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March 16, 2007

Kale Anderson

Kurt Backes


THE MODERATOR: Kurt Backes, finalist at 197.

Q. Kurt, what is going on tonight with the program, not just you but the program as a whole?
KURT BACKES: It's a legacy now. It's a dynasty. There's a whole new coaching staff in there, young freshmen. We're taking leaps and bounds to a whole new level and it really shows tonight what we're made of. I'm glad to see everything is coming together, for myself and for the team.

Q. What is the difference?
KURT BACKES: A different mindset mentality, different coaching techniques, different scheduling, peaking at the right time. And it really shows that -- Iowa State has really showed what they're made of tonight, top to bottom. I'm just really happy.

Q. After injuries the last couple of seasons, what are you feeling right now?
KURT BACKES: It's awesome. I'm just going out with a bang. Going out how I want to go.

Q. You talked earlier today about how it is an individual effort, but it seemed all those other victories tonight can drive you in your match?
KURT BACKES: Definitely, Jake Varner put a smile on my face before we went out, and that's what it takes to have fun. It's really a match to follow. Fortunately, he won. On the other hand, if he lost, I think it would have been different motivating, I guess. Watching your teammate do well like that is an awesome feeling.

Q. Can you guys tell me a little bit about the ironman group of you two and Varner must be like?
KURT BACKES: I don't really work out with Varner that much, but when we do it's a lot of fun. We really go at it. With Coach Anderson and Coach Hartug, you can't get any better than that. I don't really want to tell him how it ends up. It's a lot of fun, though.

Q. Kurt, do you feel you're playing this weekend like you feel you've been capable of wrestling? You've reached some pretty high goals throughout your wrestling career and now you have an opportunity to be the national champ. How about this weekend so far, as far as the quality and your ability that you've shown out there?
KURT BACKES: Myself and people surrounding me, they knew I could do it. They knew -- it's disappointing, but life goes on. That's what happened the past two years, but wrestling is all sport and you go out and take what you deserve, and I think that's what I'm doing this weekend.

Q. Kale, this has been a nice, steady effort out of the guys, kind of what you mapped out, what you hoped you would get. What's the reality like compared to what you were kind of hoping and kind of planning around for?
KALE ANDERSON: Well, these guys have done a great job. We knew coming in as seniors if they stepped up like Kurt has, we would be in the hunt and that's where we're finding ourselves. We had some close matches, especially right now where they hurt the most, in the All-American round, and the semis with Travis, but these guys are doing a great job. I'm real proud of them. We didn't really have a goal other than to get in here and have everybody have their best performance of the year. I think we're pretty close to that. We always want to do better, and the plan was to have a few more all Americans, but we're making progress.

Q. Kurt, you faced Josh Glenn of American in the semis in Midland, and earning a fall in the third period.
KURT BACKES: He's a tough wrestler. He's pretty funky. I've faced many people like him. I'm excited for it.

Q. After an early start this year and maybe not have things work out the way you wanted, and now coming to where you are now, what do you think the difference has been with progression throughout the year? And the second part of my question is, you won the national as a freshman and now it's your first year of coaching and you're on the verge of maybe doing that. Comment on both of those things?
KURT BACKES: There's still a lot of wrestling to do here. What question do you want me to start with? Those are both tough questions, by the way. I'm real proud of those guys. They've done a great job for us. I'm not worried about it. I'm one piece of a big puzzle and I'm proud to be associated with these guys and helping them reach their goals. I don't think we had a real slow start. We've
improved a lot. We were at one level at the beginning of the season and now we're at the national championship.

Q. Talk about the team right now and what you're thinking about.
KURT BACKES: We have three people in the finals. Jake Varner, he's a contending national champion. Trent Paulson, he's contending for a title, and so am I. I'm really proud to be part of such a talented and great group of guys, same with the coaching staff. I think Coach Anderson, he's more like King Mitus, whatever he touches turns to gold. It really seems like that. Whatever he is working with he brings in the best of the best. And I'm just really excited to end my career on such a -- I'm just real excited and happy. As a senior, the roller coaster career I've had, I'm excited to go out with a bang and really show myself, not to people around me, but just do it for myself, that's what it's all about, and I'm really happy with myself right now.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach Anderson.

Q. If there is anyone who understands what it's like to wrestle in the NCAA tournament it would be you and I'm curious what kind of advice you're going to give to your three athletes tomorrow night and what they need to be successful in the championship round?
COACH ANDERSON: It's simple, keeping the same mindset we've had all yearlong, and wrestling where we're strong, having fun, this is a great opportunity. You're center stage, just keeping your focus, focusing in on wrestling your best. Just focusing on yourself, do it for yourself, and really just go have fun. That's what it's all about.

Q. Did you not let Kurt buy into those inconsistencies? What did you say to him?
KURT BACKES: A lot (laughter). We've been working with Kurt trying to help him work things out for a long time, and he's a fighter. He's one of those kids, that if he was with somebody else and they had obstacles he's gone through they would have quit a long time ago. He is a good kid and I'm happy to see him in the finals. The work is not complete, but he put himself into a great position to do what he wanted to do since he came to Iowa State.

Q. You have five freshman, they obviously contributed.
COACH ANDERSON: They gave us their best effort and that's all we wanted. They went out fighting and we lost. Three freshman lost the last round to be All-American, and it's painful. The experiences are invaluable and we're going to be tougher next year with those guys, obviously, individually, but I'm happy with them. They came out swinging and fighting and they did what we wanted them to do.

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