NCAA Champ Chris Pendleton Enjoying Life

• When did you start wrestling? <BR><BR> I started getting really competitive and involved my eight-grade year. I started wrestling in sixth grade but it was more of an after-school thing. I was doing that and swimming. I was going from wrestling practice straight to swimming practice and it was more of just a hobby, something my dad wanted me to do. But I started having a little bit more success, and started doing that more and swimming less until I finally decided to give up swimming.

• Did you set some personal goals in the beginning of the season?

Just to win a national title and to go undefeated. Those were my two main goals and then to help the team win a national title.

• What type of emotions came inside of you when you realized you had just became a National champion?

First, all you think about is the match because that's what you tell yourself is. You don't really think about of the match as the one for the national title. You think of it as another match.

When the match ended, I had won by seven points, I was a point short from my major decision, I was mad at myself for not getting a major decision. But I looked at my coaches, and normally they would be mad if I didn't get the major decision, but they were smiling and happy. I looked at (Mark) Branch and he just looked at me and was like: "You just won a national title". Then it kind of started setting on me that I had just won a national title. It was more of a sense of relief, I just felt exhaustion coming all over my body because the whole six months were finally done

• What is the atmosphere like at nationals?

Mentally, it's three days of solid thinking about wrestling and that is something that you don't have during the year, because you can let your tension waver and just think about other things. But we were in pretty mush solitary confinement in out hotel rooms. They took away our cell phones, and all you got to do is just go wrestle, make weight, come back, and sit in the room. Jake (Rosholt) and I did not really talk, we watched some TV and then go to bed. Then wake up the next morning and wrestle again

• What kind of attitude do you adopt before a big match?

I don't even think about the match until about an hour before. I found that is the best way to keep myself from stressing out. Because if you think about it all week, it's gonna constantly weight on you and I found out I don't have my best performances when I think about it too much. So, I just don't even think about it until an hour before. Then I start having the adrenaline going, and I start focusing on myself, how I feel. Start listening to a little music to get my blood flowing.

• What did you have to sacrifice?

During the season, you have to pretty much give up your normal life. About half of the time, we are not even regular college kids. We are constantly training and going to school the rest of the time. We don't really have much time to go out. While the other people are going out and having fun, you are going to bed early because you have to get up early to go to practice

• How hard is it to make weight?

It's different for everybody. Some guys have to lose a little bit more weight. I'm a little bit lucky to where I don't have to lose as much weight. I have a really good metabolism and I burn off a lot of weight. But it's just a constantly having to make weight every weekend starts to have a toll on you and by the end of the year your body just gets so use to it and it's not as hard anymore.

• How did you mentally cope with the length of the season?

I ended my season last year on a loss so that kept me pretty motivated throughout the whole summer. You start craving that competition eventually and you get excited about the season to start. It is until about half of the season when you start feeling fatigue and you're like: "When is it going to be over? When is nationals gonna get here?" There is really nothing you can do to prepare for a long season. It will break down even the toughest competitor if you think about it too much. You just have to take it day-by-day

• Do you have any rituals before a match?

Not any solid rituals. I have a good luck necklace that I got from our coach's mom. She gave me a necklace with a St. Christopher on it. I wear it all the way up until I start warming up then I take it off, and then when I'm done- I put it back on.

• How do you relax in your spare time?

Just hang out with my friends. I am a homebody, I like hanging out at home. I like weight-boarding and playing volleyball. That's about it.

• What are your plans for the off season?

I'm gonna take a couple of more weeks off. Let my body heal, there are some injuries that will need some time to heal up. And then, I think this year we're gonna have a lot of guys training and so I have to get back ont track for training, working out here and there. Working on things that I need to improve on and just hanging out.

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