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March 21, 2014

Jimmy Sheptock


(Maryland) (35-0)

Q.  You heard how you were introduced as a first time in 45 years, your thoughts about that.
JIMMY SHEPTOCK:  It's really exciting.  I mean, I didn't even know until the coaches said it after I walked off the mat.  I know we have two national champs in history.  So I'm looking to make it a third.  Pretty excited about that.

Q.  Talk a little bit about the challenge of facing Ed Ruth who has won this tournament a couple times, is a three‑time finalist, and obviously is a very talented opponent.
JIMMY SHEPTOCK:  All I have to say is obviously he's a really good wrestler.  I want to win just as bad as everyone else.  There's been a whole lot of upsets this tournament.  So, I mean, everyone's watching this and watching the March Madness basketball.  So you know anything can happen out there.

Q.  You had mentioned a lot of the No. 1 seeds including this tournament have gone down.  Your thoughts about that, in fact, when you saw you had the No. 1 seed, did you want it?
JIMMY SHEPTOCK:  I mean, I like my path to get to the Finals.  I didn't wrestle any guys throughout the year.  So kind of first time, there was no really adjustments for the other guys.  And, I mean, if you get the No. 1 seed, I feel like the seeding staff knew I was deserving of it.  And just on to the Finals.  I don't know what else to say.

Q.  Jimmy, last year you were All‑American.  How did that impact your training this year to try to get to the Finals?
JIMMY SHEPTOCK:  My main goal wasn't just to become an All‑American this year.  There was obviously a lot of pressure coming into the tournament to place again, get to the Finals, seeing as I was the No. 1 seed.
And being here last year, I know what it's like in those later rounds, and I know what it takes to get the Ws in those rounds and everyone is fighting really hard.  Blood, sweat, tears are out there on the line for everyone.
And I just felt like I was more ready this year, and I went into the coach's office at the beginning of the year, and usually my goal is become an All‑American or win my last match, which would mean I All‑Americaned.
And my goal this year was at the beginning of the year when we went in the meeting with Kerry was to become a national champ.
So one more match, and I'll achieve my goal.

Q.  Could you talk a little bit about the program at Maryland.  Obviously they're talking about the first finalist, but you've been on a team that's continued to improve and really make a name for itself in the college community, and the coaching staff and teammates and the things that helped you get to this part of your journey?
JIMMY SHEPTOCK:  I mean, I can't say enough about the coaching staff.  Kerry is one of the best coaches I've ever had.  Probably the best coach.  And he brings in other guys like Tyrone Lewis, Catullo, other guys that are really good coaches to further our wrestling abilities.
I came into college, I wasn't even‑‑ I was never a state semifinalist, never a state finalist.  I lost my first or second match in the state tournament, battled back for third.
So for them to take me in and realize my potential and kind of work from there, it speaks a lot about how much they're able to further a college athlete's wrestling career.

Q.  Maryland is about ready to join the Big Ten.  What would a national championship do for that program as they make that jump?
JIMMY SHEPTOCK:  I think it would gain a lot of respect for the program, hopefully bring in more top recruits so they know that University of Maryland can produce national champions, All‑Americans.
And I think they have a really bright future.  This is my last year, so I don't know what the future holds for me past this year, but I know that the coaches will obviously keep bringing good guys in.  And other high school kids seeing Maryland on a national stage obviously is going to help out.

Q.  You talked about your goals at the beginning of the season.  Was going undefeated one of them?  Because you have that opportunity, and there are very few undefeated people walking around this gym.
JIMMY SHEPTOCK:  To be honest, that wasn't one of my goals.  My goals were win Midlands, so check, and become a national champion, and so that one's still pending.
I can't remember what the third one is.  Do you remember, Coach?  It was probably something like keep my weight down or something.  Even though I don't have to worry about my weight.
So one more and I'll fulfill both my goals for the college year, and it will be one of the best seasons in college history.

Q.  More of a crazy question.  The guy who was yelling your name, do you hear him?
JIMMY SHEPTOCK:  Yeah, Robin Ficker.

Q.  Your thoughts on this guy?
JIMMY SHEPTOCK:  I think it's pretty hard not to hear him out there.  It's pretty cool.  He first came a few years ago to one of the Navy matches, and everyone is like:  Who is this guy?  He brought a trumpet.  We didn't really know which team he was rooting for in the beginning, and as the match went on, we kind of figured it was for Maryland.  Then he started to keep coming to all our stuff.  He's a great fan.
He comes to basically everything we have.  He gets the rest of the crowd into it.  So maybe they're watching an Iowa match or Minnesota match, because that's what most of the fans are here.  And he'll start yelling, "Headlock, Sheptock," getting more people into it.
The more people's eyes on my match, it makes it more exciting for me.  And it's fun to wrestle when people are eyes on you and you're the center of the stage.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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