By Gary Mihoces, USA TODAY – Original here
Saying he had “no malicious intent,” Iowa wrestler Brent Metcalf apologized Thursday for an incident that followed his upset loss to foe from North Carolina State at last weekend’s NCAA Division I wrestling championships.
The top-seeded Metcalf lost 11-6 to third-seeded Darrion Caldwell in the 149-pound final. In the closing seconds, Metcalf chased Caldwell as he circled the mat in celebration. When Caldwell launched a flip just after time expired, Metcalf gave him a brief shove.
Because of the incident, Iowa had a point deducted from its team scoring total, though the Hawkeyes still went on to win the team title.
“I would like to extend an apology to Darrion Caldwell, his family, the NCAA and the wrestling community for my actions in the NCAA title match. I certainly had no malicious intent,” Metcalf said in an Iowa press release.
“With five seconds left in the match, I was attempting to finish to the end, as I’ve always been trained to do. In a split second after the whistle, my momentum carried me into Darrion’s celebratory back flip. My reaction was a result of self defense and partly, frustration. I want to extend my congratulations to Darrion for his championship.”
Iowa athletic director Gary Barta said: “Brent has taken this situation seriously from the beginning. I’m satisfied with the manner and sincerity with which he’s handled it. He is a tremendous student-athlete and has been a terrific role model on the mat, in the classroom and in the community. I look forward to his 2009-10 season and his quest to earn another national championship.”
Last season as a sophomore, Metcalf won the NCAA title and earned the Hodge Trophy as the nation’s top college wrestler. The only blemish on his 35-1 record was an early loss to Caldwell.
This season, Metcalf took a 37-0 record into the final. He also had defeated Caldwell 19-3 in an all-star match earlier this season that did not count on their NCAA records. Metcalf has a career record of 72-2 with both losses against Caldwell.
Caldwell, a junior from Rahway, N.J., won the outstanding wrestler award at the national tournament.