Also appearing was head wrestling coach Tom Brands, fresh off of winning a national championship in his second year, which according to Brands is old news.
“You’ve got to go back in time two months to get those thoughts back up,” Brands said. “They’re pretty good feelings just because we had a lot of guys coming around and getting a least close to where they wanted to be and two were actually where they wanted to be, (Mark) Perry and (Brent) Metcalf.”
“We’re two months down the road now and we’re on to the next step. Brent Metcalf is on to the Olympic trials right now and he’s fifth on the ladder and he’ll be wrestling for a spot at Beijing. The wrestling keeps going.”
Brands feels the program has come a long way from where he inherited it two years ago, when he was hired from Virginia Tech.
“I remember having a long way to go to where it was a lifestyle for the guys,” Bran. “It’s a lifestyle now for a lot of the guys and we added some in the latest recruiting class. The biggest thing is that these guys continue to live that lifestyle.”
Brands was pleased to prove the experts wrong who felt the Hawkeyes were not yet ready to claim their 32nd Big Ten crown and 21st national championship. There was also some question on whether Metcalf, a sophomore, would live up to expectations after transferring in from Virginia Tech when Brands was hired.
“A lot of people doubted that, but we knew what Metcalf had under the hood. And he proved it and he proved a lot of people wrong. I think he was ranked seventh or ninth coming into the season, but they didn’t know what we had. We knew what we had. He’s a great leader and a great competitor, but more importantly his lifestyle is geared toward domination on the mat. That means it is very important to him, but he doesn’t let other areas of his life slip.” Brands said of his star pupil, who compiled a 39-1 record on his way to winning the national championship at the 149-pound weight class.