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March 18, 2011

Matt McDonough

Anthony Robles


125-lb. Championship

MODERATOR: We're with first semifinalist winner Matt McDonough, No. 2 seed coming in, and he's now 27 and 1 overall. So that being said, we'll open it up to questions for Matt at this time.

Q. (Off microphone)?
MATT McDONOUGH: It's going to be a hard fight. He's not going to give me nothing. I'm not going to give him nothing, and it's going to go the full seven minutes. Expecting a seven-minute match and more if need be. And you gotta make your own breaks because that's not a guy who's gonna give them to you.

Q. (Off microphone)?
MATT McDONOUGH: Just persistent offense, going to what I know best and creating an opening. Not waiting for something, not reacting, but creating. Creating my own offense and being the aggressor.
MODERATOR: For the next question, please raise your hand so we could get a microphone to you. If you could identify yourself as well, please.

Q. That pace that you keep pushing throughout the year, what kind of match do you want to take to the finals tomorrow night?
MATT McDONOUGH: High pace. Wearing on him. Doesn't matter which guy it is. He's going to come out there and he's going to want a national title just as bad as I do. And he keeps pushing the pace, not letting up. Wrestle him seven minutes. I said it over and over all year, but I'll keep saying it because that's what it takes. And if it takes 20 minutes, that's what it takes. But you can't stop, you can't have one second of let-up.

Q. Do you think Iowa is still in the team race? What are your thoughts on the team race right now?
MATT McDONOUGH: We're definitely in the team race. Obviously some guys have left here already with things they didn't want, but we still got seven guys left, and they're all fired up. And we gotta make our own breaks.
Obviously we want certain things to happen for other teams, but that's not the concern. It's seven individuals wrestling to the best they can do now. Three of them for first, four of them for third.
MODERATOR: Questions for Matt?

Q. Do you have to change the way you approach the match when you come in?
MATT McDONOUGH: You don't change necessarily the way you approach it. You're approaching it with the same attitude every time. Your awareness has to go up. Every single time you wrestle them, you've got to be more aware, you've got to be more ready, and you gotta feel comfortable going to what you know best.
And it took four matches, but I got my own single leg off. I hit it hard. I got the takedown. That's just what you gotta do is every single match, you gotta make an improvement, and that's what I was working for.

Q. Matt, you're going to face Robles for the first time. Right now he appears to be very hard at scoring because he's so low. How do you beat him?
MATT McDONOUGH: Go nose to nose, head to head, and scrap. Obviously it's no secret that the way he wrestles, you gotta adjust what you're doing a little bit. But that doesn't mean you're adjusting your aggressiveness, you're adjusting your pressure or anything else. It just means you're more aware in the positions you're in, and you gotta know where you're at at all times. Dangerous wrestler, you can't let him be dangerous. You gotta close him off and you got to wrestle your match.
MODERATOR: Any other questions for Matt. Okay? Thank you.
Joined here by Anthony Robles, No. 1 seed who's now 35-0 and going to the finals tomorrow. With that, we'll open it up to questions.

Q. In that match, Carter's a real strong kid, and you're used to wrestling kids that you're really strong compared to. What was that like with him being so physically big and you going out there not being able to put points on the board on top?
ANTHONY ROBLES: It was everything I expected. I wrestled Carter before when I was a freshman, I believe, and I remember how strong he was. He was definitely the strongest opponent I've ever faced. But the coaches and I came up with a good strategy before the match, just to stay patient.
And I think I made a few mistakes in my last match and tried to push some takedowns that weren't there and I paid for it and I gave up a takedown, almost gave up two. So this match, we really wanted to be patient and just stick with our game plan and slow the pace of the match and just really focus on taking those open shots and setting myself up.

Q. Anthony, obviously you came out with a different style where you went real low. Do you find that very typical now, that all these guys come up with just a different style to wrestle you that you perhaps have not scouted, and now facing McDonough tomorrow night, what do you expect?
ANTHONY ROBLES: I've seen the variety of different styles when wrestlers approach me. It's pretty much been the same since I wrestled in high school. It's nothing different, nothing new. It's just, I wait, I'll go out there and see what they're going to bring at me, and then I'll adjust my game based on what they do.
But it's just all about going out there and dominating every position and not making any mistakes, and that's what my coaches have been trying to push in my head. Don't make any mistakes, just stay patient.

Q. (Off Microphone)?
ANTHONY ROBLES: I don't know what he's going to bring to the table yet. I watched him. He's an intense wrestler. He's going to come at me, but I'm ready for it. I'm excited and I've been preparing all year, and I have one more match to win. He's a great competitor. Returning national champ, I have a lot respect for him, but he's standing in my way of reaching my trophy.
MODERATOR: Other questions?

Q. Semifinals. This is the round you had to get through to get towards your goal. What do you think was different this year for you, if anything, when you went out there and were able not only to compete well but win?
ANTHONY ROBLES: I think it was mostly my mental game. I was a lot more calm out there. Last year and the previous years in the quarter finals, semifinals, I was getting nervous. And especially in those close matches, if I wasn't scoring a lot of points, I would tighten up and start making mistakes.
This year it's a lot different. I'm a lot more calm out there. If the match is 0-0 or 1-1, really doesn't matter to me. I'm calm and it's almost like I'm slowing down the match. In my mind, everything is kind of slow motion and I'm controlling the match. So I think that's what the main difference is here from the others.
MODERATOR: Did you have a follow-up Gary?

Q. How excited are you that you've reached the finals now, and how are you going to approach your preparation for tomorrow?
ANTHONY ROBLES: I'm just going to keep preparing like I've been all year. I had it in my mind, I wanted to be a national champion. I trained for that. I went into every match like it was a national finals match. And that's really prepared me for where I am right now. It's going to be no different no than any other match.
This is national tournament, and as you've seen, there's guys that have been unseeded, low-ranked who were going into the finals who upset some big guys, so it's really who shows up this weekend.
And fortunately for me, I have so far. And I'm not finished yet. I got one more, so I'm gonna go home tonight and relax and just get ready for tomorrow. I'm excited.

Q. (Off Microphone)?
ANTHONY ROBLES: I don't know if I'm going to sleep too much tonight. I still -- I can't stop thinking about it. It's really starting to hit me that I'm in the finals, but luckily, we don't wrestle until tomorrow night, so I can take some naps tomorrow in the afternoon.
But I just thank God. He put me in this place. My mom always told me when I was younger that God made me this way for a reason, and I didn't understand what that meant, but I think that reason was for wrestling. I love the sport so much. It's been so good to me. It's like it's a family thing now. It's my life, it's my family's life. They're out there supporting me. And just winning one more match just to finish off my career would be a great thing, just not for myself but for my family as well.

Q. Anthony, after the first period it was scoreless. There seemed to be a hesitation from Ben's end when choosing top, bottom, or neutral, or deferring, watching you defer to him. And he took a long time, then he finally chose down. I heard like a grown from the crowd as if it was -- what was he thinking? He's going down on Anthony Robles. Is that what you wanted?
ANTHONY ROBLES: Really didn't matter to me. Ben's a strong dude. In any position, it's going to be a battle with him. He's a tough guy. But I think I really just have been trying to improve in every position, not just my top game, but I want to show that I'm a force from neutral, that you can't hold me if you're on top of me, that any position you pick, you're going to have a hard time with me.
And I think Ben realized that, that any position he was going to pick, I was going to go after him or give it a hundred percent. And that's all I can say.
I'm kind of glad he picked top. Gave me a chance to try to tilt him. Didn't happen.
But he's a strong dude. I'm just glad to walk away with the win.

Q. I watched you mob outside with all the fans running around. I think it was fabulous. One of the mothers there was wondering what profession are you -- have your eyes on after your career in wrestling?
ANTHONY ROBLES: I've been having a lot of people asking me if I was going to try for the Olympic team or freestyle. Really, that's not my favorite. I'm not a big freestyle wrestler. I love collegiate. So after this year, my wrestling days are over, competition-wise at least. I'll be in the room and stuff.
But really what I want to do is become a motivational speaker. I've been working with a professional speaker on the side, and we've been getting my speeches outlined and been practicing and stuff like that. So once wrestling is over, that's going to be my main focus. My next path is going to be speaking.
But I love wrestling and it's going to be with me for life, and I'll be around the sport forever.
MODERATOR: Anything else for Anthony?
Congratulations. Good luck tomorrow.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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