Gary McCall; CR Washington ‘85/Iowa State Cyclones
Here are a couple of incredible inspirational stories about 2X state champion for Cedar Rapids Washington and 3X All American for Iowa State, Gary McCall!!! Some of the account is written in the words of Gary McCall himself!! One story is from his Junior year in HS for Cedar Rapids Washington and one from his Senior year at Iowa State.
THIS IS THE STORY OF HOW HE DEFEATED THE ODDS TO WIN STATE FOR CEDAR RAPIDS WASHINGTON AS A JUNIOR IN HIGH SCHOOL:
PINDOX: In 1984, Gary McCall of Cedar Rapids Washington was beaten in the semifinals at districts, 8-3 by Joe Whitters of Prairie. He needed a break to even qualify for state. To qualify, Gary first had to win his 3rd and 4th place match and hope for Whitters to defeat Rich Deutsch from Cedar Rapids Kennedy to set up a wrestle back match for true 2nd between McCall and Deutsch.
GARY MCCALL: “Right after the semifinals loss, I thought, ‘oh no, I blew it,’ but I went into the locker room and coach Hal Turner told me to not give up and that I still had a chance.”
PINDOX: And he did get that chance. Whitters defeated Deutsch, 3-2, McCall won his 3rd place match and then defeated Deutsch 4-0 to earn true 2nd and qualify for state.
To make things sweeter, McCall ended up WINNING state that year and then repeated in 1985. He was recruited by Iowa State, who he became a 3X AA for in 1988-1990.
Had McCall hung his head and given up hope at districts, who knows what would have happened with the rest of his career. He wouldn’t have qualified in 1984 to start, Iowa State may not have recruited him, his confidence may have been halted going into the 1985 season and who knows how that could have affected him that year… But things worked out for him due to an optimistic coaching approach by Hal Turner as well as Gary’s ability to be coachable and mentally tough.
So to all of you upcoming wrestlers out there, if you feel that a goal may have become out of reach following a setback, get your chin up, for you never know what could happen. Gary McCall is proof of this.
HERE IS HIS INSPIRATIONAL STORY OF OVERCOMING ADVERSITY AS A SENIOR FOR THE IOWA STATE CYCLONES:
PINDOX: Do you have any stories of overcoming adversity in your career?
GARY MCCALL: I tore both of my groins at the beginning of my sophomore yr @ ISU and had to redshirt that year. Then I tore them again my senior year (126 lb. weight class) after starting the season 13-0, ranked 3rd in the nation and had just beaten Terry Brands from Iowa at the Wisconsin open. I was out for 2 months, then Dan Knight and I decided to switch weights. I went down to 118lbs and he went up to 126. At 118 I lost 13 straight matches, finished the Big 8 in 5th place and made it to NCAA’s on a wildcard (returning 2x all-American). I went into nationals unseeded with a losing record and ended up beating returning all-American Steve Martin (Iowa) 1st rd, then went on to upset #1 seed Jeff Thieler of (NC) in the quarterfinals. I lost in the semifinals to Jack Griffith (Northwestern), then wrestled back to Ken Chertow and beat the #1 seed Thieler again for 3rd place! At the time it was the 1st time an unseeded wrestler defeated the #1 seed twice at the NCAA’s. It was a great ending to a rough season and to end my wrestling career!