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March 16, 2018

Michael Macchiavello

Jared Haught

Cleveland, Ohio

197 pounds

Q. A year ago you were down at 184, now you're back up at 197. Talk about that move you made for the team.
MICHAEL MACCHIAVELLO: You know, that was something we talked about as a staff and as a team. We had two guys at 184 who could compete at a high level. We had Pete Renda who was coming off an All-American year placing third, and then he redshirted the year I wrestled. I was around a 12 and was a 10 seed, so you don't want to have two guys in the same weight class that can compete at that level. We had to figure out, look, it doesn't make sense to have two guys at one weight class so we had to figure out who would go up. Pat was gracious enough to say I don't care who goes where, you guys figure it out on your own.

Thankfully we have a great relationship as a team, so Pete and I, we talked about it, like hey, where do you want to go. Naturally I'm a bigger guy. Pete tried the 197 his redshirt year at the Wolf Pack Open, and he did a good job gaining weight, but he kind of plateaued at 200, and I kind of hit 215 this summer. So it was an easy decision. I'll be able to enjoy myself a little bit, and it's great on my body. I'm a fifth-year guy, so staying healthy is one of the biggest battles that you have to overcome during the year. So going up was great because I didn't have to run to cut weight. I was able to just kind of wrestle and keep my weight off, and it was a lot easier on the knees and all the joints.

Q. Michael, when Kyle pinned Moore today, what was your reaction, and did it affect you at all going into this match, especially the way it started?
MICHAEL MACCHIAVELLO: No, it didn't. We talk all the time, like only worry about who you have because the bracket never plays out the way you expect it to. As much as people telling you, oh, are you ready for column 1 in the semis, I'm not thinking about that, because you have to get there first.

And second of all, you don't know who's going to win. This tournament is probably one of the craziest you tournaments I've ever been a part of. You've got 1 and 2 seeds losing in the first round, so that's not even in the back of any mind at all. I'm just focusing on what I have to do and getting to the next round, and that just kind of played out the way it did, and I was excited to wrestle in the semis.

Q. Two guys in the finals for NC State. How does that feel?
MICHAEL MACCHIAVELLO: Feels great, man. Is that the first time we've been in program history? Yeah, so it's huge, man. I think like we harp on it a lot, like NC State is like on the border of being a great team and stuff like that, and I think we're showing out and we're solidifying the fact that we're here. We're going to start being in the team race for years to come, and we're not going anywhere any time soon.

Q. Hayden talked about when he came on board he wanted to come because it was the chase against Iowa and Penn State and you guys were going to do it here. So talk about that kind of culture change that you guys have made at NC State.
MICHAEL MACCHIAVELLO: You know, kudos to the coaching staff. It's something that they've implemented, and they told us before we committed as wrestlers, look, this is our attitude, this is our game plan. Either you want to be part of it or you don't. They were very straightforward in the recruiting process, and you appreciate that as a recruit because you have a lot of people telling you what you want to hear to get you to commit to the school. They have a coaching staff that's very transparent and tells you how it is.

And on top of that, that has like very lofty goals as a program. That's exciting because as athletes we're very ambitious. We want to excel at a high level. So shout-out to them for kind of starting that culture and helping us arrive.

Q. You punched through for your first All-American honors and you're in the final. Talk about the progression that you've made and specifically this year.
MICHAEL MACCHIAVELLO: Man, well, I guess we'll start in high school. I didn't qualify for the state tournament until my junior year of high school. Won one North Carolina State title, was 0 and 10 against ranked guys my first year in college. Redshirted, had a great redshirt year, right now I'm in the NCAA finals. I will say my first year all those losses were really close. It wasn't like I was getting torn up. But it's been very consistent, and the goals remain the same throughout all fours year. I feel like that's the reason why I'm here today is because I didn't settle. It wasn't like, oh, I just want All-American. I kept the goals the same, and I kept plugging away so it was great.

Q. Talk about how he ended up on his back and scoring that fall.
JARED HAUGHT: So I threw an under hook and he kind of got off balance. Once I felt him off balance, I knew I was going to be able to whip him over. Whether I was going to be able to stick him to his back, I wasn't for sure but I caught the other arm as well. I knew I had him pretty tight once I had that position held.

Q. Your shirt says I am the horse man. What does that mean?
JARED HAUGHT: Yeah, so Frank Molinaro, my new coach this year coming on the program, he grabbed my neck one day in at practice just fooling around. He's like dang, man, your neck is so strong. He said, I can't even move you. And then later that night he sent me a picture of this little horse, like it wasn't a big jacked-up horse, it was this little horse. I think it was like in Siberia, from some other country. And he was like, this horse is supposed to have like the strongest neck known or like out of any animal or something. And then he proceeded to call me the Horseman Haught and Jared the Horseman Haught ever since, and it's kind of stuck with me.

Q. Would you talk about your past NCAA disappointment and the fact that you're facing another ACC guy tomorrow?
JARED HAUGHT: Yeah, so definitely last year coming into NCAAs, I was shooting for a title, had a really tough guy, James Hawks in the way. You've seen what he's done, and I ran into him in the semis, and it was unfortunate he beat me. He was a little better than I was for sure at the time. Now it's just using that momentum, going into this tournament, realizing so what, let's just have fun out there, be grateful, this is my last NCAA tournament ever like wrestling in, and man, it's just so fun. It's so grateful to be here. I'm so thankful for it.

Q. Talk about just getting to the NCAA finals and then just kind of your dream from growing up being able to run out on that carpet and being able to run up to the elevated platform and be able to wrestle in front of 20,000 fans.
JARED HAUGHT: Yeah, I mean, I felt like today I wrestled in front of a lot of fans. I feeling like wrestling in front of the fans, it's kind of calmed me down now, I'm ready. But that was definitely something I've looked at since I was in high school. Probably middle school I wasn't really at that point. I came here and watched it in Philadelphia. It was an amazing experience.

And yeah, just going off that, I really wanted to. Last week at practice, we did a little simulation. We had the carpet out, we had some smoke, ran up some steps, wrestled a match. So I've had experience like wrestling in front of our guys. So yeah, it's really fun. I really looked forward to that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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