and-1/2 inches … and competed at 130 pounds when he won his third Iowa state championship for Linn-Mar High School.

But ask McDonough what has been a bigger accomplishment and the Hawkeye has a simple answer:

“The weight you wrestle at is not important. It’s the way you wrestle,” said McDonough, whose career record is 100-4, including his second NCAA title last March when he defeated Penn State’s Nico Megaludis, 3-1, in St. Louis. (McDonough, 14-1 in three NCAAs, also defeated former Iowa State wrestler Andrew Long in the 2010 finals, but lost to Arizona State’s Anthony Robles in the 2011 championship match.)

“Wrestling in the finals three straight years and winning two is something I consider my success.”

McDonough and his head coach Tom Brands say managing weight effectively is just one example of a disciplined lifestyle which has helped him reach the NCAA finals the past three years.

“He is extremely disciplined in his lifestyle and extremely disciplined in his discipline,” said Brands, who is also on Iowa’s all-time list of three-time NCAA champions.

“McDonough knows he’s going to hurt the first time he makes weight so he’s going to go make weight ahead of time. Nobody else thinks that way. They are going to do it only when they have to do it. Human nature makes people put it off and procrastinate.

“McDonough is a detailed guy and does not procrastinate on the things that are important when it comes to affecting his performance.”

McDonough believes he had several things on his side when he decided to cut down to 125 his redshirt freshman year (2009-10) after competing unattached at 133 pounds as a true freshman.

One was his desire.

 

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