March 18, 2022
Detroit, Michigan, USA
THE MODERATOR: We are joined by Mekhi Lewis of Virginia Tech who has just advanced to the national championship match.
Q. Congratulations. You got very emotional right after that match. What brought that on? You've been on this stage before; you've won national championships. Last year you came in hurt, probably shouldn't have competed but you wanted to try. I know that was hard on you. Is that part of your emotion that you are back where you wanted to be?
MEKHI LEWIS: Yeah, I was just really struggling mentally, too, past two years, COVID really messed me up. I wasn't really doing the right things to be able to compete and getting hurt was just another body blow, it felt like.
I just had to reevaluate everything and make things that was important to me a priority, and I feel like that's what helped me be able to perform. I don't want to cry again. I don't like crying. I don't like getting emotional.
Q. Mekhi, would winning tomorrow night mean more than the win in 2019?
MEKHI LEWIS: Yeah, because I was just a freshman. I didn't really know who I was. I just went out to compete and whatever happens, happens, and I ended up winning then. Now it's like I have a garget on my back, and I dealt with all the personal stuff, but I got through all that personal stuff, I hope.
Q. What would your advice be to young wrestlers who are struggling and trying to make it through personal life, studying and wrestling? What's your advice?
MEKHI LEWIS: I just think you need to find the right people who support you. I've got a lot of friends and staff, family, a lot of people, who -- they just know how hard it can be, you know? And just making sure you just have a tight circle who supports you throughout everything, the highs and lows and just figuring out what you need to do to accomplish that.
Q. Was there a thought that you may not be back here this year?
MEKHI LEWIS: Well, you know, I almost quit halfway through the season. I was battling a lot. Even though I was undefeated, I was still going through stuff mentally. So, yeah, at one point I never thought I would be in this position that I'm in right now.
Q. What pushed you through that you did not quit?
MEKHI LEWIS: Friends, family, people on staff. The support system gets you through your lows.
Q. You have Carter Starocci tomorrow night. Have you wrestled him before?
MEKHI LEWIS: I trained with him a little bit.
Q. So you know the feel of him?
MEKHI LEWIS: I trained with him when he was recruited, so he has a totally different feel now. He's a good competitor, and I'm just excited to be out there and that I will be able to wrestle and represent Virginia Tech.
THE MODERATOR: Best of luck tomorrow.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports