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March 23, 2019

Nick Suriano

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

133 pounds

THE MODERATOR: Nick, national champion, first in Rutgers history. What does that feel like to you when you hear that?

NICK SURIANO: I'm just watching my dad go nuts.

[ Laughter ] and my cousin, Kyle.

Q. What was that moment like?
NICK SURIANO: Speechless. I just didn't quit. I didn't quit through this whole journey. And it came down to not quitting this last match. I was going to quit. I was this close. I was thinking about it. He rolled me like that. And like I got out. I made sure I was going to get out.

And I looked in his eyes, and I said, I'm going to take him down. And I took him down, and he was getting away with stalling the whole match. And all due respect to John Smith and the Okie State staff, they're legends. They did what they did.

But they've been working the refs they were doing it the whole match the match at the RAC at Rutgers, and I deserved that too. And I'm blessed.

Q. How much does that match that you had with him a few years ago -- just talk about how that factored in your head?
NICK SURIANO: He's a world-class competitor. He's legit. Daton Fix, we've had our battles. We've had our words, and they go the same way. He's so stingy on his defense and it's hard for me to open up on him. He's very tricky. He's very -- he's an advance man. He's elite.

And marathon match, I wrestled -- he beat him at (indiscernible). I beat him in the marathon match, folkstyle. He got the hands-to-the-face call at Rutgers. And I'm blessed to be here. I'm blessed.

Q. You beat DeSanto, you beat Micic, and now you beat fix. To take all those losses off the board in the regular season and finish this way, what does that mean to you?
NICK SURIANO: It just means be persistent, never quit, never give up whatever the circumstances. It's just so simple. And if you want something you just gotta fight and go get it.

And I was down for so long. They called this the toughest weight class and everything. And it really is. Micic is a world medalist, and Daton Fix is a world champ. I'm right up there.

And I got the takedown fair and square. At the end they're fighting for their guy, but I took him down fair and square.

Q. Beat the Street is going to invite the winner of this tournament to wrestle the No. 1 guy in Madison Square Garden. Is that something you want to do in freestyle in May?
NICK SURIANO: I'm not afraid to challenge any fight. It's (indiscernible) what I want to do, what my plans are. My plan is to come win the NCAA Tournament. And I won the NCAA Tournament.

And I just want to say to my parents, my family, they've seen this man. There's so much tragedy out there that people go through. And it almost put an end to my journey. It was tough for me.

And I said, nope, I'm coming out on top. And I just want to give everything to my parents, first, my parents, my mom, my dad, my brother, my family, all my mentors and supporters. Honestly, everybody who supported me and helped me, from club wrestling coaches, to people behind the scenes -- Enrique, Manteo, champion by design, my mind and so many people and all the fans cheering me on. I felt the energy, and it was a blessing.

Q. With about eight seconds left in that last ride-out period, you seemed like you had a moment where you gathered yourself, adjusted your headgear, got ready. Can you tell me what you're telling yourself, what you're thinking in that moment?
NICK SURIANO: It's a dream. It's a dream, because he had my number. He had me the whole period. I guess I could say I got a call. I was working my way out. I don't know. He got a lot of calls that match. It goes both ways. I took him down for the takedown. I took him down for 2. I got my goals.

Q. This is the first national championship for the program as well as for the university. Did you put that into perspective yet?
NICK SURIANO: Yeah, I'm just telling my family, I heard Goodale, Coach Goodale yell, and it made me so happy, man. Honestly, when I heard Coach Goodale yell and cheer me on, it was a dream.

I saw Donny, I saw my coaches. And man I am blessed. It's an honor to bring history to Rutgers where it belongs. It's an honor, a blessing. And Anthony Ashnault, right on the screen right there, is going to do it next. And this is going to be a day in history. It's a blessing.


FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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