Matt McDonough, a redshirt freshman from the University of Iowa, won the 125-pound title at the 2010 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships at Qwest Center in Omaha Saturday night.
The first-year Hawkeye defeated fellow freshman Andrew Long from cross-state rival Iowa State, 3-1, in the 125 finals. It was the first time since 1980 that two freshmen had wrestled each other for an NCAA title.
In addition to wrestling from Iowa-based colleges, both McDonough and Long are Iowa natives. McDonough wrestled at Linn-Mar High School in Marion; Long is from Creston.
McDonough, the second seed, brought a 36-1 record to the finals, while Long, seeded fifth, had 27 wins and 5 losses up to Saturday night. The two had faced off against each other three times this season, with McDonough winning all three matches.
How McDonough got to the finals: 1st Rd: Tech fall unseeded Jason Lara (Oregon State), 15-0, 6:31… 2d Rd: dec. unseeded Anthony Zanetta (Pitt), 10-6… Qtrfinals: maj. dec. unseeded Jarrod Garrett (Virginia Tech), 9-0… Semifinals: maj. dec. unseeded Cashe Quiroga (Purdue), 14-3.
How Long got to the finals: 1st Rd: dec. unseeded Ryan Mango (Stanford), 8-2… 2d Rd: dec. No. 12 Ben Kjar (Utah Valley), 4-0… Qtrfinals: dec. No. 4 Anthony Robles (Arizona State), 5-3… Semifinals: dec. No. 1 Angel Escobedo (Indiana), 7-4.
- First period: No scoring.
- Second period: Long chose the down position, and scored an escape. (Score: 1-0 Long.)
- Second period: McDonough got a takedown at 1:05. (Score: 2-1 McDonough).
- Third period: McDonough chose down; Long cut McDonough free. (Score: 3-1 McDonough).
- Third period: McDonough warned for stalling.
Matt McDonough held onto the lead, winning the match 3-1… and the 125 lb. crown, becoming Iowa’s first freshman NCAA champ since Lincoln McIlravy in 1993.
- On his path to the title: “You go out there dreaming of it when you’re little, getting on the mat. And as you grow, it becomes more of a reality and a goal. Now that I’ve achieved it, it’s sort of unbelievable for the time being. I’m sure it will set in. You can’t let it affect you and make you think you’re better than you are. You have to keep stepping it up a level.”
- After winning the NCAA title: “For starters, it’s not done. I’ve got three more years. You can’t end on one championship, or one match. It’s what I’ve worked for all season. It’s a relieving thing, but I’m already looking ahead and ready to keep training and bettering myself. It was a great week.”
- On what it was like to wrestle familiar foe Long in an unfamiliar setting: “When you’re on that big stage, you don’t want to go do something you’ll regret later, make a mistake. Maybe things become a little more tight in those high-level matches, when you’re competing for a championship. A guy like (Long), he’s going to come out and battle for seven minutes, he’s going to fight and he’s not going to stop. The only way you’re going to win is if you keep moving and you keep fighting and you get him tired.”
McDonough’s other mat accomplishments: 2010 Big Ten Freshman of the Year… Big Ten runner-up at 125…2009 Midlands champ… scored bonus points in 28 of his 37 wins… led the Hawkeyes in major decisions (15), collegiate wins (37), dual wins (23) and dual winning percentage (1.000).
Leading the way for Iowa: McDonough was the first of three Hawkeyes to win titles at the 2010 NCAAs. Teammates Brent Metcalf and Jay Borschel claimed the 149 and 174-pound crowns, respectively. (McDonough and Borschel were also teammates at Linn-Mar High.)
2010 NCAA All-Americans — 125 pounds:
1st: Matt McDonough (Iowa)
2d: Andrew Long (Iowa State)
3d: Angel Escobedo (Indiana)
4th: Troy Nickerson (Cornell)
5th: Zach Sanders (Minnesota)
6th: Cashe Quiroga (Purdue)
7th: Anthony Robles (Arizona State)
8th: Nikko Triggas (Ohio State)
NOTE: In the coming days, College Wrestling Examiner will provide additional information from the 2010 NCAAs, including more detailed analysis of the finals bouts… fun facts about NCAA All-Americans… and more.
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Iowa wrestling: Iowa crowns three champs, wins team title
InterMat: Audio interviews with the individual champs
InterMat: Day Three recap (including finals)
College Wrestling Examiner: March Matness — Your guide to the 2010 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships (including Mat Bracketology series)
TheMat.com Special Coverage Section
TheOpenMat.com: Special Coverage Section
TheMat.com: Video interviews with finalists (after semifinals wins), other video clips
2010 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships: Official website… List of seeds/qualifiers by weight… Brackets
TheMat.com: College postseason tournament schedule and scores
College Wrestling 101: Links to articles answering basic questions about wrestling, including rules, scoring, uniforms, more
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