McDonough Set for Title Match

March 18, 2011

Written by Jon Miller

Hawkeye Nation

Q.  What was your biggest concern considering you have faced him so many times this year?
MATT McDONOUGH:  It’s going to be a hard fight.  He’s not going to give me nothing.  I’m not going to give him nothing, and it’s going to go the full seven minutes.  Expecting a seven minute match and more if need be.  And you got to make your own breaks because that’s not a guy who’s going to give them to you.

Q.  Why were you able to score right away when you were not able to in the first period?
MATT McDONOUGH:  Just persistent offense, going to what I know best and creating an opening.  Not waiting for something, not reacting, but creating.  Creating my own offense and being the aggressor.
MODERATOR:  For the next question, please raise your hand so we could get a microphone to you.  If you could identify yourself as well, please.

Q.  That pace that you keep pushing throughout the year, what kind of match do you want to take to the finals tomorrow night?
MATT McDONOUGH:  High pace.  Wearing on him.  Doesn’t matter which guy it is.  He’s going to come out there and he’s going to want a national title just as bad as I do.  And he keeps pushing the pace, not letting up.  Wrestle him seven minutes.  I said it over and over all year, but I’ll keep saying it because that’s what it takes.  And if it takes 20 minutes, that’s what it takes.  But you can’t stop, you can’t have one second of letup.

MODERATOR:  Questions for Matt?

Q.  Do you have to change the way you approach the match when you come in?

MATT McDONOUGH:  You don’t change necessarily the way you approach it.  You’re approaching it with the same attitude every time.  Your awareness has to go up.  Every single time you wrestle them, you’ve got to be more aware, you’ve got to be more ready, and you got to feel comfortable going to what you know best. And it took four matches, but I got my own single leg off.  I hit it hard.  I got the takedown.  That’s just what you got to do is every single match, you got to make an improvement, and that’s what I was working for.

Q.  Matt, you’re going to face Robles for the first time.  Right now he appears to be very hard at scoring because he’s so low.  How do you beat him?

MATT McDONOUGH:  Go nose to nose, head to head, and scrap.  Obviously it’s no secret that the way he wrestles, you got to adjust what you’re doing a little bit.  But that doesn’t mean you’re adjusting your aggressiveness, you’re adjusting your pressure or anything else.  It just means you’re more aware in the positions you’re in, and you got to know where you’re at, at all times.  Dangerous wrestler, you can’t let him be dangerous.  You got to close him off and you got to wrestle your match.

MODERATOR:  Any other questions for Matt.  Okay?  Thank you.

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MODERATOR: Joined here by Anthony Robles, No. 1 seed who’s now 35-0 and going to the finals tomorrow.  With that, we’ll open it up to questions.

Q.  Anthony, obviously you came out with a different style where you went real low.  Do you find that very typical now, that all these guys come up with just a different style to wrestle you that you perhaps have not scouted, and now facing McDonough tomorrow night, what do you expect?

ANTHONY ROBLES:  I’ve seen the variety of different styles when wrestlers approach me.  It’s pretty much been the same since I wrestled in high school.  It’s nothing different, nothing new.  It’s just, I wait, I’ll go out there and see what they’re going to bring at me, and then I’ll adjust my game based on what they do. But it’s just all about going out there and dominating every position and not making any mistakes, and that’s what my coaches have been trying to push in my head.  Don’t make any mistakes, just stay patient.

Q.  Facing McDonough tomorrow night, what do you expect?

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ANTHONY ROBLES:  I don’t know what he’s going to bring to the table yet.  I watched him.  He’s an intense wrestler.  He’s going to come at me, but I’m ready for it.  I’m excited and I’ve been preparing all year, and I have one more match to win.  He’s a great competitor.  Returning national champ, I have a lot respect for him, but he’s standing in my way of reaching my trophy.

Q.  Semifinals.  This is the round you had to get through to get towards your goal.  What do you think was different this year for you, if anything, when you went out there and were able not only to compete well but win?
ANTHONY ROBLES:  I think it was mostly my mental game.  I was a lot more calm out there.  Last year and the previous years in the quarter finals, semifinals, I was getting nervous.  And especially in those close matches, if I wasn’t scoring a lot of points, I would tighten up and start making mistakes.

This year it’s a lot different.  I’m a lot more calm out there.  If the match is 00 or 11, really doesn’t matter to me.  I’m calm and it’s almost like I’m slowing down the match.  In my mind, everything is kind of slow motion and I’m controlling the match.  So I think that’s what the main difference is here from the others.

Q.  How excited are you that you’ve reached the finals now, and how are you going to approach your preparation for tomorrow?

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ANTHONY ROBLES:  I’m just going to keep preparing like I’ve been all year.  I had it in my mind, I wanted to be a national champion.  I trained for that.  I went into every match like it was a national finals match.  And that’s really prepared me for where I am right now.  It’s going to be no different than any other match.

This is a national tournament, and as you’ve seen, there’s guys that have been unseeded, low ranked who were going into the finals who upset some big guys, so it’s really who shows up this weekend.

And fortunately for me, I have so far.  And I’m not finished yet.  I got one more, so I’m going to go home tonight and relax and just get ready for tomorrow.  I’m excited.

Q.  Are you going to get any sleep tonight?

ANTHONY ROBLES:  I don’t know if I’m going to sleep too much tonight.  I still  I can’t stop thinking about it.  It’s really starting to hit me that I’m in the finals, but luckily, we don’t wrestle until tomorrow night, so I can take some naps tomorrow in the afternoon.

But I just thank God.  He put me in this place.  My mom always told me when I was younger that God made me this way for a reason, and I didn’t understand what that meant, but I think that reason was for wrestling.  I love the sport so much.  It’s been so good to me.  It’s like it’s a family thing now.  It’s my life, it’s my family’s life.  They’re out there supporting me.  And just winning one more match just to finish off my career would be a great thing, just not for myself but for my family as well.

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