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March 18, 2011

Ryan Flores

Zach Rey


285-lb. Championship

MODERATOR: We're joined by 285 pound Ryan Flores from American University, advances to the Finals. Improves 26 and 5. We'll start with questions.

Q. Ryan, first of all, I have a question for Mark Cody. Mark Cody has believed in you the entire season. He told me at the very beginning to watch this kid; he's going to get better and better. You've done it with a smile on your face. Talk to us about the season. It's been a rapid and great improvement by you as we've progressed.
RYAN FLORES: Well, I'll start off with a little story. The first thing Mark Cody ever said to me, I shook his hand after a dual meet when I was at my old university. First words the man said to me ever was, shook my hand, took me in close, and said: Son, you're the best heavy weight in the country, you just don't know it yet.
Since I've been at American, I've heard it so many times. And the progression really was just believing what Cody was telling me, believing in the fact that he believes in me.
And I started strong. I felt like I had good performance. I wrestled Jarod in the beginning of the year at the All-Star dual and I felt good. But the difference between that match and this match was I was chasing to try and get the win. And I was relying a lot on my natural ability instead of what's been engrained in my.
And I think that's what's making all the difference in the world is falling back on what I've learned from all my mentors and all my coaches over the years.
And now under Mark Cody, believing in everything he's telling me, drilling all the technique he's showing me. Relying on that instead of, if you guys have followed me in the years past, relied on a lot on my funky ability and my scrambling. And it's not what it's about anymore, it's about being the best all the time in every single position. And I think that's what's made the transformation.

Q. Ryan, will you talk about the last couple minutes, though, when he did try to throw you at the end; did you feel a little that you were in trouble at all?
RYAN FLORES: I didn't. When we were standing up I didn't think he had the energy and at the time he didn't have the strength to launch me. And I knew my hips were in lower, more powerful at the position. And when I stepped in, when he tried to roll me, I was completely comfortable when he hit the mat, he sprung up. And that's a testament to his level of athleticism. And he's a great athlete, which is why he almost got those points right there.
So I was comfortable all the way through to the point where I scared myself a little bit, when I hit my head there. But seven minutes, always wrestle seven minutes every single position, never stop, and that's why I ended up with the win there.

Q. The last round you talked about how you were scoring points and wrestling the way you wanted to. But you thought you would have a close one, if not in the next round, before the tournament was over. And this one ended up that way. What do you think was the difference for you? Was it conditioning? Was it just the belief in yourself? Was it your technical skills? A slim difference between winning and losing a close match with a good guy.
RYAN FLORES: I completely agree. I think there's a very small difference. And while it may be the extra pushup or pullup. At this point in my career, the level of competition we're at now, it's just the summation of everything I've been doing since I was a little kid making the dream of being here at the NCAA. And in terms of winning a match, a close match like that, it comes down to conditioning, which at American we push very hard all the time and really belief and refusal to lose. And I do refuse to lose. So I think that's what pushes me over the edge there.

Q. Ryan, you're actually from California, though. Went out east. Columbia, then American University. Could you talk about that trip, what this has been like?
RYAN FLORES: Okay. Well, I think I'm the kind of person who adapts to surroundings fairly easily. And when I was in high school I told myself I wouldn't leave California. I'm a California boy. But I knew in my heart that a lot of the bigger wrestling and more exposures is on East Coast, and I had to do what's best for me. So I left for Columbia.
And I learned a lot of things there. Most importantly is that on the East Coast is where I needed to be and I needed to find, everything in my situation I needed to make sure it was adding up to be the best possible situation for me.
And so while being in New York was a good part of the situation, other factors were not so conducive to my success. And so while transferring to American I knew I had to stay on East Coast.
And it just seemed right. It was the best fit for me, a good heavy weight coach, and the kind of team who has no tolerance for any shenanigans that are the big reasons why guys aren't lasting to the last day. Or aren't making it to the All-American rounds is because at American we always make good decisions all time. We always live like champions. And that's the best situation for me.
So ultimately it seemed like fate was going to have me land at AU because that's just the place I needed to be.

Q. Could you talk about your finals matchup? Zach Rey. And he obviously was your final opponent in the conference meet.
RYAN FLORES: Okay. Well, I said it before in a couple other interviews, we're 2 and 2. What can I say about Zach Rey? He's a great competitor. He knows how to win.
While our styles are very different, I think, as I said before, I'm the kind of person who adapts really well.
I lost to him twice this year earlier. I won this last one. And I think it's going to go in my favor.
I pray to God it will go in my favor this time tomorrow. I think I'm learning more and more about his style and my style.
I have so many weapons that I'm slowly learning which shot or which motions are going to work best for me. And I think I'm going to bag up a national championship tomorrow.
MODERATOR: Anything else for Ryan? Congratulations. Good luck tomorrow.
We're joined by the No. 1 seed, 285, Zach Rey, who improves to 33 and 1 with the win tonight on to the Finals. Questions for Zach at this time.

Q. Zach, the strategy of waiting, going to the riding time, was that what you had in mind all along, or is that just kind of the way the match went?
ZACH REY: Bradley is a real defensive wrestler. Has great reattacks and spin behinds. So I didn't want to come out of position. I wanted to wrestle a smart match. And I did that. And I'm comfortable riding him, being on top.
So when it came down to me having to ride him for a minute and three seconds, in order to get to that point, I knew what I had to do and that's what I was going to do.

Q. You have another shot at Flores in the Finals. Any thoughts about the match that happened at the conference meet and also your previous matches against him?
ZACH REY: I'm excited to wrestle him again. Left a sour taste in my mouth last time I wrestled him, and I'm happy to get another shot at him. I'm real comfortable wrestling him last time in the Finals, the AWAs.
I had two dominating positions I should have scored and I didn't end up finishing. But this time I worked on those positions, so I feel comfortable.

Q. Zach, can you talk a little bit about what it means to be here in the Finals with all those Lehigh people up in the stands, and you and Robert going for national championships tomorrow?
ZACH REY: It's great to have a great following. A lot of alumni and fans are here, following us at Lehigh. They're great fans. And it's nice to here somebody cheering for you up in the stands. It's pretty nice.

Q. We talked to a couple Jersey boys that are also in the Finals. And they talked a little bit about being able to compete not far from home. I was curious, with the Nationals here on the East Coast and you in the Finals, what kind of meaning that has for you.
ZACH REY: It is nice that more of my family members can come out to this tournament, being that it is so close to home, being two hours away from home. So it's nice to have family here and be able to see a couple friendly faces.

Q. You've had a very good season. But you've had a lot of close matches. You finally had the loss. But do you feel that the season this year as it's gone along and you've had tests for all season long, has made you even stronger and more confident going into the Finals?
ZACH REY: I wrestle confident, I wrestle strength positions. I know where I'm good and know where I'm not. So I stick to what I'm good at. And it's worked out for the most part. I fell short in that one match and that just makes me more confident for this next match coming up.

Q. How will you prepare for Flores for the Nationals. I know you beat him at Lehigh. And he beat you at the Easterns. But how are you going to prepare for him for tomorrow's Finals.
ZACH REY: Tomorrow I'm going to do my normal routine. I'll come in in the morning, get a workout with my coach. Get a good row in. And I'll be ready to wrestle, ready to finish hard and come to win the National title.
MODERATOR: Congratulations.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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