Metcalf Still The Hunter

HN Wrestling Editor, Brian Finley, sat down with Brent Metcalf prior to media day for this one-on-one interview that appears in the November issue of Hawkeye Nation Magazine.

Q: Right after you won the championship, you were focused on next year, Olympic Trials, etc. Have you taken a minute to step back, think about the accomplishment?
Brent Metcalf: The attitude I have is always, "eyes forward, looking for improvement." I have taken some time to enjoy it, I guess. I took some time this summer, I guess I enjoyed it. Really, it's starting to get back into the time of year where that's already behind me. It was behind me during that interview time, and it's even more behind me now. What's important now is to improve, get better.
Q: Was there one moment or one match that stood out from the championship run that both you and your team made? Anything that sticks out in your mind?
Metcalf: Not one thing individually. The whole experience itself was pretty awesome. I'm proud of the guys on our team, guys like Joey Slaton, Jay Borschel, Mark Perry, obviously. Guys who really stepped it up. They didn't get what they wanted, but they did a pretty good job. I think that speaks well for them. It's going to carry over to this year. The whole experience, winning a national championship, it was pretty cool. It just opened my eyes to the potential of this team. A lot of guys on our team didn't get what they wanted, there are only two of us who did. Realistically, we had a few guys really underperform from what they expected. There's a lot of great potential, that's exciting in and of itself. We have work to do, we cannot settle. It's time to get going again.
Q: Where do you keep your championship trophy and your bracket?
Metcalf: I have no idea where they are. I handed them off. My high school coach may have the bracket, my family may have the trophy. I don't know if it was on purpose. It's definitely something you want to keep and hold onto, but at the same time, the trophy I want to look at is the fifth place finish at US Nationals and the DNP at the Olympic Trials. That's the sort of stuff I need reminders of every day. I believe in myself, I know I'm a national champion at my weight class. I believe in myself enough that I don't think I need those reminders there. That's just me.
Q: Talk about the experience of the Olympic Trials, getting back on that national stage.
Metcalf: It was a good learning experience. Definitely there was a change between the year before, when I could not compete in those tournaments and this year. I guess you could say I improved, but not really. I didn't win. I think there's a lot of learning that took place motivation-wise, training-wise, getting prepared for those tournaments, preparing to win those tournaments. Not going to those tournaments, doing my best, and performing, but going to the tournaments to win.
Q: Frayer, who beat you several times at the trials, is in the wrestling room with you now. What's that going to be like to have a freestyle-type guy in the room?
Metcalf: It's all good. Having him in the room is great. Since day one, he's always been a guy that I really liked. I spent time at the training center, he was the guy who would grab me and say, "Here's what you need to do." Even though we were competitors, I really appreciated that, because I was younger. It's definitely great having him in there. It adds more depth to our room, it's all positive.
Q: How has the summer gone in terms of workouts, has it been pretty constant all summer?
Metcalf: We had maybe a short break time, not really a whole lot, then we went all the way through the Olympic Trials. After those were over, we had maybe a week off before we did camps. We've got guys in the room, we've got a full room, we have what we need for guys to get better. Practice hasn't officially started, but there are guys in there on their own doing their job, that's all positive. There's definitely a sense of awareness that we still have work to do. I don't feel like there are a lot of guys resting on that championship, that's a positive.
Q: Do you still feel like the hunter as opposed to the one with the target on your back?
Metcalf: I know I feel like the hunter. I always try to keep that mentality. At the same time, you have to be aware there's a target on your back. Really, you have to love that there's a target on your back. Those things motivate you and drive you. You're at the University of Iowa. That's something that goes along with it. I think we're aware of that, we use it as motivation. We know we've got to step up to the challenge, be ready to go every time you step out on the mat.
Q: There are a lot of guys in and out of the room, the titles may not matter as much, but how do you guys deal with not knowing officially who the coaches might be in the room this year?
Metcalf: I don't think it makes a difference. Coach Brands is going to make the right decision. He's going to put the best man in there. Really, we don't worry about it, it doesn't matter. At this time of year, it's an on your own sort of thing. You're doing what you need to do to prepare for the season to start. I don't think there's any worry, I don't think there's any animosity or anything like that about not having a coach in that position. We've got all sorts of help and all sorts of coaches. Who we get will be an addition.
Q: As one of the leaders on the team, I'm sure there was some disappointment with Colby Covington's legal issue. How did you address that to him?
Metcalf: Colby's living with myself and a couple other guys right now, because we need him to win a national championship, but we also need him to win a national championship, if you understand those two there. He knows what's right, he knows what's wrong. I think he may be beyond that. I think it's important to make it clear that we're not here to have a good time. We're not here to go out and do those sorts of things. That might have been the mentality where you came from, that might be your interpretation of this program's history, but that's not the sort of program it is right now, I think he's onboard. I know he's doing the right things now.
Q: What are your personal and team goals this year?
Metcalf: Obviously, winning a national title. Myself and the team. Really, personally, I've got to do a better job completely. I lost last year. There are areas I need to work on there, there are areas I need to improve on. Probably from the top position, that's the first thing that comes to my mind. That's a position where you can really put a guy down. Really wear on a guy. The best position in wrestling is pinning a guy. That's a position I know I need to do a better job in. That's the same motivation, the same goals.


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