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|Quotes from the champions at the U.S. Nationals|
By Erin Phipps USA Wrestling
WM 48 kg Clarissa Chun
(On her strategy for the final match)
"To be on the offensive yet knowing what she does and her strengths, helped me on the mat. As far as mental strategy, I kept a clear mind. I didn't want anything ruining my focus on how I wrestled. I just wanted a good match."
(On her win)
"I've been waiting six years and I've been at Nationals and made it finals a few times and never placed [at Nationals]. This was the year. Mentally, I felt more confident."
GR 55 kg Lindsey Durlacher
(On his win)
"I wasn't trying for the caution. I was trying for the score. I wanted to force some action. Unfortunately he caught me for a quick point , he off guard a little bit but I battled back and got to the second period and got the exciting win in the end.
"They may say that that last point was cheap. I'm going hard the last 15 seconds. That's hard wrestling. I don't quit, I'm always trying to score a point."
FS 66 kg-Chris Bono
(On his win)
It could be anybody's day. Anybody could win on any day in our weight class. I was just fortunate enough to win today and I'm just gonna take that and build on it."
"To win-whatever it takes. Whatever it takes"
"I train hard. I want to win every time I step on the mat to justify my training. And it's important for the people that believe in me."
"This is what I train for. I didn't panic. In the past I'd go crazy if I was losing I believe in my skills, I keep my focus, that's the key."
"A one point lead is not safe. I've lost too many matches overseas with these new rules in the last few seconds. Against Zadick on the edge of the mat. I felt him relax and I scored."
WM 51 kg Patricia Miranda
"Coach Terry Steiner has always been supportive of me continuing [in the sport], obviously, and he acknowledged that maybe I was capable of doing more than one thing."
"I feel I made definite steps to improvement . My goal is not to just dominate the national scene. There is a lot left undone on the international scene."
(On staying in the sport another 10 years)
"I really admire Stephanie's longevity. Mentally I think it's one of the funnest things in the world, but I'm' pretty sure my body would not be as resilient as she is."
GR 60 kg Joe Warren
"I felt this meet was another stepping stone. One more step towards the goal I'm looking for this year which is to win the World Championships. "
"I had a bad day. I started off a little rough my competition has made huge gains. They come hard at me. I own this weight class that's the bottom line."
"I did a good job keeping my head and staying calm. I wanted a match in the finals I could be proud of."
FS 74 kg Donny Pritzlaff
(on his training)
"I've been spending more time in Colorado Springs, training with my old coaches."
(On his wrestling and commitment to the freestyle team)
"I'm all in-I've had a more concentrated effort to get out there as much as I could. I try to make a better effort to getting out there."
"It's a big win right now, but it's pretty short lived."
(On his strategy)
"I wanted to stay away when he drops down and drives right through you. And I wanted to be real active and try to wear him down."
(On the importance of this win)
"It's important right now but it'll be more important in May."
GR 74 kg T.C. Dantzler
(On the focus of his training)
" I've always focused on the World Team Trials. I changed my training and realized that the Nationals are just as big."
(On his battles with Keith Sieracki)
"We're at the point where both of us respect each other so much that those big fiascos are in the past. We get along. We talk about family-we talk about everything but when we get on the mat it's like we're different people."
(On the importance of the win)
" It's always big to win because you never know if this is you last match."
(On his first win at Nationals)
"To win at Nationals-for the first time after 10 years. And I've been on the World Team three times. I'm a man, I'm happy."
(On his strategy)
"To keep my composure no matter what happens."
"Thank you to FILA for changing these rules. Without FILA none of this would be possible."
FS 84 kg Mo Lawal
(On being a more developed wrestler coming into this tournament)
"I think I am a little bit more, I still have the flash of course, but my coaches, Coach Momir, John Smith, Anatoly, Terry Brands, Coach Izzy and Steiner, and Jamill Kelly, they have made me into an old school wrestler, more of a throwback wrestler, and that's what is going to make me even better."
(On if he needs the gold at the Olympics to truly be Mo)
""Hey, before the Olympics I'm Mo, and after them I'll still be the same Mo, but I'm like a leprechaun, I'm not looking for bronze or silver, I'm all about going after that gold."
(On strategy coming in)
"I just wanted to score a couple of points. I was hyped up, wanted to shutout him out and I should have. If I was scouting myself tonight, I would have given me a C-."
(On what the win means)
"It means nothing, none of this means nothing until World Team Trials. Jamill Kelly didn't win at the nationals, and he came back and had an incredible World Team Trials, so that's what I'm after now."
WM 72 kg Kristie Marano
"I didn't really have a strategy-more of a strategy for the weight classes."
"I bumped up for Nationals so I can figure out where I fit and don't fit. It was for Nationals, but also for experience outside of the U.S."
(Why is she still wrestling)
"Just because I love the sport. I get a rush out of it."
(On women's wrestling)
" It has improved tremendously. Girls coming up younger gives us older ladies more of a drive, especially if we don't stay on top of it."
"It's good. It gave me some confidence to compete at this weight. I'm going to the World Cup and we'll see from there."
GR 96 kg Justin Ruiz
(On the video review)
"They were wondering if I had exposure when I was on my back, it was close, so that's what they were checking."
(On the new rules)
"It puts more people on an equal level, sometimes it's just a crap shoot though. I do feel comfortable on defense, especially when I stop that initial back reverse."
(On wrestling international)
"The exposure I've had has shown me that I can wrestler with anyone in the country, and that's very big, as when you get to this point it's very mental, there are several out that who on any day can win a tournament. I've had a lot of international experience the last two years, which helped me at the World Team Trials last year. This season, I've been on a tour in Cuba, and to Poland and Bulgaria, which were good training tours for me."
"To stay tough on my feet, and score on top when I had a chance. Also, to stay tough on defense, which is what won it for me."
(On the win)
"Puts me in a good spot to make another World Team, since I can now skip all the rounds right up to the final match, and puts me one step closer to making t
FS 120 kg Tolly Thompson
(On the clinch)
"Well, you'd like to get a takedown of course, but you don't always get a choice, he's a great competitor"
(On if the competition in this country is good enough to get him ready for the Worlds)
"Oh definitely, competing against this guys, [at this level] they are pushing me to be a world champ."
(On his Strategy)
"I wanted to win the two periods; you never want to go three. So losing one didn't help, but I didn't let it affect me either, I kept my focus and just kept working at it."
(On what the win means)
"Winning the national title is huge, it means its another stepping stone to making the World Team, and I'm looking forward to doing so and getting another shot at those guys in the World Championships"
WM 55 kg Sharon Jacobsen
(Strategy for the match)
"I needed to stay focused on what I do. You just gotta be worried about what you're gonna do.
I just try to attach and keep good position and stay focused and calm. That's how I'm most successful when I'm able to do those things."
"It's very important. I've wanted to be a National champion since I started wrestling. I've been wrestling for six and half years. This is the first step in my long term goal. It's a big step."
GR 66 kg Marcel Cooper
(What keeps him wrestling)
"I was done after 2004. I left my shoes out there. And you know, I was in the Marines, and then the Army program, and I got my confidence up. I'm still dealing with a lot of injuries but I'm just trying to persevere through it and see how long I can go. I don't know if I'll last till 2008 but I'm gonna try.
"I'm dedicating this tournament to my Mom. She passed away last year."
(On his age in the sport)
"I'm 35-years-old. I'm in that zone-my days are numbered."
"It's real important for me to win this. At my age competing with these young guys, that means a lot."
"Wrestling is my life. I've been doing it since I was five-years-old. And I'm a sore loser I guess. I've wanted to win as much as anyone else. I've put in a lot of hard work and it paid off."
FS 55 kg Henry Cejudo
(On being the National champion)
This is what I work for-this is what I really want to do.
(Surprised at winning the Nationals at his age?)
"No not really. The Russians do it, why not me?"
"All I do is train freestyle. I didn't have a really good strategy because I've wrestled him before. I just wanted to see how he would come at me different and I'd just go towards whatever he did. I just wrestled him however he was gonna wrestle. People change up their styles on you, so I really didn't have a game plan."
"It's really important. I don't know a lot of people that have won it and are still in high school."
WM 59 kg Sally Roberts
I'm sure I'm better physically and technically and wrestling wise. But I think the main factor that played a huge role is my mental capacity here. Terry Steiner and Coach Izzy and I have been pushing that for a long time and fortunately two weeks ago it started to sink in. Not a moment too soon."
"My strategy coming into this meet was to have fun and be creative. And my current attitude and belief in myself in this tournament really shined and it showed in my wrestling."
(On the importance of the win)
"It's not that I needed another plaque on the wall, more that I wanted to be successful in my heart because I wanted to show myself what I was capable of. It was to come out here and perform in the tournament. It made me feel that I had accomplished something."
GR 84 kg Jacob Clark
(On Brad Vering being a thorn in his side)
"I wouldn't say a thorn-I'd say a thorn bush. A thorn is just one little thing. He's been in front of me for quit a while."
"To finally get past Brad, mentally that was a big step for me. He's had my number. And I have a lot of respect for him. It was a great feeling for me to finally step up in front of him for once."
"I've worked a lot of my defense. And another thing I've lacked forever and all my opponents know it is my conditioning. I like to be a relaxed wrestler and stay back but with the National title, you can't just sit there and rely on your talent or whatever."
"To win the National tournament-it proves you can't just sit there. I've been wrestling with out heavyweights and our heavier guys. About two months ago I said 'Hey I need your help. I need you guys to push me.' And I got a lot of young guys on my team but they did exactly what I asked for."
"I worked on my conditioning a lot. I've made it pretty far on poor conditioning."
"I'm glad I was finally able to give back to the Marin Corps. They've put a lot into me for me to be able to finally get the National championship in my Marine Corps singlet, it was a great feeling for me and hopefully a great feeling for my coaches and the rest of the Marine Corps."
FS 60 kg Zach Roberson
(Strategy for the win)
"I really tried to bang on his head as much as I could just to, keep him off balance so he couldn't get a shot."
(Importance of this win)
"It's very important for me. It's my first time winning [Nationals] and be in the finals."
"I think a lot of it had to do with how I train. I've tried to change my diet and change my training to be a little bit more competitive and a little bit more serious than I have been. So that paid off."
(Next step after this)
"Go back to Ames, Iowa and train and go to the World Team Trials in May."
WM 67 kg Katie Downing
(On her opponent in the finals match)
"I knew that Randy is really hard to move so I just knew that I had to be really careful staying low in my stance because she's very powerful in her driving shot. Other than that I knew I had to be patient because sometimes I get frustrated when I try to open her up. So mentally, I just had to be patient."
(On the importance of her win)
"Obviously you always want to win Nationals. The tournament-they make the biggest deal of it. It's exciting and this tournament-they make the biggest show of it and has the most build up to it, so it's always exciting to win Nationals.
GR 120 kg Dremiel Byers
(On veteran wrestlers and the new rules)
"We should have the easiest adjustment [to the new rules]. Wrestling is still wrestling-it boils down to that."
(Do you see yourself as a wrestler or a soldier?)
"A lot of the same values that make you a good soldier make you a better wrestler. And a lot of things that make you a good wrestler make you a great soldier."
(On his strategy)
"I'm a veteran. I can't allow myself to make easy mistakes.
(After his win)
"Right now I feel that I have Rulon Gardner's lungs-I'm in great shape. I'm running every day, more than I ever have before. I don't get tired, I don't run hot, and I'm trying to taper a good wrestling mental psyche to go with these lungs I've got here. It's coming."
(On the importance of this win)
"It's important. It's definitely a stepping stone towards the next competition. I had a bad year this year. I always wear the loss until I can fix it. The only way I can fix it is through competition. I don't think I fixed it yet by winning this one though. I gotta get a bigger medal to make it all go away or at least cast a shadow over those losses."
FS 96 kg Daniel Cormier
"It feels good to go to a tournament and be excited about wrestling."
"You can't just prepare yourself and just train for a tournament and think you're going to be ready for it. You have to totally commit to it and totally focused."
(On his commitment to freestyle)
"It boils down to the fact that Russians, they're wrestling freestyle every day. Where you have us, the guys that have been on the team this past year, we're in different places. Me being in Oklahoma, Sammie and Bono in Tennessee. We're so spread out all over the place and Coach Jackson wants a commitment to train together to become a team. And I think he's done a good job of it. I'm gonna follow his plan to the word. Him and coach Brands and Coach Smith, they have all the right ideas. Whatever they tell me to do I'll be willing to do to accomplish my goals."
(On strategy and winning today)
Wrestle hard. Get the most out of myself. I feel if I wrestle to the best of my ability, I can compete with anybody and it's showing with some of my past performances.
"It's important for me to win this tournament. I really enjoy wrestling here. It's a good tournament. This is the fourth time I've won it, it's something I never could have imagined growing up or even in college. It's a real important tournament to me. I enjoy competing here."