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March 19, 2022

Keegan O'Toole

Detroit, Michigan, USA

Media Conference

165 pounds

Keegan O'Toole (Missouri) d. Shane Griffith (Stanford)

Q. You got taken down twice. Were you a little worried at any time?

KEEGAN O'TOOLE: No. Like I said before in these other interviews, I was prepared to go to die. Every time I stepped out on that dang mat I was ready to throw down no matter what the circumstances were.

I was really banged up in my second match. I kind of popped my ankle, sprained it. It was really hard for me to shoot or do anything. That's why a lot of those matches were 2-0, 4-0, stuff like that. I knew that going into this match. Shane's a great competitor. He won the weight class last year. I knew it didn't matter how I was feeling or what the circumstances were, I was going to have to find a way.

Q. You said you were hurt yesterday. You needed a little bit of recovery. How are you feeling right now?

KEEGAN O'TOOLE: I'm still hurting and I want to get the dang tape off my ankle so bad. I woke up this morning, it was hard to walk. I tried to drill a little bit. It hurt like hell. But like I said, faith over fear no matter what the circumstances were. I wasn't put on this earth to be afraid of anything. Having faith in my coaches, having faith in God. Having faith in my family. Everyone around me. I have amazing people around me. That's why I'm here, is that these people built me up to who I am. Without them I wouldn't be the person I am.

Q. Tell me about your lifestyle habits or some things that you think you really changed up from last season to this season that helped you prepare for this moment.

KEEGAN O'TOOLE: I was just a baby last year. I started at 157 pounds. Then I went up and I thought I did everything right going to the national tournament last year, but that's the beauty of the sport, that's the beauty of life, you might think you're doing everything right, but sometimes things don't go your way.

It's how you bounced back. Took a couple weeks off, got right back on the mat, went over to Russia, won a world title. And just bouncing back and keep going forward. I have a deep admiration for the sport of wrestling, and if you have the right people around you, you'll have the ability to do anything.

Q. Can you put your world title in perspective with winning a national title?

KEEGAN O'TOOLE: World's was pretty cool. But this is really cool. Folkstyle wrestling in America, this is the highest level you can go. To be able to accomplish that on my second try, it feels unbelievable. I'm still in shock. I really don't know what happened.

You sit down, you go hug my coaches and thank them for everything because like I said, without them, without my partners, without my trainers, strength trainers, my roommates always building me up, always being there for me, my buddy back home, my individual partner, Mitchell who filled in for me when I wasn't feeling good and I had to take a couple matches out. He's been amazing for me, just everyone on the team letting me drill countless bow and arrows where I'm pulling their foot all the way back to the back of their head and just taking it like a champ. Those are the people you don't see that are really the ones that deserve this award.

Q. Some of the situations there looked like a couple of Merkle positions where he got the takedown, you didn't. So you kind of went back and forth on that. Take us what you were thinking on those.

KEEGAN O'TOOLE: I didn't think the first one for him was a takedown just because I had my hand out. I can't complain. I feel like I can wrestle with anybody. And I got the reversal. I rode him out, and I was ready to -- whether he picked down, I was going to ride him out. I was confident in that. Or if he went neutral, I was going to take him down. And that's exactly what I did.

Q. For such a young kid, you seem so composed at all times no matter what. You're in the national finals for the first time, get taken down twice; you just seem like you were completely cool as a cucumber. Where does that come from?

KEEGAN O'TOOLE: Just the right mentality. I've had amazing mentors. And they're not always there to hold my hand, and I have to figure things out on my own.

I know that mental power is more important than physical power. If you really believe in yourself and you have faith and you're not scared and you stay composed, and you believe in yourself, the sky's the limit. It goes for anyone.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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