After four years as a starter for the Duhawks, senior Malcolm Watson finished his collegiate wrestling career as an All-American. Watson cemented his All-American status with a 6-3 decision over Central College’s Matt Seabold in the 197-pound consolation bracket of the NCAA Championship in Cedar Rapids on March 11.
Watson and Seabold were familiar opponents, having squared off on numerous occasions over the last few seasons. Until this year’s national tournament, the rivalry belonged entirely to Seabold.
“He’s never beaten the kid before,” Duhawks head coach Randy Steward said after Watson’s win over Seabold. “I don’t know what to say, I can’t even breathe right now. It means so much to me.”
Seabold was called for stalling three times in the bout, with the third call knotting the score at 3-3 in the third period. Seabold got in on Watson’s legs late, but the Loras senior fended off the attempt before scoring a takedown of his own to seal the match.
“He never quit,” Steward said. “I’m so proud of him. It’s unbelievable.”
Watson finished his first NCAA Tournament in eighth place.
“It’s a little bittersweet,” Watson said of his All-American finish. “I felt like I could have gotten a little higher up on the podium, but ‘All-American’ doesn’t sound too bad.”
Coach Steward brought a new title home from Cedar Rapids, as well. He was inducted into the National Wrestling Coaches Association Division III Hall of Fame on March 10. This year marked Steward’s 33rd season in coaching and his 23rd at the helm for the Duhawks.
“I guess part of the deal is if you do this for long enough, you get a chance to stand up here,” Steward joked during his induction speech.
Considering the 237 career wins, 12 top-16 teams, four Iowa Conference Coach of the Year awards, three NCAA Champions and more than four-dozen All-Americans to his credit, Steward’s hall of fame call was more than just a matter of time. The winningest coach in Loras College history, Steward also served as the president of the NCAA Division III Wrestling Coaches Association from 2007-2010.
“It was awesome to be nominated,” Steward said in an interview. “And then to be voted in by your peers around the country is really special.”