Feb. 17, 2011

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CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State redshirt freshman Scott Sakaguchi and the Beavers are preparing for the Pac-10 Championships on Feb. 27 at legendary Gill Coliseum.

The Beavers are expected to contend for their second-consecutive title next Sunday, and Sakaguchi is a large reason for that potential as he has been one of the most consistent wrestlers on the team in 2010-11. He leads the team with 22 overall victories and is second with seven pins ? he has yet to be pinned by an opponent during his Oregon State career.

He had a seven-bout win streak in late December, which is the second-longest streak for any Oregon State wrestler this season.

OSUBeavers.com, the official online home of Oregon State Athletics, recently caught up with Sakaguchi to learn a little bit more about him.

How did you end up at Oregon State?
?One of my coaches talked to (coach Jim) Zalesky at a dual against UC Davis that we went to watch when I was a senior in high school and he put in a good word for me. Then I kept in contact with the coaches and they were impressed with how I progressed through my senior season and the rest was history?

What would you say is the biggest difference between high school and college wrestling?
?The biggest difference is the level of intensity and dedication that you have to carry with you day in and day out.?

What is life like outside wrestling?
?Life outside of wrestling is a lot of fun. Mostly I just hang out with guys on the team and we do things like disk golf when the weather is nice, or play video games.?

What does it mean to you for Oregon State to be the defending Pac-10 Champions going into post-season?
?It means a lot. It means that every time we put on that black and orange singlet the other guy knows that they are in for the hardest seven minutes they can possible stand if they plan on getting past us.?

What is like to wrestle under Coach Jim Zalesky and the rest of the coaching staff?
?It is really nice. There is just so much knowledge between the coaches on wrestling technique and their philosophy it is truly amazing. Not to mention all the coaches are some of the most selfless people I know. They would give up all their time just to see me succeed or improve in a certain position.?

What does it mean to you to have the fan support that the wrestling team has at Oregon State? (With more than 3,000 in the Endowment Meet on Jan. 30)
?It really is so nice to have the fan base we have and it means the world to us. That is what we train so hard for, to be entertainers for those people and without them then there is nobody to see our hard work pay off. Compared to everywhere else we go I do truly believe we have the best fans out there.?

What is your typical routine before duals or tournaments?
?It?s the same thing every time I make the weight; get some food and drink in me and relax for a couple minutes. Then I warm up and then before my match I listen to some music and then I recite one thing to myself in my head. It is from my high school coach. He always used to tell me, ?Nobody tougher, nobody mentally or physically tougher.? Then I go out there and wrestle.?

Were you involved in other sports other than wrestling during high school or earlier?
?In high school I played baseball my freshman year but decided to give it up to concentrate on wrestling.?

Do you have a favorite sport to watch or attend outside wrestling at Oregon State?
?Not really although I do try to make it to at least one of every sporting event on campus to show some support.?

What TV show can you see yourself on and why?
?Spartacus because we are the modern-day gladiators.?

Name one thing Beaver fans would be surprised to learn about you?
?My parents started me wrestling when I was young because I used to get picked on at school. So they signed me up for karate and wrestling.?

Who has been the most influential person in your career?
?My parents because they have always been the most supportive people ever and have never let me sell myself short, always telling me I can do better and the sky?s the limit. Also Ben Holcher; he was one of my high school coaches and is much like a brother to me.?

What is your favorite sporting event of the year?
?Wrestling NCAA championships. I have watched it every year since I was very young.?

What has been your favorite road trip so far this season?
?My favorite road trip this year has been the tournament in Las Vegas at the beginning of the season.?

How do you pass time in road trips?
?Just relaxing or hanging out in a room with most the guys on the team watching TV or on the Internet.?

What would be your advice to the high school kids or younger that want to compete in college?
?Set you goals high and go to sleep every night knowing that you mentally or physically did something or made a sacrifice necessary to reach your goal.?

When your career finishes at Oregon State, what do you want people to remember the most about you?
?My tenacity and hard-nosed style and that I was the guy nobody wanted to wrestle.?

What is your major at Oregon State and how did you end up making that decision?
?My major here at Oregon State is business. I picked this major because my mom is an accountant and she persuaded me to go into that major saying it would be good for me. So far she has been right because I really enjoy it.?

How did redshirting your first year help you with the season you have had so far?
?It helped me a lot. I needed that year to mature and fine-tune many of the flaws in my wrestling. It also helped me watching our team at the Pac 10's and seeing their success and it drove me to be in there with them the next year.?

Coming out of a strong wrestling program in Clovis, how did that help you adjust to training in college?
?It made it much easier to adjust. I was already used to the amount of sacrifices that needed to be made since my high school team trains year-round much like we do here in college and the overall philosophy is much the same as I had in high school; we wrestle with high pressure to dominate our opponent.?

You were determined to win the state championship your senior season of high school. How much of that motivation came over to college?
?It is everything to me; I think about it every single day. That feeling you get knowing that all your sacrifices have brought the results of knowing you?re the best, nobody can ever take that away from me.* It is the most addicting feeling you can ever have, knowing of all those people out there on that day you were better than all of them and that almost floating feeling as you walk around for the next couple days afterward. It is what drives me to win as many NCAA championships as I can.?

Support Oregon State University Athletics by making your tax deductible donation to the Beaver Athletic Student Fund. For more information follow this link or call 541-737-2370. You can make an "everyday champion."Follow Beaver Athletics on Twitter.


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