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March 18, 2022

Keegan O'Toole

Detroit, Michigan, USA


Media Conference

THE MODERATOR: We have 165-pound weight class, Keegan O'Toole from Missouri, congratulations.

Q. Talked to you earlier today after your semis match and you said you would die to be in the NCAA Finals. You had a great match. You controlled everything out there. How did you feel it went in?

KEEGAN O'TOOLE: I'm one tough SOB, no matter what happens. I'm hurt, it's not a perfect day. I would have liked to have put more points up but you've got to find ways to win. When you are not able to do your original game plan which is score as many points as you can, you've got to be gritty which is what you saw in that match on top and those scrambles.

Q. Keegan, you are a freshman eligibilitiwise and at the time we have seven-year guys here. How do you feel compared to those guys? Do you feel fresh? What do you feel like?

KEEGAN O'TOOLE: I've been wrestling since I was 6 years old and I haven't stopped wrestling, practicing, competing since COVID ended back in November in Iowa, and my second year haven't stopped competing in wresting. I feel as experienced as anyone else and I'm excited for this tournament to be over because my body hurts. Yeah, it don't matter if you're 26 years old. I'm only 20 at the moment. I'm ready.

There is no need to make is excuses about anything.

Q. Do you enjoy the process of preparing and getting to this point?

KEEGAN O'TOOLE: 100%. Big XII's I didn't wrestle that good so there were a couple of adjustments I needed to make and I fell like I've done that in this tournament in a lot of those single hand fighting and circling with my feet and that's exactly what I've been doing.

Q. How about your patience? You showed a lot out there today?

KEEGAN O'TOOLE: Sometimes if you don't get out to an early lead, you're used to destroying guys a 2-0 match might scare you a little bit, but like I said, I'm freaking hurting so I have to find ways to be gritty and tough. I watched the movie "300" before this tournament, and I thought if I'm hurt, that's no excuse, these Spartans were going into war with massive wounds on them and they were still going out and battling. I just try to keep that mentality. I know it's a stupid thing but before my matches it helps if I'm feeling nervous or anything like that.

Q. Keegan you have a great coaching staff at Missouri. I don't think there is any question about that and they've done a lot with you. But you also have a man back at home that's trained you for a long time. How nice is it to have a coaching staff in Missouri there all the time and have somebody at home that you can call and talk about matches and strategies, things like that?

KEEGAN O'TOOLE: It's unbelievable.

Q. I didn't say his name?

KEEGAN O'TOOLE: Pretty sure everyone knows who it is, but it's unbelievable. I am so blessed in this world. To have the amazing coaching staff that I do at Missouri and go back home and be able to pick up my phone, shoot a quick text message to Ben, Max, all those guys who have helped me through strategy. I've talked to Ben before every single match. He's been an unbelievable mentor for me, I've been with him since I was 12 years old and the amount of gratitude I have toward him I don't think I could replay in a lifetime.

Q. You had mentioned them how much have they influenced you differently?

KEEGAN O'TOOLE: Not even in wrestling, just in life. Ben is always reading and making himself smarter. I think that's so are important in today's day and age with everything that is going on. Knowledgeable people end up doing better in life and having a much -- not easier path in life but it sets them up for life. So that's just kind of what he was always pushing on me. Figure things out for yourself, don't be relying on other people.

That's one thing when he's coaching me a lot of times, he's not going to give me an answer, he wants me to figure it out and that's one thing that I think is so important and crucial for me as a person and a wrestler.

Q. Shane Griffith tomorrow night. What do you need to do to prepare for that match tomorrow night?

KEEGAN O'TOOLE: I just need to go to bed. I've been up late, first night there was a lot of people there so I didn't go to bed until 2 a.m. I need to get some rest, get some food in me, ice the things that are hurting and get a good warm-up in and like I said, be prepared to die.

I know it seems exaggerated, but I'm pretty much going to do anything that I can. I'm going to go the distance and I'm going to put up a fight that he's never felt before

Q. How was the energy out there?

KEEGAN O'TOOLE: It was great, making sure I'm breathing between little periods and breaks and ultimately if I hand fight like I want to I think I will be able to go hours on end.

Q. I think he meant the crowd?

KEEGAN O'TOOLE: It's a great atmosphere, I'm only going to get to do this after this tournament three more times in my life so I might as well embrace it and have fun out there. It is serious for me. I have high expectations for myself but the most important thing in the sport is it's not everything.

It's a big part of my identity, but it doesn't define who I am. So as long as I'm enjoying the crowd out there, having fun with it and making relationships as this journey goes, because ultimately in life I feel like the purpose of it is to create relationships and evolve as a person more than just a wrestler.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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