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March 23, 2019

Anthony Cassar

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

285 pounds

THE MODERATOR: Anthony Cassar coming to the stage. National champion, how does that sound to you?

ANTHONY CASSAR: It sounds right. It sounds really right.


Q. When did you first think that by moving up a weight that you could be national champ?
ANTHONY CASSAR: I believed I could be national champ at any weight that I set my mind to. I didn't make it last year, but going to college I knew I was -- a heavyweight was what I was meant to be because it fits my personality perfectly. I love to lift and eat. And I'm faster and stronger than anyone if I could eat healthy and be who I'm supposed to be. So it's the best case scenario for me.

Q. All year long, you waited patiently for that first attack. And tonight you turned that into six. Talk us through why you're so patient while you're waiting for that first attack. And, B, what happened tonight, the attack to finish the back point?
ANTHONY CASSAR: I've got to be smart. These are some big boys. And I don't want to get caught under them. I learned that from my shoulder injury that I have to be smart with my finishes and my attacks. And that's kind of carried over to my style. And so if I go, I'm going hard. And nine times out of ten I'm going to get that attack. I'm a little patient but if I go you're going down.

Q. Two nights in a row you came in, looked at your name tag. Did you almost think this is a dream; this was really not happening?
ANTHONY CASSAR: Not at all. It just made sense to me, maybe to you guys, I joked, saying that you guys printed out just my name tag because that's how I feel every day. I wake up as the national champion, as an Olympic champion. And I expect these things. Maybe surprised a lot of people but not to me.

Q. You told us in Minnesota that when you're in neutral position a lot of things going up there that we can't see. What was going on tonight before you struck there?
ANTHONY CASSAR: I felt him hesitant right off the bat. It was my mat to score and do whatever I pleased to him. So I felt that in the first period and I was getting super tired. I was keeping my pace up, moving my feet and hands.

Might not mean a lot to you but it gets them real tired. I could go all day. They don't want to go to the second, third period with me if I move my hands and feet. That's what happened in the first period. Then I went for it in the second.

Q. Beat the Streets is going to invite all the national champions here to wrestle the number one in freestyle in Madison Square Garden would you go up against Gwiz? Is that something you would consider?
ANTHONY CASSAR: Yeah, my goal is to be an Olympic champion. So whoever is up at heavyweight in any division is going to be a competitor of mine.

Q. What do you think has allowed you in your career to take advantage of the short time you've had in the postseason and kind of finish each time up on top? How do you approach it that's allowed you to kind of seize that moment?
ANTHONY CASSAR: In the match itself?

Q. You've had one shot, high school and now in college.
ANTHONY CASSAR: Yeah. I don't know, I guess I perform very well under pressure. And I have a goal. And if I don't achieve that goal -- like, if I didn't achieve this goal tonight, the past five years would be a failure in my mind, which may not be the right thing, but that's just how I see it. When all the chips are out I'm going to perform because it's do or die for me.

Q. After last season, I'm sure you had some pressure from other schools to go wrestle elsewhere. What made you know that you wanted to stay and continue your career at Penn State?
ANTHONY CASSAR: A lot of people were saying that. I've never been one to look outside of myself for when adversity comes; I always look inside. If I don't get something I wanted, it's because of me. I'm in the best school, the best program, the best facilities, the best coaches, everything I have to be a champion. So if I'm not a champion, it's my fault. I'm not going to go somewhere else and achieve that. So I've looked inside. I have to make more changes and figure it out, because everything around me was doing it right. It was me.

Q. Two-part question. First part, you lost to him earlier in the year. How much did you watch that film, and how much did you learn from it? And second part is, at this point, it's thought to be a foregone conclusion that you'll get a second year or a sixth year and maybe even a seventh. Is that what you want? Do you want to come back or are you done with folkstyle wrestling?
ANTHONY CASSAR: For the first part of your question, yeah, I watched that match a couple times from the scuffle. I wasn't happy with my performance. And I was still kind of settling into that weight class and not feeling myself yet. And so I knew that I wasn't the same guy as I was back in January. And my coaches knew that. And so I wanted to go out there and prove it tonight and I think I -- I majored him right? Major?

And then the second part of your question, yeah, in terms of the years following, I assume this year was my last year going into the national championship. Now I'm going to sit down and think about it, talk to my family and my coaches and see what's best for me going forward because I have freestyle as well.

Q. For those who don't understand, why did you sit out that year? I'm not from Penn State. Why did you sit out that year?
ANTHONY CASSAR: I got a shoulder surgery. I was sidelines for months, and along with financial difficulties. So my plan was to Olympic redshirt, once I medaled in Junior Worlds. That didn't work out. I was forced to take the year off, but I was able to get healthy. That's why I made drastic changes to my life and train hard that entire year. But, yeah, took that year off for personal, financial and injury reasons.


FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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