165 Pound Championship Q&A: Mark Perry

It wasn't easy for Mark Perry on Saturday night, but then again, it never has been. As he led his championship match 4-0 against Eric Tannenbaum of Michigan midway through the second period, Perry's recently repaired knee went out on him again. Perry was audibly in pain, but the Iowa coaches got him in the right frame of mind to finish the match and he did so with his second straight title...

Q: That match didn't go just the way you wanted it to. It didn't work in your favor, but you still won.

Mark Perry: I was real excited to get back out there and give it my best shot after the way I competed at the Big Ten's. I was ready to go. It was getting close, but in my mind, I came into the match 8-0. I felt really good out there, the best I have ever felt in a finals match. I was about to go up 5-0 with riding time. My knee popped, maybe I am getting too old. It hurt worse than the first time that I popped it, but it was in the inside not the outside. I don't know if that is better or worse. I have to give credit to my coaches. They told me to suck it up. You are not going to forfeit in the finals. I was settling on the defense after that, big time. I did as good as I could. I could hardly squat down in my stance without caving in. This isn't the way I wanted to finish my career, but I guess in a way I have learned a lot and I found a way to win. It wasn't the way I wanted to, but the way things went for me, I had to suck it up and find a way to win.

Q: Was your first takedown big?

Perry: Yeah. It was all to Tom Brands right there, being ready off the whistle. I am not very fundamental. Brands loves just solid stuff, that is as solid as it gets from me. I had my legs back, had a good angle and I got an easy go behind. Maybe not the way that Metcalf or Slaton or someone else would. But he didn't get to my leg from the start. I gave him my leg so I could get a good angle and get my legs in. I felt like I did a really good job the first period. Things were going good. I wished my knee wouldn't have popped, because he was about to be in some deep danger in the scramble and he got my knee. But maybe that is a good lesson. I never will wrestle him again, I have wrestled him five times and he has popped my knee three out of the five times. Maybe you don't give your leg up to him. I won and it wasn't pretty. But I won the nationals.

Q: When you got injured, were your afraid that you were not going to be able to finish the match?

Perry: I would have finished no matter what, even if it was totally blown out. I would never forfeit in the finals of the nationals. But if I didn't have this coaching staff and those two energizer bunnies in my corner…I think they got my head pretty straight pretty quick. They said there is 3:30 left. Suck it up. You are up 4-0, just stay solid, stay in a good stance and try to get your legs back. They got me straightened out. I was panicking pretty bad at first. They grabbed me by my face and said there was 3:30 left in my career, and that I could take care of it and see what is wrong with it later.

Q: You have won back to back individual titles, but this year, you won a team title. Does that mean more to you this time around?

Perry: Way more. This is way more important. Winning the team title is way more important than winning an individual this year. I won't lie; it feels real good considering everything I have been through, with knee surgery this year. I went five straight weeks, 40 some days without drilling or getting on the mat one time. I had three weeks to get ready for the nationals. I think I did as good as I could have with the circumstance.

Q: How much pain were in during the last 03:30?

Perry: A lot. I don't know how to explain it. I was just trying to stay down. I was surprised he really didn't go after it. Enough that I couldn't do anything, but get in a stance and sprawl.

Q: Have you been able to put your Iowa career in perspective at all? You were quoted earlier this week about the expectations at Iowa…you grew up in the Oklahoma State family, how different were they?

Perry: The expectations? Not much, to tell you the truth. Iowa, it's quite a bit more and Oklahoma State is second. Their fans expect a lot, the wrestlers expect a lot out of themselves. At Iowa, the state of Iowa seems to be in love with wrestling more. I have been everywhere throughout the country, and there is no place like Iowa when it comes to wrestling.

Q: Brent Metcalf said yesterday that he loves having 14,000 people against him. Do you like being disliked?

Perry: Not really. No. I don't. Brent might. (Laughs)

Q: Do you feed off of it?

Perry: I just have fun. I am just goofy. I go hang out and talk to the Missouri fans, I would do that right now. It's just fun for me. No, I don't like being disliked, but it doesn't hurt my feelings, either.

Hawkeye Insider Top Stories