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Metcalf earns finals berth for record-breaking home crowd; Cejudo retires after exciting match with Simmons
By Mike Finn
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa fans, who have made up much of the record-setting crowds in the 2012 Olympic Trials, will have one of their own to cheer in Sunday evening’s Challenge Series in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
That’s because Brent Metcalf, the former two-time NCAA champion from Iowa, will be among the wrestlers who will trying to win the final one of the final nine weight classes in the Trials.
Metcalf, a native of Davison, Mich., earned a trip to the finals — where he will meet former Oklahoma star Jared Frayer at 145.5 pounds — when he defeated another notable Michigan native Josh Churella, 1-0, 0-3, 1-0.
The deciding point came after the two scrambled off the mat and the mat official ruled in favor of Churella before giving Metcalf the point.
“I feel comfortable there,” said Metcalf, who recorded wins over current Oklahoma State star Jordan Oliver and Chase Pami before the Churella meeting. “I wanted to get up and drive through the zone. He probably got me a little more than I wanted to, forward wise, but I think the call is right.”
Also moving into the Championship Series was 2011 World team member Nick Simmons, a former four-time NCAA All-American from Michigan State, will meet a former college foe Sam Hazewinkel, who once starred at Oklahoma.
Simmons moved to the Championship Series with perhaps the most exciting match of the Challenge Tournament; beating 2008 Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo, 3-0, 5-9, 5-2, at 121 pounds in freestyle.
“(Henry) Cejudo is a great wrestler, obviously, he is the defending Olympic champ,” said Simmons, who shared a standing ovation after their match that was decided when Simmons caught Cejudo in his front headlock. “To get that is good confidence-wise. I knew that me and him were going to have some flurries like that. We have wrestled before and we have scored a lot of points when we wrestled. We go out there and put points up. He is a great competitor. It was just great to get it.”
After the match, the 25-year-old Cejudo — who had not competed at the weight class since winning his gold medal in Beijing in 2008 — retired from wrestling when he threw his shoes into the stands in Carver-Hawkeye Arena that held a record 13,784 fans.
“I do it for the people,” said Cejudo. “I’m not here to entertain anybody, really. I’m here to wrestle and to do it for the people. I could keep my shoes. I could even sell them on Ebay. But it’s not about that.”
Among the remaining finals in men’s freestyle, Jake Herbert, a 2009 World silver medalist, will face former Iowa State wrestler Travis Paulson at 185 pounds, while former NCAA Division II rivals Tervel Dlagnev (Nebraska-Kearney) and Les Sigman (Nebraska-Omaha) will meet at heavyweight.
There will be three weight classes in Greco-Roman determined tonight:
132 pounds — Joe Betterman (Sunkist Kids) vs. Ellis Coleman (NYAC)
163 pounds — Aaron Sieracki (Army) vs. Ben Provisor (Sunkist Kids
211.5 pounds — RC Johnson of Sunkist Kids vs. Pete Gounaridis (Sunkist Kids)
To reach the finals, Betterman earned a 3-0, 7-0 decision against former World champion Joe Warren, who has been competing in Mixed Martial Arts.
In the women’s freestyle, Alyssa Lampe (Sunkist Kids) will meet 2008 World champion Clarissa Chun at 105 pounds, while Adeline Gray (NYAC) faces 2010 World silver medalist Elena Pirozkova at 138.75 pounds. Both Chun and Pirozhkova sat out the Challenge Tournament after winning the U.S. Open in December.
Lampe reached the Championship Series when she used a headlock in the final seconds of the third period to beat Victoria Anthony (NYAC), 0-3, 1-1, 5-2. Gray, meanwhile, blanked Jennifer Page (OCU/Gator), 1-0, 2-0, after dropping down from her normal non-Olympic weight of 147 pounds.
“It sucks to make (138.75), but they’ll put 67(kg) in it one day,” Gray said. “But until then, this is what you have to do to win and hopefully you’re looking at your first US Olympic Gold medalist.”
Championship Series Matches for Sunday night
55 KG / 121 pounds
Nick Simmons (Sunkist Kids) vs. Sam Hazewinkel (Sunkist Kids)
66 KG / 145.5 pounds
Jared Frayer (Gator Wrestling Club) vs. Brent Metcalf (NYAC)
84 KG / 185 pounds
Travis Paulson of Sunkist Kids vs. Jake Herbert of NYAC
120 KG / 264.5 pounds
Tervel Dlagnev (Sunkist Kids) vs. Les Sigman (Nittany Lion WC)
48 KG / 105 pounds
Alyssa Lampe (Sunkist Kids) vs. Clarissa Chun
63 KG / 138.75 pounds
Adeline Gray (NYAC) vs. Elena Piriozkova
Greco-Roman 60 KG / 132 pounds
Joe Betterman (Sunkist Kids) vs. Ellis Coleman (NYAC)
74 KG / 163 pounds
Aaron Sieracki (Army) vs. Ben Provisor (Sunkist Kids)
96 KG / 211.5 pounds
RC Johnson of Sunkist Kids vs. Pete Gounaridis (Sunkist Kids)