The nation's No. 2-ranked 157-pound wrestler, Mike Poeta of Illinois, believes the time has come to show he's No. 1.
"I have tunnel vision right now," said the junior from Highland Park High School who finished third in the NCAA championships and fourth in the Big Ten championships as a sophomore and was third in the conference meet as a freshman. "I'm looking forward to St. Louis (site of the NCAA championships on March 20-22).
"I have another year, but I don't want to say: 'There's always next year.' I don't want to wait a year to get that national title. I want it now.
"I've taken a couple of lumps and that's normal in college wrestling -- right now my body is feeling the best it ever has and mentally I feel I can beat anyone."
Poeta is taking a 26-2 record into the conference tournament Saturday and Sunday at Minnesota. His February losses were to Michigan's Jeff Marsh (9-6 decision) and Indiana's Brandon Becker (3-2 decision).