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Quotes from the 2001 Cliff Keen/NWCA National Wrestling Duals press conference



2001 Cliff Keen/NWCA National Wrestling Duals Press Conference at Penn State Univ., State College, Pa., 1:00 p.m., January 19, 2001 Troy Sunderland, Penn State head coach "The draw is better than last year for us. I'm happy we didn't get a top four team. Nebraska is a team we can compete against. Our guys are ready. We are at full strength and are ready to go." "We had a big win last week over Lehigh. It helped with our confidence. Some of our young kids stepped up. We've had a good week of practice leading up to this." (about Cael Sanderson going for consecutive win record on Saturday): "He has been a great ambassador for the sport. What a great accomplishment to break a record that has stood for so long. I'm excited to have it occur potentially here at Penn State." John Smith, Oklahoma State head coach "There are a lot of good teams here. For any team to win, it will be very tough. We will have to put together four good matches. It's pretty competitive, right from the start." J Robinson, Minnesota head coach "Oklahoma State is favored. They beat Iowa and us. That is where you have to put them. The big key is the semifinals and the finals. Those two matches are critical to winning the tournament. It's obvious, but it's true. Consistency is very important, as well." Jim Zalesky, Iowa head coach "A lot depends upon matchups in dual meets. It's how you match up against the other team as individuals. Then, things like bonus points, injuries, upsets are important. As a team, we have to be ready to wrestle for this meet." J Robinson Minnesota head coach "You can have a match here where the team score is big, but every match is just a one-point match. Individual matchups are more important at a dual meet tournament than at the end of the season at the national championships." Bobby Douglas, Iowa State coach "Cael Sanderson has done the unbelievable. I didn't think Gable's record would be touched. It's been touched, and he's now poised to break it. He is a unique individual. He's a humble, gentle person. But when he gets on the mat, he changes." (about the attention on Sanderson) "It hasn't affected him. But I'm concerned. He's signing autographs for 15 straight minutes sometimes. It's not just paper; they have him signing shirts and hats and everything. We have to step in sometimes to give him a break. I do get concerned for him." J Robinson, Minnesota head coach "What Cael has done is tremendous for wrestling. You need these heroes. The streak, it gives the public something to latch on to. I remember when Gable did it. It went up to something like 150 matches (high school and college combined). It's easy to follow for the media. I think it's the greatest thing in the world for the sport." Jim Zalesky, Iowa head coach "This weekend is important, but it's not as important as the end of the year. Here, the team comes together, they can gel. It's an exciting event. As a coach, you can see where the team is at, and where it will have to be at the end of the season." John Smith, Oklahoma State head coach "There's a lot of parity in the dual meets. There's a good chance that two of the four teams (at the press conference) could be in the finals. But you have to look at teams like Arizona State, Oklahoma and Nebraska. This is the toughest one that we have been to. If one of the teams get hot, anyone can win." Bobby Douglas, Iowa State head coach "The last two NCAA Championships were the best I've been involved in. I look back at this event last year, and realize how intense it was. Jimmy mentioned injuries. I think it will be a factor. I also think about weight control as a factor. This event is great for scouting and great for promotion. I think there are eight teams that could step up to the top. It's all about who is ready to wrestle." Jim Zalesky, Iowa head coach "The athletes take a lot of pride. It's competition at the best. The team that comes out of here will be the nation's best dual meet team. Anytime you put something like that on the line, it is important. The athletes want to do their best job and lay it on the line." Bobby Douglas, Iowa State head coach "I don't like them sky high for this. It's important. It's a great event. I don't want them to put too much emphasis on this and forget about the national tournament." John Smith, Oklahoma State head coach "We haven't won a national championship since 1994. We want to win this weekend. We've had disappointments trying to win a national championship. We want to have the opportunity to win it all at the end of the season. We do want to be here and win this title. Recently, what we have won has been the National Dual meet title. I'm not going to downplay this. We want to win this, and win the next one (the NCAA Championships)."
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