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Barry Davis: "Okay. A little bit about the NCAA. They're in Oklahoma City this year. We're taking six out of our 10 athletes to the NCAA championships. Every kid that's going back to the NCAAs is a former NCAA qualifier except for Dallas Herbst. We're taking Collin Cudd at 125, Tom Clum at 133, Eddie Gutnik at 141, Tyler Turner at 149, Craig Henning at 157, and Dallas Herbst at 197.
"Like I said before, they're all former NCAA qualifiers, with Tom being a returning All-American. He took third last year. Except for Dallas Herbst; he's a redshirt freshman. If you want to talk about the seeds, right now it looks like Tom Clum would be a three seed, Craig Henning probably a four or five seed, and Tyler Turner would be an eight or nine seed. Collin Cudd, Eddie Gutnik, and Dallas Herbst will be thrown in their brackets, with their bracket.
"Brackets come out tomorrow around noon and you can check our website, the brackets will be out at that time. The only way a bracket can change is if an athlete does not make weight. They've got to redraw the whole bracket that way. But Tom winning his second Big Ten championship, and don't know if you know it or not, they're calling that the match of the century. His match went almost 12 minutes; it went to a triple overtime. So it's a pretty exciting match. Any questions for Tom or I? Go ahead."
Tom, did it feel like the match of the century?
Tom Clum: "Yeah. It was pretty incredible. I've never been in a match quite like that. It was pretty intense. It was ... a fun match to be in."
Is that the longest match you've ever been part of?
TC: "Oh, yeah, absolutely. It was definitely the longest match I've ever been in."
Generally what does a match last for you?
TC: "Most matches are seven minutes, and so that one was close to 12."
BD: "Actually the kid that Tom beat was the defending Big Ten champion. Tom won it two years ago and he won it this year. The guy he beat from Minnesota was the guy he beat for third and fourth last year."
Tom, what's it like, competing at the NCAA meet, just the atmosphere of the whole thing?
TC: "It's pretty neat. Everyone is on top of their game. Everyone is intense. It's neat wrestling in front of the fans and being in shape. There's nothing quite like it."
Do you feel good about your chances this time around?
TC: "Yeah, absolutely. I feel like my strength and conditioning is ... at the top of my game as far as that goes. That'll give me the confidence to be able to wrestle like I know I can, like my best. So that's about all I can do."
Barry, what are your expectations for your team and even some of the individuals like Tom?
BD: "Well, I know what Tom's goal is right now. He was in the semifinals last year, and I know his goal is to get to the finals this year and to compete for a national championship. I think we've got two other guys that are seeded that could contend. I think one of them would be Craig Henning who has an opportunity to contend. Actually, at the national championship, it's probably one of the toughest weights right there, at 157. The 133 is a pretty deep weight, 149 and 157 are as well.
"But I think Craig Henning has a shot at it as well. I think at one time he was ranked as high as third or fourth in the country. I think Tyler Turner has a shot as well. But the other three guys, I think the way Eddie Gutnik is wrestling right now, he was injured most of the year, he was out for a while, and he's starting to make a lot of headway right now. And maybe Collin Cudd has an outside shot to be an All-American.
"A kid like Dallas Herbst, you never know. That kid, he's a pinner. He actually had three pins in the Big Ten championships. If they gave the most falls in a tournament, he would have won the most falls in that tournament right there as a redshirt freshman. So actually, everybody in the Big Ten has wrestled above their seeds except for Craig Henning, but, again, that's probably one of the deepest weight classes there."
Tom, what makes you believe you can win a national championship?
TC: "Right now I feel like my conditioning is there. I've been wrestling for Barry (Davis) for the last five years. I don't think that I could have been in a better situation up here than at Wisconsin with the coaches and with my teammates. I'm just confident in what Barry has taught me and I'm confident in the level that he's brought me as far as conditioning and technique. And I've wrestled all the best guys before."
You've looked at the record book, I'm assuming. You've seen the guys who have done that before you. That's a pretty select group of guys that have won national championships here. Some thoughts about what it would be like to join that group?
TC: "Yeah, it would be pretty special. Right now I guess this is all what it's been about for the last five years. This is what I've been training for, and it would be pretty special. I'll give it my best, that's for sure."
Tom, I've got one more for you. You've been here for five years, as you mentioned. Have you seen this program progress, not just you improve as a wrestler, but everybody that's come in?
TC: "Yeah, definitely. I think just in the practice room itself from my first year to this, my last year, the intensity in the practice room has gone up quite a bit and guys are competing a lot better on the mat just in my observation. So, yeah, it has gotten quite a bit better in the room and competition."