IOWA CITY, Iowa — If football is a game of inches, wrestling is a sport of seconds. With day two of the U.S. Olympic Trials in the books, Vernal native Phil Keddy (freestyle 185 pounds) will remember this tournament for how the smallest errors can turn things around in a hurry.
"I learned a lot today," Keddy, who wrestles for the Hawkeye Wrestling Club and is a former NCAA All-America for the University of Iowa, said. "This tournament showed me I have a long way to go and I need to get a lot better to get where I want to be."
Keddy came out of the gates in impressive style defeating NCAA reigning champion Ed Ruth of Penn State and Jon Reader of the Cyclone Wrestling Club to earn a spot in the semifinals against no. 1 seeded Jake Herbert of the New York Athletic Club.
Keddy dropped the match , 2-0 (1-0, 1-0).
"I was right there in both periods and I let it slip away," Keddy said. "It was frustrating."
After moving into the consolation semi finals with a chance for third place, Keddy faced Raymond Jordan of the Sunkist Athletic Club. Keddy won the first period 1-0, and then dropped the second period 6-0. During the third period a scramble at the edge of mat left Keddy and Jordan going out of bounds. Keddy thought he had earned the point for the push-out, but officials awarded it to Jordan.
"I thought I was winning," Keddy said. "I looked at the clock with 11 seconds to go and realized I was actually losing. It was my fault. It was completely my responsibility."
Jordan held off a frantic attack by Keddy in the closing seconds.
"When you work this hard for one goal it's hard to take not getting there," Keddy said. "I'll re-group and start getting ready for next year's World Championships."
Centerville's Ben Kjar (freestyle 121 pounds) of the Kingdom Klub Wrestling in Woods Cross worked his way into a chance to place third. After dominating the first period against Obe Blanc of the Gator Wrestling Club, Kjar dropped the next two periods 1-0, 1-0. With that Kjar still managed a 4th place finish.
Candace Workman (women's 105.5 pounds) of Vernal and Jason Chamberlain (freestyle 145.5) of Springville each dropped two matches throughout the day and did not place. Workman noted in her first round loss, the magnitude of the event may have thrown her off her game.
"I had never wrestled in front of 13,000 people," Workman said. "When I went out to compete I was in awe. Then one of the Iowa wrestlers was going up on the mat next to me and the place was going nuts. I lost my focus and didn't wrestle well at all."
"This was definitely a great experience and will help me as I continue my career."
Chamberlain opend the day knocking off former Olympian Cary Koblat of North Carolina Regional Training Center, 2-1 (0-1, 1-0, 1-0). During that match Chamberlain suffered a broken nose. He continued but finished without placing.
"This was a learning experience," Chamberlain said. "I wrestled decent, but I need to keep working hard to get better."