College wrestling: Cyprus grad Brown refuses to settle for second
Penn State's Matt Brown knows he must let it go, but disappointments aren't so easy to forget.
One takedown or one escape and it could have been a reversal of future a double-double an individual NCAA wrestling title to go with a team title.
The former Cyprus High School star came up just one point short in a gripping overtime match at the NCAA wrestling championships last week in Des Moines, Iowa.
He lost to Oklahoma State's Chris Perry in the finals. The match went into overtime before Perry finally prevailed with a 2-1 win.
There is determination in defeat for Brown. You don't become a three-time state high school champion by becoming complacent. He's coming off a sophomore season with a 29-5 record and helped his team win its third straight NCAA wrestling championship.
"My goal was to win the Big Ten and a national championship," he said in a tone of disappointment. "But we needed all of those points to clinch the title, and that helps to know that everyone had to contribute for us to win the team title."
After becoming one of the top wrestling prospects in Utah, Brown took off two years to serve an LDS mission before arriving in Happy Valley last year. He posted a 27-2 record as freshman, a remarkable feat for a guy who took a two-year conditioning break from the sport.
Brown's success has not been limited to the wrestling room. In addition to earning All-American honors, he earned an Academic All-Big Ten honors and earned the NCAA Elite 89 Award as the nation's top Division I student athlete thanks to a 3.9 overall GPA.
After getting half a week off, Brown already is preparing to upgrade a silver to a gold.
When asked if he was satisfied with his season, Brown hesitated before finally answering.
"I guess I am," he said. "I got better throughout the year. I lost to some guys earlier in the year that I came back and beat in the postseason. That shows our coaches did a good job of helping me improve, but it's just really disappointing to lose in overtime.
"I have to let it go. It's in the past and I can't change that. I just have to work hard in the offseason. I'm not going to change anything for next year, nothing except the outcome."