home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


March 17, 2018

Zahid Valencia

Cleveland, Ohio


THE MODERATOR: We're joined by the 2018 NCAA Division I national champion at 174 pounds, Zahid Valencia, from Arizona State. Questions?

Q. That scramble you had with him where it looked like were going to have an easy takedown it and did not happen. Why did you not lose any momentum or confidence in yourself?
ZAHID VALENCIA: I mean, for me I knew his defense was going to be excellent. I couldn't make any mistakes. I had to be pretty much perfect in all of my shots. So in that type of moment you can't get fatigued or get too caught up in that moment. You have to go out and get the next one.

Q. Couple times during the match they would flash your dad on the camera. I think he was in the third row right up front and screaming and yelling. But talk about growing up, I know you had the monster garage, and then all the way until now being a national champion. Talk about that process from a little kid to now.
ZAHID VALENCIA: For me I've been blessed with great parents, a great family, great teammates, coaches, everything. Also, God blessed me with a lot. I think I have everything in my life. And growing up this was a goal -- me and my brother and my dad and my whole family. So I started when I was 2 and now it's a dream come true. It's just been amazing.

It's been a roller coaster of a journey and I'm glad to be on top now. I'm glad my dad was able to watch me do that.

Q. Coach Zeke said this week that sometimes you're too aggressive you're shooting too often, you tend to extend yourself. How do you --
ZAHID VALENCIA: For me that's just the way I train, that's the way my coaches tell me to wrestle. I over-wrestle. I take a thousand shots a match. It's not for everybody. You really have to get your conditioning up.

But at times, yeah, I can over-wrestle, make some mistakes. You could see it in my semis match. But I knew I could come back and get more takedowns.

A guy like Mark, I have to be a little more conservative -- not in the sense where I take less shots but more of shots, making sure I don't overreach or anything. So that's what I focused on.

Q. You're the first NCAA champ at Arizona State under Zeke Jones. Can you talk about that?
ZAHID VALENCIA: It's amazing, when I got recruited by him, he had this dream, this goal, and he brought me along with starting something on the West Coast at ASU, doing the whole folkstyle, freestyle, becoming the best in the world.

And I really believed in him and I've been working with him for a few years now. I think I've gotten a lot better. I think you could see it's just been amazing being able to be coached under him.

Q. You lost to Mark last year in the semis. What emotions are you feeling to avenge this loss and finish atop of this podium?
ZAHID VALENCIA: (Indiscernible) is an awesome feeling. Being out there and seeing all the fans just going crazy after that win, I mean most of them were probably Ohio State fans. But we know it was awesome just being able to get my revenge. Everyone says the exhibition match didn't count. And it really doesn't. Even an undefeated season doesn't really matter. You have to do 5-0 in this tournament, like I said before. I'm just grateful and blessed to be here.

Q. You mentioned several times how you had thoughts of being the national champ. You never got to that point. What in your mind first said I can do this?
ZAHID VALENCIA: Me and my brother were younger, my first year I didn't do too hot. We won in '18. And my dad said, you know what? He told my mom I gotta get these guys good or else they're not going to like it because at the end of the day you've got to say winning is fun. If you do a whole lot of losing you're not going to like the sport.

So as soon as we started getting really good, me and my brother, we decided, hey, let's make goals for each other. So we just were shooting for the stars -- world champ, Olympic champ, four-time NCAA champ. But that's all you can really do is reach for that.

Q. Wasn't a long ago you were 132-pounder in high school being a three-time state champ. Can you talk about how you've grown so fast for a lot of people. A lot of people think you may go 184. And talk about the relationship with your brother. Like you said you've been like that?
ZAHID VALENCIA: My weight's been all over the place. I see guys here wrestling at 125. I remember wrestling that dude. But I used to cut a lot of weight in high school. But now I think the better I've gone, and I feel better just going more at my natural weight. I think it's been better for me.

I can't tell you where I'm going to go next year, it's just the way the summer goes with everything, trials.

And with me and my brother it's been an incredible journey starting, I was 2, he was 3, doing everything together. And I'm sad he can't have this feeling right now, but he's got two years left and I believe in him. And both of us are going to keep working to be those two brothers standing here next to each other national champs.


FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297