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|Quotes from 2007 U.S. Nationals champions in freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling|
By Michelle Thilges USA Wrestling
55 kg/121 lbs.
On how he wrestled:
I know I just have some fire under my belt especially with the NCAAs. I'm kind of mad at myself for not wrestling to the capability I have.
On not being seeded:
(It bothered me) a little bit. You can't let that stuff get to you. You got to move on. I said alright in the Olympics they blind draw everybody. You can wrestle the champion first match.
On beating Lindsey Durlacher:
He started the lift and the defense that I was going for wasn't there. I went with it a little bit and it worked out for me this time.
60 kg/132.5 lbs.
On how the tournament is after winning Worlds:
Some people think it is harder to keep moving forward when you've won already. I'm hungry more hungry than I have ever been. Once you get that gold, you get that taste, you want it. I keep getting better every day. I focus at one practice a day. The sky is the limit for me.
On wearing his own logo:
It is my own logo, my gear. I have shirts everything. I have to support my logo on my chest. It looks good there.
On being a World champion:
Being a World champ is more satisfying to me. It has not changed (my training) that much. I kept a level head and I'm real excited to know I have another chance at the Olympics.
On international competition this year:
I just won the World Cup in Turkey. I beat Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and Iran. They were good matches there. I lost to Germany here at the Schultz. I have had a lot of competition. I'm on the up and up.
On being the baddest man on the planet:
I am the baddest man on the planet. I hope everyone is calling me that and not just me.
66 kg/145.5 lbs.
On being a member of the World Class Athlete Program:
I am not an original member of WCAP. I have been involved with WCAP for almost six years with a break in the Olympic year.
On his age:
I turned 33 in March. Right now I feel about 20.
On his strategies:
When I first started doing it, I transitioned to incorporate more freestyle in there. I'm not touching the legs but in the hips. I learned it from watching other wrestlers.
Going into the Trials:
I'm real positive going into the trials. I can do it.
On Harry Lester not competing:
I think Lester put off cutting weight. I'm sure he will be at the World Team Trials.
74 kg/163 lbs.
On wrestling Keith Sieracki:
The situation is we have wrestled each other since 1995. There isn't much that surprises me or him. Every time I wrestle him, I want to beat him and every time he wrestles me he wants to beat me. We are both professionals we respect each other as dads and wrestlers.
On wrestling this year:
This year I had ACL surgery. I just got on the mat about 3 weeks ago. This year we (Sieracki and I) didn't meet, but usually we meet around this time of year.
On his fans greeting him after his win:
That's my entourage. Those guys are from Arizona. They are wrestlers. They carry my bag around all day. If I say I want a Gatorade, they get me a Gatorade. It keeps me focused on wrestling so I don't worry about my I-pod or my sweats. When I won that championship I wanted them to feel it so they could get excited about it and they can come out and win this.
84 kg/185 lbs.
On watching the Worlds last year:
It was hard for me last year to watch the World championships. I have focused my training and changed my training a bit.
I am more mentally prepared than a year ago. I'm fresh. Last year I was a year younger but this year I am fresh. I can see the end of my career but I don't want to walk away from my career without a world medal.
On Jake Clark losing earlier in the tournament:
I didn't know he lost. I thought he won that match. I wasn't focused on his match. I was focused on Sieracki, who beat me last year.
On the Team Trials:
I expect it is going to be tough, especially with Jake (Clark) losing. I don't know where he will draw into the bracket.
96 kg/211.5 lbs.
The gut wrench is something I have been working on and I kept trying to get it. I scored in the first period with it and it is paying off. I am still trying to improve it.
On last year's tournaments:
It was a huge disappointment for me. I feel like I trained harder that year than the year before. It didn't pay off like I wanted to. After the tournament I re-evaluated some things and have been working on it.
Winning this time compared to winning his first time:
It is different than the first time. The first time I did it, it was new at the experience at the senior level. Every time I win it is real good. It still feels great to win.
120 kg/264.5 lbs.
On not wrestling Dremiel Byers:
It was not at all what I was focused on. I was focused on my match.
On what he has being doing to train:
I think in the last six months I have gotten better, just working day in and day out. I think I have worked a lot on my gut wrench.
On training for the team trials:
I train the same all the time. Byers is a tremendous competitor. I have a lot of respect for him.
On the team trials:
I want to make the team and bring home a medal for the U.S.
55 kg/121 lbs.
On winning the match:
Yeah I was upset. I felt like I had three but I guess not. I had to wrestle tough to make it go my way.
On how he has improved since high school:
I have grown a lot. I have been to so many international tournaments with the wrestling group. They are taking care of me and they are investing a lot in me. I thank them a lot. I have improved a lot.
On going to "wrestling school":
Yeah, my major right now is wrestling.
60 kg/132.25 lbs.
On his performance:
I feel comfortable. I got real good defense. I felt in position and it went well.
On beating Mike Zadick:
I've wrestled him a few times. This is the third time in a row I've beaten him; last year here year and before at trials. This is probably the toughest of the matches I've had with him. He is hard to score on.
On being in the weight class:
I feel the past couple years I have been right there with the best of the guys in our weight class. I went into the match thinking I could win. I knew I wasn't that far behind these other guys.
On the importance of the win:
It is real big. Not the win but the fact that I get to sit out at trials. It puts me in better situation to put me on the World Team.
66 kg/145.5 lbs
On the first period:
My goal was to win the first period. When I won the first period I am a different wrestler. But you know I'm also a different wrestler when I lose the first period. I'm always a little better when I'm losing. Jared is a tough and dangerous wrestler. This is the first time I have ever beat him
On being a coach and a wrestler:
I have the best wife. My first priority is to the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. I am thankful for our athletic director. He knows what is going on and he is supportive of it. This is great for our school, for the community and the recruits to show what we can do.
I'm on the mat more than I have ever been. I drill with theses guys in the morning and let them get a feel for what we do. I don't wrestle during practice. I have to find other times. It's a blessing. I'm fresh.
On bringing wrestlers from Chattanooga:
We brought seven guys. Absolutely, I am an example to them. They are an example to me. Those guys work so hard at Chattanooga.
Importance of winning the tournament:
It's exciting because I'm out of the mini-tournament. I only have to wrestle two matches to be on world team. I'll let those other guys beat each other up before they get to me. I'm going to win the trials.
74 kg/163 lbs.
On winning his first Nationals:
It is 26 years of experience. You can't lose composure. You have to be thinking when the period is over it, it's over. You can't look back on it.
On his goals:
This is a short-term goal. It feels great to win but really I have the world team trials on my mind. That is the real test.
On his wife and family
My wife told me 'You better win.' It's not a joke. 'Joe you got to win.' My wife is unbelievably supportive. Sometimes I want to pick her up and cradle slam her but, I tell you what, what she does for my two kids and for me to train is a godsend.
84 kg/185 lbs.
On wrestling at 84 kg:
Other guys are preparing to fight the entire time. That's the biggest thing that is different. The last couple years has been hard making the lower weight class. So I decided to move up and wrestle 84.
On the team trials:
I think this tournament is an indicator of what things will be. I have to work hard.
On his match:
I feel bad because I didn't wrestle as well as I wanted to. I wasn't aggressive. When you go to the coin toss there is a 50-50 chance you can lose. It was bad on my part to let it get to that point. Mo wrestled tough. Mo wrestled hard.
On wrestling Mo Lawal before:
When you wrestle a guy like Mo he puts you on the defensive because he is so aggressive. I have been wrestling him a long time so you know kind of what happens.
On if Mo's outfit gets him fired up:
The first time we wrestled we were freshmen (in college, and) he jumped on the mat really high. That is him and I wouldn't expect anything less than him to be Mo.
On moving back down to 96 kg:
I'm not going to go up. 96 (kilos) is the best weight I have a chance to win a world title.
120 kg/264.5 lbs.
On moving up in weight classes:
I think I was a tweener. It isn't a concern because these guys are big. I weigh in about 240 lbs. I have worked a lot on my strength training. I try to stay faster than them and be highly technical.
On gaining more weight:
As long as I can maintain the level of conditioning I have I don't mind gaining weight.
On being 20 lbs. lighter than his competition:
I work hard enough I can't tell the difference. I was training twice a day to stay at 233 and I didn't want to cut weight all the time. It was a lifestyle change.
On his competitors at the team trials:
They got to bring their 'A' game and do a good job.
On how he was going to celebrate his win:
I'm not sure yet. I have to talk to my family.