Two-Time Defending Pac-12 Wrestling Champions Meet with Media in Corvallis
March 5, 2013
Head Coach Jim Zalesky and 141-pounder Mike Mangrum talked with reporters outside the Dale Thomas Wrestling Room, Tuesday afternoon in Corvallis
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Two-time defending Pac-12 Champion Mike Mangrum (141 lbs.), joined his head coach, Jim Zalesky, who guided the Beaver Wrestling program to its second straight team title over the weekend, at the podium Tuesday to field questions from reporters.
Flanked by the 2011-12 and 2012-13 Pac-12 Championship trophies, the pair talked about OSU’s third conference title in the past four years as well as Mangrum’s second individual title during the last two seasons. The 141-pounder will also be representing OSU at the NCAA Championships for the fourth-straight season. *
The Beavers get back to the mats Wednesday, when they will practice for the first time following their team and individual victories in Tempe, Ariz. OSU secured three individual championships in the desert and will be sending at least seven wrestlers to the NCAA Championships, schedule for March 21-23 in Des Moines, Iowa.
Below is a transcript of the press conference, which took place outside of the Dale Thomas Wrestling Room in Corvallis.Oregon State head coach Jim Zalesky
On the winning back-to-back Pac-12 Championships…
“It is the first time we have won back-to-back titles since I have been here, so anytime you can get a streak going it means that the wrestlers are doing the right things and they are listening to the coaches. We saw a lot of that this weekend (at the Pac-12 Championships).
On his senior class and its production throughout the last four years…
“They came here when the program wasn’t where it is at right now, so they have kind of been the building blocks of our program. Chad Hanke, Mike (Mangrum), (Ty) Vinson, (Cody) Weishoff, those four seniors have been here for a long time and they’ve gone through a lot of growth as individuals and they’ve helped our team grow. They have all worked real hard and I think you’re seeing the fruits of their hard work.”
On all 10 wrestlers who competed at Pac-12’s finishing in the top three of their weight classes…
“We are set at seven guys (for NCAA’s) and it is the first time we have placed all 10 guys in the top three, which really helped out. They scored a lot of bonus points which helped win that tournament, so we are getting ready and I think a lot of it is that we are physically pretty ready. You can always get it up another notch a little bit, but the main thing is just getting mentally ready to wrestle and mentally getting ready for that tournament. That means thinking about what is going to go on and what is going to happen.”
On the progress made by senior Mike Mangrum’s during his OSU wrestling career…
“This is his fourth time going to the national tournament and he is the first one since I’ve been here that has gone to the national tournament all four years. The first two years he was there as a freshman and as a sophomore, but finally got All-American status last year. Sometimes if you get that All-American status, now you are looking for that national championship which I think he is. He came here (in 2008) as probably one of the top recruits in the country and was sold on Oregon State. He came when the program wasn’t where it is at now, so he has meant a lot to the program, he is fun to watch, fun to coach and is going to do well in two weeks (at NCAA’s).”
On wrestling at the NCAA’s versus the Pac-12 Championships…
“A lot of it is similar, again as I was just talking about what to expect, there are going to be eight mats and it is going to be crowded. Each round you have to be ready because sometimes you can get into trouble and start looking past your first opponent. Really you can’t do that, you just have to look at your first guy because you can’t control who you are going to wrestle in your next match. The only thing you can control is that first opponent and when you step on the mat, you are ready to go.”
Senior 141 pounder Mike Mangrum
On winning his second straight Pac-12 title…
“It’s always great to come out with a win. Getting the back-to-back is nice as well, and that means I’m the first 141 pounder ever to have the Pac-12 (team) title and to have back-to-back Pac-12 (individual) titles. It’s a really good feeling and like Jim (Zalesky) said, we just all did what the coaches told us to do and that’s what brought our Pac-12 title back this year.”
On being ready for the NCAA tournament …
“I have a few more weeks of training and I think I need to get in better shape as well as work on a few small tweaks in my technique, but I feel ready.”
On the possibility of becoming an NCAA Champion…
“I believe that I can. I just have to go out and do what Jim (Zalesky) tells me to do and wrestle as hard as I can for seven minutes or more, and just go for it. Last year and the years before I was tentative coming out to wrestle and I think the difference this year is going to be the fact that I’m going to go out there and attack from the whistle until times runs out.”
On being one win away from tying legendary OSU wrestler Les Gutches with 134 career victories…
“That is going to be huge. Coming to this school you hear a lot about the legendary wrestlers and Les Gutches is up there with them. It is a huge honor but he is a two-time national champion, so to really be able to stand up to what Les Gutches means to this school is to get a National Title, which is what I’m going for in a couple of weeks. But yes it is huge because just being able to be up there with those legendary wrestlers from a legendary program is a huge honor.”
On the difference in competing at the Pac-12 Championships as opposed to the NCAA’s…
“It’s going to be a little different for me going into the Nationals because none of the guys at the Pac-12’s were ranked. It’s not saying that they weren’t good, because those guys are actually pretty good from the Pac-12. But for me, just being ready to go out there and have my heart rate up and ready to hit attacks right away, right off the bat, that’s basically it as well as just be ready to compete.”
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