In a weekend chock-full of conference championships, the NAIA Wrestling National Championships, and the 2010 NCAA Division III Championships, one match stands out among the hundreds wrestled: Ohio State’s Lance Palmer defeating Iowa’s Brent Metcalf in the 149 pound finals at the 2010 Big Ten Conference Championships Sunday in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
It’s the talk of amateur wrestling forums and blogs, and the subject of articles in mainstream media publications.
Why the interest? Because Metcalf is one of the most dominant wrestlers of this era at any weight class at the most dominant wrestling program of this era. He’s been undefeated all season, and ranked No. 1 at 149 pounds. He’s lost only three matches in his college career. Nearly a year ago, Metcalf was upset by North Carolina State’s Darrion Caldwell in the 149 finals at the 2009 NCAA Division I championships. (The match itself was exciting on its own, but the Hawkeye’s end-of-match shove — or attempted takedown, according to Metcalf — made it all the more buzzworthy.)
What makes Palmer’s 9-3 defeat of Metcalf even more interesting: The two had wrestled each other four times previously in their college careers… with the Hawkeye coming out on top of the Buckeye every time. Their most recent mat meeting was less than a month ago, where Metcalf defeated Palmer, 3-1.
Among the more interesting articles about Palmer vs Metcalf available online:
Black Hearts Gold Pants: In a March 7 installment titled “Iowa Wrestling Wins 34th Conference Championship; Iowa Team, Fans Miserable Anyway,” this Iowa Hawkeye blog provides readers who may not be fans of the No. 1 team in the nation some perspective on the 2010 Big Tens. Here’s an excerpt:
But perhaps nothing was a greater contributing factor to the malaise that infected the Iowa fans during the finals than the loss of Brent Metcalf to Lance Palmer, that overgrown Oompa Loompa from Ohio State. Aside from Tom Brands himself, no other figure has been more symbolic of Iowa wrestling over the last three years than Metcalf, a slightly undersized kid from Michigan with an unstoppable motor and an unrelenting drive to succeed and dominate. Metcalf has never been one to be happy to with a simple 3-1 decision victory — he wants to push the action and get points, points, and more points.
The Daily Iowan: In a commentary for the official student newspaper at the University of Iowa, Ryan Young wrote about the woes of the Hawkeyes at the Big Tens… making his way to the native of Davison, Michigan:
Brent Metcalf, however, couldn’t be found moments before the 149-pound award ceremony. The two-time conference title winner had to be called out onto the arena floor in the wake of his third-career defeat — a 9-3 finals loss to Ohio State’s Lance Palmer that ended an undefeated run.
And alongside Palmer, he stoically basked in his own exasperation as Buckeye fans hooted and hollered for their champion as the Ohio State fight song reverberated in the background.
Columbus Dispatch: Hundreds of miles away from Iowa, the newspaper that covers central Ohio and Buckeye sports, offered its perspective on the Big Tens with this respectful opening penned by the Dispatch’s Jeremy McLaughlin:
Ohio State senior Lance Palmer had lost four matches to Iowa’s Brent Metcalf during his career. Each loss was close, but Palmer could never beat Metcalf, arguably the best collegiate wrestler today.
Yesterday, he finally did at the Big Ten championships in Ann Arbor, Mich. Palmer, ranked No.2 nationally, rallied from a 3-1 deficit at the start of the third period and scored a takedown and near fall in the final 25 seconds to beat No.1 Metcalf 9-3 in the 149-pound final.
ElevenWarriors.com: A blog that normally focuses on Ohio State football took some time away from the gridiron to acknowledge the Buckeye matman’s big win:
… Lance Palmer had the match of the tournament, defeating Brent Metcalf in the finals for his first win against Metcalf in five tries. I’m trying to think of an analogy for non-wrestling fans for how big of an upset this was. Think Texas over USC in the Rose Bowl, or better yet, the United States over Canada in Vancouver. Both sides were talented and well-regarded, but it’s a big upset, nonetheless.
Congratulations, Lance, slayer of beasts.
Now, a quote from Palmer that puts it all in perspective:
“It feels good not just to beat him, but to be a Big Ten champ,” Palmer said. “Brent is obviously a great wrestler, one of the top in the country. That’s why we train so hard every day – to wrestle and win.”
Black Heart Gold Pants: Iowa Wrestling Wins 34th Conference Championship; Iowa Team, Fans Miserable Anyway
Daily Iowan: Commentary: Wrestling three-peat bittersweet and incomplete
Columbus Dispatch: OSU’s Palmer posts big win
ElevenWarriors.com: The bracket revealed and upsetting a legend
TheMat.com video interview: Lance Palmer after winning 2010 Big Ten title
NCAA wrestling online survey
TheMat.com: College postseason tournament schedule and scores
College Wrestling 101: Links to articles answering basic questions about wrestling, including rules, scoring, uniforms, more
Follow College Wrestling Examiner Mark Palmer on Twitter