NCAA Championships Post-Semifinals Press Conference Interviews – Dylan Ness and Tony Nelson
Interview with: DYLAN NESS
Q. Talk about what today has been like. You wake up the seventh seed and now you’re in the championship.
DYLAN NESS: It’s been an amazing, amazing feeling. Just thanking God for putting me here, putting me on this team, putting me in this place, just everything He’s given me and done for me. Treating me with those losses so I can learn from them, become better.
Q. We know your opponent, Frank Molinaro. Your thoughts on another match with him?
DYLAN NESS: It’s going to be a great match. I’ve lost to him three times this year. But tomorrow night on that stage for that seven minutes, those losses don’t matter anymore. Comes down to one match.
Q. I don’t mean to keep on the subject of those three losses, but as a competitor, you have to forget about them. Those losses have to be difficult to forget about, especially the Big Ten championship.
DYLAN NESS: Yeah, they’ve been real difficult to forget about ‘em. But just with the Lord helping me, just asking Him to keep that pressure off me, also my coaches and brother, just keep pushing me. After that Big Ten loss, I had my father just telling me getting second in the Big Tens is a great thing to have and be that for a freshman, just to come back and learn from it, keep learning from these things. Just forget about that loss, especially now that I’m in the finals with him. And nothing else matters except for that seven minutes on the stage.
Q. Talk about having your brother in your corner. How much does he help you overcome the Big Ten loss?
DYLAN NESS: Having my brother in the coach’s corner is amazing. I never even expected it when I was growing up. I just never figured that he would be a coach, be in that position he is now. It’s amazing for him to be there in my corner for me.
Q. Not talking about this tournament, but the last two Big Ten tournaments, Frank went through there and I don’t think an opponent scored a point against him. What makes it so hard to score on him? His style?
DYLAN NESS: He’s just stays low. I guess it doesn’t help that I’m 6′, 149 pounder and he’s 5′, and five feet wide (laughter.) Yeah, he’s tough to score on, stays low, gets the head position down when you shoot. He’s pretty quick, too. I’ve taken him down, too, so I just have to figure it out tomorrow night.
Q. Tonight you were able to go on the offense right away. As a freshman what did that mean to take control?
DYLAN NESS: Yeah, it means a lot to come out and get that lead right away which helped me out a lot at the end, considering he took me down at the end. Just like Becker and my brother told me, get on my offense right away and just believe the whole time that I can get my offense going and take him down, just keep pressure when I get on top.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Dylan.
An interview with: ANTHONY NELSON
Q. Tell me your thoughts about qualifying for the finals.
ANTHONY NELSON: Yeah, you know, it’s something you work for your whole life. It’s what I’ve been working for all season. It’s a great accomplishment just to make it there, hopefully to win it tomorrow.
Q. Tony, I believe when you came out of high school, you may have been undersized. With the tradition of the heavyweight at Minnesota, what does that do to help you doing what you’re doing right now?
ANTHONY NELSON: I came in at about 225. A little smaller guy. Worked on getting bigger. Just got that tradition, like you said. Cole Konrad, Brock Lesnar, Garrett Lowney, all those guys. I got to work out with some of them. Heavyweight before me was Ben Berhow. I worked with him all year long. I think that’s been huge for me.
Q. Coming into your freshman year, did you foresee all this success?
ANTHONY NELSON: Coming in, you’re hoping for good things to happen. It’s a long season. College wrestling is a hard fought battle every time you go out there. It feels great to be where I am. I just thank God for everything He’s done for me, all the successes I’ve had.
Q. Tony, obviously it was a tough morning for Minnesota. It’s an individual sport, so you focus on yourself. To make it to the finals, how important is that for your squad?
ANTHONY NELSON: Yeah, it was a rough start. Penn State has a big lead on us. I don’t know if we can catch them or not. Making it to the finals with the other guys in the wrestlebacks, kind of shows them we still got some fight in there. I think a lot have been winning here in these last couple matches, couple rounds. We’re going to do what we can and hopefully that picks them up.
Q. You’re a pretty active heavyweight, maybe because you were a lighter guy. Talk about things you had to work on to be good at this.
ANTHONY NELSON: It’s a completely different style of wrestling. You can see it when you’re out there. It’s a lot slower paced. It’s just hard to move a guy that big around. I try working on just staying active, moving my feet. I kind of like to try and wrestle like a smaller guy if I can and wear those bigger guys out, take some energy out of them, so…
Q. You’ll be wrestling the defending champion in the finals. Do you have any matches against Zach? If not, he’s one of those big strong guys.
ANTHONY NELSON: I’ve never wrestled him so far. I almost had him last year, but I lost in the second round. You know, I’m excited to go out there, get a chance to knock off the defending national champ. I’m just going to, like I said, be active, move, try and wear him out, see what I can do.
Q. Want to take us through the final 30 seconds of the semifinal match.
ANTHONY NELSON: We were both kind of feeling it there. We were both kind of tired. It was a good match as we were going. I knew he was going to try and sweep to that right side. I felt it coming. I saw an opening and I tried to run around as hard as I could. He was able to scramble real well with me. But I caught behind the arm, inside the thigh. I was able to hold him there for two, so…
Q. Talk a little bit about your team. You won the National Duals. You have some leadership that probably helped you along. Talk about the legacy and the season you had as a group.
ANTHONY NELSON: We have a great team. J Robinson, head coach, he’s a great guy. He knows how to get the team ready for everything. Winning the National Duals was really exciting. It’s a team championship. It’s not a bunch of individuals. You had to win it as a team. That’s really exciting for us. It shows that we got a lot of young guys, a good future ahead of us, so…
MODERATOR: Thank you, Tony. Good luck tomorrow.
ANTHONY NELSON: Thank you, guys.