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March 18, 2017

Vincenzo Joseph

St. Louis, Missouri

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by 165-pound national champion, Vincenzo Joseph of Penn State.

VINCENZO JOSEPH: I'm just very thankful to be here right now. I want to thank my coaches, my family, my teammates.

Q. Double overhooks, double underhooks -- you guys kept getting in -- I think you had double overs, right?

Q. Double overs. And he's trying to, like, buck you with his hips. And did you hit the inside trip on him? Did you initiate it with your right leg?
VINCENZO JOSEPH: Yeah. You know, he was taking out a lot, and after my first takedown, he was trying to force it a lot more. My second, and then he'd be coming hard at it and kind of set it up perfectly.

Q. Did you scout him for that?
VINCENZO JOSEPH: No, I already wrestled him twice this year, so I had a pretty good idea.

Q. NCAA champion Vincenzo Joseph, how does that sound to you?
VINCENZO JOSEPH: It's pretty cool. Like I said, I'm just really, really thankful to be here right now.

Q. Does it make any more special that last year Jason Nolf lost a real close match to him in a three-match series this year? And did that give you motivation to have redemption for your teammate? I saw on the screen, he was going crazy for you when the fall happened. Talk about that, how that happened. A lot of Penn State fans aren't the biggest Martinez fans.
VINCENZO JOSEPH: My teammates, those guys are like my brothers. I'd do anything for them. They'd do anything for me. But it was more so I wanted to accomplish my goal being a national champ than anything. Not really redemption.

Q. They say Isaiah is very strong and really hard to open up. And you were not only able to get him open for shots but also take him to his back. Were there some changes in your game plan or certain preparation you had that made this different than almost anyone else who has wrestled him?
VINCENZO JOSEPH: I think it was just more of a mindset going into the match. I was confident going in. And even after I gave up that first takedown I was, like, they went to review it. I went back, talked to my coaches. First thing I said to them was: I'm scoring soon. I could feel it starting to open up, and I knew I was going to get to my attack soon. Get an opportunity there.

Q. You talked about confidence, and it seemed like during that match the momentum was swinging in your direction throughout the start. Can you talk about the last two matches that you had with I-Mar and what adjustments you made this time around?
VINCENZO JOSEPH: Well, he's a phenomenal wrestler. He's a bully on the mat. And this time I was definitely ready for that. I was coming right back at him. He likes to slap me in the face a lot. So first match he kind of slapped me, quick, like four or five times right off the whistle. And he didn't get called for that, but if you hit him back you're going to get called. I didn't even care I was coming right back for him.

Q. Everyone will remember this match for the way it ended. But you also won the takedown battle, 2 to 1 and got better reps on your feet. What things did you see when you went back and watched the last two matches? And what did Coach Cael and Casey tell you to be a little better on your feet against Martinez and take him down twice?
VINCENZO JOSEPH: You know, a few little tweaks here and there, hone different positions, little hand-playing things. But mainly just they tell me you're the man, you're going to win this match. Like you have to believe that and I did believe that.

Q. Pennsylvania high school state wrestling with four NCAA champions, you're the four. I'm an Ohio guy and it's hard to admit but is Pennsylvania the best. Ohio's got nine All-Americans; you guys got eight. But you're batting .500 on NCAA champs. Is Pennsylvania wrestling the difference for high school wrestling, how Cael has been able to keep you instate? Is it the difference; is it the best state?
VINCENZO JOSEPH: First of all the Whip Hill (phonetic) is the best region in the country. No, no, Whip Hill. It goes in swings, but Whip Hill for the most part. But Pennsylvania, I think it's because we battle each other. We go across state, cross-country, everything from such a young age, it just helps us a lot for these kinds of tournaments.

Q. When did you know either tonight or in one of the first two bouts that you were at his level, that you were going with him?
VINCENZO JOSEPH: Just how the matches go. I feel like I kind of got in his head a little bit the first time we wrestled because I have pretty good gas tank for the most part. I'm pretty good at keeping my composure while I'm wrestling.

If I'm wrestling a guy who can wrestle hard for seven minutes, no matter how many times he gets taken down, or how many points he goes up, he'll keep coming at you with everything he's got.

I'm like, man, this guy is tough. I feel if I wrestle like that combined with some of my better offense, I feel like I can really get in guys' heads.

Q. You mentioned composure. You seemed pretty reserved for just having done what you've done. How do you celebrate this? How do you celebrate this?
VINCENZO JOSEPH: Go to my hotel. I'm pretty tired. That's all I've got so far.

Q. Freshman right? And you won?

Q. Talk about your goals being a multiple champion. I-Mar was very aggressive after his first that he wanted to win four. Just curious now after you've won your first one, how you think about that?
VINCENZO JOSEPH: Obviously everyone wants to win four national titles. I want to win four national titles but I'll just keep taking it one year at a time, one match at a time, just focusing on every match because if you keep looking forward, well, I want to win four, I want to win four, you kind of lose sight of what's right in front of you.


FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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