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Quotes from the 2001 U.S. National Champions in all three styles



GRECO-ROMAN CHAMPIONS 119 lbs. - Jeff Cervone "It's a relief that it is over. Then, I didn't know if it as over, because the refs talked about it. This is something I have worked towards for awhile. It seems amazing to me. It was a hard fight. We wrestle each other every day in the room. We knew each other's moves. It was tough, because he is great, but also because we wrestle each other so much." 127.75 lbs. - Dennis Hall "This feels great. I especially want to thank my wife, and my brother in law, and my coaches, including Steven Mays and Terry Brands. They all kept me motivated to compete." 138.75 lbs. - Kevin Bracken "I think the year after the Olympics is dedicated to myself. The emphasis was on the Games. Immediately after, I started working out and I trained all year for this. I love Vegas. There is constant stimulation here. It is a good distraction for me. It keeps my mind off competing." 152 lbs. - Marcel Cooper "This means everything. I have been wrestling a lot of tough guys and the competition has been great. I have finished second three times, so this had to be the year. Going back to New York is going to be great, because that is where I am from. It will be just as good as the Olympics." 167.5 - Keith Sieracki "I won this event in 1996. I've had a lot of injuries. It is a great feeling. It shows that this weight class is so tough. T.C., Dan Niebuhr, others are so solid. Whoever comes out and wrestles the hardest should win. I'm happy to come out as this year's winner." 187.25 - Matt Lindland "He got on top, because of an early mistake. I'm the comeback kid. It's not what I wanted to do, but I had a plan. I moved up because of a lot of factors. I have had a lot of success at the lower weight but why would they seed me ahead of Quincey herebbbb?" 213.75 lbs. - Garrett Lowney "I wanted to come in and wrestle well here. In Greco-Roman, things came fast and I had success. Hanging around the Greco-Roman guys made me better. This means a lot to me. I had a hard loss at the NCAA Nationals last month. I wanted to make a statement to myself, and that I deserved this." 286 lbs - Rulon Gardner "I had to go out there and focus on the job at hand. The tournament is all about a lot of hard work and preparation, just like life. A win is a win, whether it is 1-0, 5-0 or 12-0." "I need to come into the Trials the same why that I did here. I need to get back to wrestling. I bruised my eye in the semifinal round, but the Lord has given me a great body. I just have to deal with what comes." "I felt comfortable with the pace there. I was willing to take chances. He (Byers) tried to step but I was set up for all of his moves. He goes for one or two explosive moves and tonight they were not happening, so I was able to control the tempo and pace.: FREESTYLE CHAMPIONS 119 lbs. - Eric Akin I wrestled every match in this tournament as though it were the World Championships and I didn't worry who was here and who wasn't. I prepared for this tournament and took it one match at a time, just like the World Championships. You wrestle that way or you don't make the finals. This is my eighth year here. I have three Cader National championships, one Junior National Championship, two University National Championships and was the World Team Trials Champion. But this title has eluded me the last seven years. On the eighth time, I finally made it." 127.25 lbs. - Eric Guerrero "I take it one tournament at a time. I can wrestle a lot better. I need to work on staying in position. I had no "rookie-like" mistakes. There is definitely more inside of me than I showed in this tournament." 138.75 lbs. - Bill Zadick "I am obviously happy to win. I expect myself to win and wrestle to my potential. It felt overall satisfactory, for the result, but I wanted more. This is a stepping stone. I can improve. I am bettern than last year. There are bigger and better things down the road. You are never satisfied unless you wrestle a perfect match." "This is my fourth year here, and the competition keeps getting tougher. I got the job done tonight, but I also know I have areas to improve on. You either keep improving or you don't move on at this level." 152 lbs. - Ramico Blackmon "It was a great match. Chris is my toughest competitor right now. He as ranked No.1 and I was No. 2. If you train hard and wrestle hard, like we do, you still have to realize that it is in God's hands. If you win or lose, you grow from each experience and know that God has a purpose for you, whatever happens." "This is a highlight of my life. I had a hard time getting here. It's been a long journey for me. I was sixth last year, and eighth two years ago and seventh three years ago." 167.5 lbs. - Joe Williams "There was five seconds left and I was still trying to score. It felt good. I did some things wrong. I have to work on a lot of things. Every year, I feel that I am motivated to win. There were some extra things I had to work on this year." "I got on top with 14 seconds left and tried to score. I had nothing to lose." 187.25 lbs. - Cael Sanderson "This feels great. I couldn't ask for anything more. I'm on pace for the trials, and winning here makes it a heck of a lot easier. Just "to win" was my strategy. It all worked out for me this time. This is an awesome feeling. I can't compare this to the NCAA's. The levels and style are different. I was disappointed with last year's finish, but I can't hold grudges." 213.75 lbs. - Dominic Black "I had a lot of confidence coming in. I put a lot of emphasis on training and trust. I received help from Kevin Jackson and my coaches. I was able to control the ties and pick my shots. My goal is to score early and often. This feels special to me. I have no injuries and hope to stay healthy." "It feels good to be back on top. This is what we train for, and a national championship is a good reward to myself and my coaching staff." 286 lbs. - Kerry McCoy "I was more methodical this round. I was just not feeling it this round. I tried not to make any mistakes. I tried to establish control early. A W is a W. I'd rather win ugly than lose pretty. I'm taking them one year at a time." WOMEN CHAMPIONS 101.25 lbs. - Tricia Saunders "This means a lot to me. I got sick a few weeks ago. I didn't think I was completely ready. I got a bit tired. The national titles never get old for me." 112.25 lbs. - Stephanie Murata "This meant more to me than some of the others. It was a lot harder, due to injuries. The road back is sweeter. I want to thank all those who helped me. I have to work harder to stay on top. My goal is to win the Worlds. I would be much nicer here in the U.S." 123.25 lbs. - Tina Wilson "This feels great. I have been waiting for this, year after year. I am thankful I finally got it. This is the thing I needed for my confidence. I have always been close, but I never sealed the deal. I wanted every one else to know that I could do it." 136.5 lbs. - Sara McMann "I'm very excited to win a national championship for the second time, because every match against Tonya has been a real dog fight. I'm so glad that all the pounding by the guys at Lock Haven University has finally paid off." "This has been a long year of good tournaments for me. It's nice to win, with all the hard work. My goal is to win the World Championships. Wrestling is my life." 149.75 lbs. - Toccara Montgomery "I feel great. I have been training and working hard. I want to thank all my coaches. This is the second time I have beaten her. I used my conditioning and speed to my advantage. I'm finally getting respect." 165.25 lbs. - Iris Smith "First of all, I thank God for this victory. With strong family support, determination and hard work, you can accomplish anything. My second national championship is sweeter because the competition keeps getting tougher."
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