By Jason Brummond, correspondent
IOWA CITY – Phil Keddy’s return to Carver-Hawkeye Arena nearly put him in the finals of the U.S Olympic Wrestling Trials. He knows almost doesn’t cut it.
“Close doesn’t feel very good,” Keddy said. “Let’s put it that way. There’s no moral victory there for me. I just have to keep working.”
Keddy, a three-time All-American who wrestled for the Hawkeyes from 2005-10, had an impressive tournament. The 185-pounder won his first two matches before losing 1-0, 1-0 to former Northwestern star Jake Herbert in the semifinals.
Three of Keddy’s five losses during the 2008-09 season for the Hawkeyes came to Herbert, the former Hodge Trophy winner and world silver medalist.
After losing to Herbert, Keddy went to the consolation bracket and needed a win over Raymond Jordan for a shot at third. Keddy won the first period, but lost 6-0 in the second period and 1-0 in the third period to lose.
“You have to score points to win,” Keddy said. “I didn’t go to my offense. A couple of times there were opportunities I didn’t commit to and you have to score points to win.”
But Keddy looked solid during the first two rounds.
The Vernal, Utah, native beat Penn State sophomore Ed Ruth in the first round with a technical fall in the third period, 0-1, 3-0, 7-0. Then Keddy beat ex-Iowa State wrestler Jon Reader in the quarterfinals, 1-0, 1-0, before losing to Herbert and Jordan.
After the loss to Jordan, Keddy didn’t even want to think about the next step – most likely the 2013 World Championships. He thought he let a big opportunity get away from him in Carver.
“Not aggressive enough,” Keddy said. “I’m good enough to win, and I just have to go out there and prove it. It’s not just going to happen. You have to take the opportunities that are there and I didn’t do that.”