Matt McDonough believes Thomas Gilman is prepared to take on his next challenge.
Training this summer with the three-time Iowa all-American as he prepares to represent the United States in the World Championships in Paris later this month, McDonough said Monday that Gilman is on top of his game.
“He’s right where he needs to be. He’s one of the strongest guys I’ve ever wrestled and he’s got it going right now,’’ McDonough said before playing in the annual Hawkeye Wrestling Golf Outing at Glynn’s Creek Golf Course.
McDonough has been on the run lately.
He trained with Gilman last week at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, returned to Iowa to host more than 300 youths at weekend camp in his new role as the director of the Eastern Iowa Wrestling Club and Saturday, he leaves for Germany with Gilman to continue training.
The work there will lead up to the start of the World Championships on Aug. 21 in Paris.
“Gilman is one of the more focused guys I’ve been around. You could see that at Iowa and that’s the case now,’’ McDonough said. “He knows what his business is, what he needs to do, and over the next couple of weeks he’ll put himself in a good position to go there and compete.’’
A third-place finisher at the NCAA Championships in March at 125 pounds, Gilman defeated former Hawkeye Tony Ramos in a best-of-three championship series at 57 kilograms at the U.S. World Team Trials in Lincoln, Nebraska, in June.
McDonough has watched Gilman grow as a competitor in the weeks and months since.
“He’s always been a very serious wrestler, but he’s really embraced this challenge,’’ McDonough said. “A lot of people didn’t expect him to be in this situation right now, but he’s earned it and he’s preparing to go to Paris and compete. He didn’t get what he wanted at the NCAA meet, but this is another opportunity for him and he seems determined to make the most of it.’’
Over the next few weeks, McDonough will continue to work with Gilman to prepare his body for competition against the world’s best at his weight class.
It’s the first step onto that level of a stage for the Council Bluffs, Iowa native.
“He’s ready for it. I see it in the way he works every day,’’ McDonough said. “We’re going to a military base in Germany to finish our training. From there, we will go to Paris ready to wrestle.’’