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March 19, 2022

Yianni Diakomihalis

Detroit, Michigan, USA

Media Conference

149 pounds

Yianni Diakomihalis (Cornell ) d. Ridge Lovett (Nebraska)

Q. I noticed tonight you were shooting everything below the knee. Was that a game plan coming in?

YIANNI DIAKOMIHALIS: You know, he's real tall and lanky but he sprawls well. If you noticed, the shots I got extended on, I'm missing low. The guy who is tall like that, you don't want to get stuck underneath him. There are a lot of leverage points they have access to that you don't. I don't if it's as much a game plan thing as it's just kind of understanding the sport. You know what positions you can control against certain guys.

Q. He wasn't able to use his hips when you were down there.

YIANNI DIAKOMIHALIS: If I've got your knee and ankle tied up, going (indiscernible) freestyle there's not a lot you can do defensively.

Q. 2018, comes down to the last 30 second situation in Pittsburgh, it comes down to a (indiscernible) video review. You win both those matches. They're close. This is total gas pedal and you dominated it. It was never in doubt. There was none of those situations. How much better do you think you are from those two titles to now?

YIANNI DIAKOMIHALIS: Substantially better. And it's because of those matches with Bryce Meredith and Joey that I got to this point. There's -- wrestling capitalism is what my dad and I call it, where you get better, someone else gets better and now you've got to catch up with them.

Playing that game helped me elevate that game regardless of who it's against. I'm always trying to catch up to the guy in front of me. And thanks to that you can open up the gap on the gas pedal.

Q. It's been two years on the sidelines. Does this one feel a little more special just because there's been two years on the sidelines?

YIANNI DIAKOMIHALIS: Yeah, I mean it's not anyone's fault, but you've got to -- (indiscernible) sometimes people forget about you, not just me, the team. We're a top 10, top 5 team in the country every year. And all of a sudden COVID happens, take another year off, stuff gets canceled. And it's like people forget how good of a team we're a part of. So we're back, we're here to stay. Hopefully it stays that way.

Q. How much different has the feel been with the new coaching staff?

YIANNI DIAKOMIHALIS: They're amazing. Mike, he's always been my guy. Kellen and Donnie might be my two best training partners. They push me so much. They introduced us to a completely different view of the sport. Donnie came from NC State. Very different athletes, different system than what they do at Cornell. Kellen came from Michigan, they're doing really well this year. A lot of different perspectives.

And then you've got Gwiz who has been amazing. There's (indiscernible) playing from being in and out of the lineup, maybe a backup behind Max Dean to being an all-American, and obviously the guys before, they helped get to this point. But I'm incredibly happy with our new staff. And I think that with this group of guys and this staff we can get to that team title, be in contention.

Q. Very fortunate of what you have done, win four state titles, three NCAA titles. You've become the model of consistency. Looks like 149 is agreeing with you. How do you feel moving up a weight. Is it working out well for you?

YIANNI DIAKOMIHALIS: Yeah, I mean, these guys are bigger. These Saturday night matches, where I'm still 154, 155, maybe they're a little bigger. But at this weight I could train really hard. I'm doing -- from Christmas to the end of February I was doing two a day every day straight. Pushing myself really hard. And not that everyone has to do that. But training at this weight gives me an opportunity to get better, faster, stronger, better skills, better athlete. I'm really happy to be here.

Q. You've become a model of consistency. You have one collegiate loss. But how do you maintain that? And I think your opponents are starting to feel that on the other side of the coin, what do you attribute that to?

YIANNI DIAKOMIHALIS: It's kind of similar to a question that got asked earlier over here, was there's always someone better than me. Even the day I win the gold medal, hopefully, there's going to be someone better than me. There's going to be someone I have to catch up to.

You guys call it consistency. For me it's pursuit of improvement and development. When you're looking to improve and constantly growing, it can seem like you're staying this much ahead.

Q. You talked about your love of wrestling. Where does that love come from?

YIANNI DIAKOMIHALIS: For me, it's internal. My dad, who was my coach my whole life, he tells stories about how I was trying to leave to go to practice an hour early. I watch film all the time in my spare time. It's as much of a hobby and passion and something that I love as it is a sport that I do.

The day my wrestling career ends, I'm still going to be sitting there watching matches, trying to learn new things, because there's my competitive side where I want to win, I want to fight, and then on the other hand this is art to me. It's something that I can learn when I'm 90 years old. There's always something that you can learn more about and try to get better at.

Q. When you were in here last night interviewing with us, you weren't happy about your performance last night. You let everybody know that you were not happy. Are you happier tonight? And you wrestled so well both nights in my eyes, but you feel it out there, if you're off a little bit. Was tonight a little easier? Do you feel a little more proud of what you did tonight than you did last night?

YIANNI DIAKOMIHALIS: This is definitely a step in the right direction. We had a close match in Vegas, Lovett and I. I didn't wrestle as well as I could have. And this match meant a lot to me.

I don't want to sound like that guy, but you don't ever want to let guys feel like they could have won. I think that's what really bothered me about my match last night with Sammy. Really good, really skilled guy. And I'm up 6-3 with a minute to go. I felt I wanted the match to be over. It's wrong. It's so wrong. You should never be looking at the clock. You should just be -- you look at a (indiscernible) match, and I'm thinking the first minute and last minute look the same.

And that's an indication of some aggressiveness the whole time. If anything. And I did it in this match. I didn't do it last night. And that was a big character flaw, something I'm really disappointed in. But thankfully I had another match, was able to redeem it.

Q. Parting shot last night on ESPN broadcast, did you do what you said you were going to do?

YIANNI DIAKOMIHALIS: We got it all figured out. There was something missing, and we found it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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