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Saturday, March 2
The Indiana Daily Student

sports wrestling

Two Hoosiers reach All-American status


There are not a lot of similarities between the speedy offense-based wrestling of Matt Powless and the read-and-react style that Ricky Alcala employs.

But Saturday evening in Philadelphia, both wrestlers shared something in common upon clinching All-American status: hugs.

“I was so relieved,” Powless said. “When I got it, it was like a huge weight off my shoulders. I gave Coach (Duane) Goldman and Coach (Pat) DeGain huge hugs. I just felt so relieved.”

Likewise, after defeating ninth-seeded Cameron Wade of eventual national champion Penn State, Alcala leapt into the arms of his coaches.

Alcala, a graduate student in his first and only year wrestling for IU after transferring from California-Davis, would go on to place fifth at heavyweight while Powless took eighth at 197 pounds. Seniors Kurt Kinser and Paul Young wrestled but did not place at 149 and 157 pounds, respectively. As a team, the Hoosiers finished 25th with 23.5 points.

Alcala’s match in the round of 12 was the second meeting of the year between him and Wade. Alcala dropped the first bout 6-0, but as he has done several times this season, Alcala emerged victorious in a rematch, winning 4-2 in sudden victory. Alcala also defeated Boise State’s J.T. Felix after losing to him earlier in the year, again winning in overtime.

He said he credits DeGain for helping him bounce back from the earlier defeats.

“I avenged two losses this year,” Alcala said. “I watched so much film throughout the year. After I lost, I would go back and see what my mistakes were and work on them. It paid off.”

Those wins were far from his only overtime matches of the tournament. In total, Alcala wrestled eight matches from Thursday through Saturday with each going at least the full seven minutes and six going to overtime. He was on the mat for more than 64 minutes altogether.

“I think the difference, the reason why I won most of them, was that I just wanted to win,” Alcala said. “I knew in overtime I was going to get the takedown.”

On his march to fifth place, Alcala, who was unseeded entering the tournament after a disappointing Big Ten tournament, defeated two seeded opponents, Wade and No. 4 Dominick Russo of Rutgers. He also narrowly lost to No. 2 Jarod Trice of Central Michigan twice by scores of 3-2 in overtime, his only defeats of the tournament.

“I felt like I could beat them,” Alcala said. “That they were seeded didn’t really mean anything to me. I just took it one match at a time.”

While Alcala’s career is over, Powless has another year to build on his All-American finish. Four wrestlers that finished ahead of him will graduate, which could favor Powless’ chances to improve his spot on the podium.

“My goal was to be All-American, and I did that so I can be pleased with myself,” Powless said. “The goal next year is obviously to do a lot better than this year, climb that podium and try to be national champ.”

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