Editor’s Note: Twenty-eight-year-old Brent Metcalf from Iowa City, Iowa, is ranked number one in the nation in freestyle wrestling, the type that takes place in the Olympic Games and in the World Games. Metcalf is eyeing a third national title with hopes of competing on the USA Olympic Team in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Metcalf, who’s passionate about wrestling, hunting and the outdoors, is a member of the Mossy Oak Pro Staff and has been wrestling during and since elementary school. According to Metcalf, “I want to try and harvest as many different species of animals as I can with my bow and arrow. Specifically I dream of one day having the opportunity to harvest a moose and a grizzly bear with a bow and arrow. I am so passionate about archery because that’s mostly all I know. My father introduced me to archery a long time before I ever sat in a tree stand – at age 8. I would spend my summer and fall shooting targets in my backyard. I would set up different challenge shots such as through trees, to make the sport more fun. So, naturally when I had the first opportunity to hunt at age 16, I started with my bow and arrow. I have challenged myself since to try and continue to use archery equipment on almost all species I hunt.”
Growing up I was really fortunate to be blessed with some great coaches. When I was in elementary school, the wrestling club I joined was one of the best wrestling clubs in the state. Roy Hall was my high school coach. The style he taught us to wrestle was known as the Iowa style, developed by Tom and Terry Brands, both World and Olympic champions. So in high school, part of my training was watching videos of the two Brands’ brothers wrestling. They became my heroes and my idols.
When the time arrived to go to college, Michigan was probably my first choice. My brother went there, and it was close to my home. It would’ve been a natural fit for me, but I was recruited by Tom Brands. At that time, he was coaching at Virginia Tech. Having the opportunity to be coached by the man I had idolized was an opportunity I just couldn’t pass up. I decided to go to Virginia Tech and be coached by one of the greatest wrestlers in the world. Initially, he was at the University of Iowa, but he left the University of Iowa to begin a program at Virginia Tech. After a year at Virginia Tech, Brands got the head coaching job at the University of Iowa. He left Virginia Tech to go to the University of Iowa, and I left with him.
I had signed a college scholarship with Virginia Tech. When you sign a scholarship with a college or a university, that school has a right to release you or not release you from your scholarship. If the college doesn’t release you, you lose a year’s worth of eligibility. Virginia Tech was upset that I went with Coach Brands to the University of Iowa, and the college didn’t offer me a release. So, I only had 3 years of eligibility in college, instead of 4 years.
I couldn’t compete in college varsity sports for a year, but I was still able to train at the University of Iowa with Tom Brands, and I traveled internationally with Tom’s brother Terry. I could compete in open tournaments but no college tournaments. I was 15/0 in my first year of wrestling in open tournaments. Then, my college wrestling career began in the 2007/2008 wrestling season. At the University of Iowa, I was a National Champion for 2 years. The third year I was runner-up to the National Champion. The first year when I was ineligible, the University of Iowa brought gold medal champion Dan Gable back to the University of Iowa to help coach. He was a legend at the University of Iowa and a man I greatly respected. When Gable left, Tom Brands took over the wrestling program at the University of Iowa and has been my wrestling coach since 2005.
To keep up with Brent Metcalf and his quest for a World Championship and an Olympic gold medal, follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bhmetcalf and on Instagram at www.instagram.com/bhmetcalf, where he shares his hunting adventures and wrestling exploits.