IOWA CITY — Matt McDonough viewed his sport from a different angle in Iowa’s most recent dual.
The defending NCAA wrestling champion watched Iowa’s 29-9 win over Purdue on Sunday from a mat-side chair at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The idea was to give the 125-pound senior a different perspective, allowing him to study how teammates and opponents approached their matches.
“It was what I needed at the time,” McDonough said. “Nothing more, used it in a totally positive way to get ready for upcoming events. I’ve never really had a weekend where I’ve had a chance to do something like that.”
Coach Tom Brands proposed the idea to McDonough after a dual against Ohio State on Friday night.
McDonough won for the 37th straight time in the win but appeared
somewhat sluggish as he defeated 12th-ranked Nikko Triggas 10-5 to raise his career record to 109-4.
“We talked about it then. Coach said that was the plan,” McDonough said. “He said he thought it would help get me ready to go.”
So McDonough sat and watched as Iowa, which faces No. 2 Oklahoma State at 2 p.m. on Sunday, improved to 12-0 on the season.
“You see things differently from those seats, just watching,” McDonough said. “You see a lot of things that you wouldn’t see wrestling.
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“Noticing the pace and how a higher pace really does favor you as a wrestler.”
McDonough returned to the wrestling room this week reenergized and more than ready for what lies ahead.
He discounted the notion that the time off might have had something to do with his weight or how his body is growing.
“Every year, it’s a challenge for anyone,” McDonough said. “I don’t think there’s anything that has held me back with my weight. It’s just a matter of figuring out your body, getting it to run optimally and go from there. I feel great right now. I feel good about things.”