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2004 U.S. National Champions quotes

4/10/2004 John Fuller/USA Wrestling


55 kg/121 lbs. – Stephen Abas, Fresno, Calif.. (Sunkist Kids)

“With him, nothing’s a surprise. He’s retired a few times already, but it’s an Olympic year.”

“When I heard he was coming back, I learned I had a chance to redeem my loss to his four years ago.”

“I’ve improved so much more than him and he has just stayed the course.”

60 kg/132 lbs. – Eric Guerrero, Stillwater, Okla. (Gator WC)

“I thought I had two takedowns in the beginning. That’s good though. It puts me in a bad situation to start.”

“(The Trials) is extremely important. It puts yourself on the top of that ladder.”

66 kg/145.5 lbs. – Jamill Kelly, Stillwater, Okla. (Gator WC)

“This is probably bigger than the Trials last year. I was disappointed in my Worlds performance and had some personally issues as well. It’s good to prove that I can be a contender.”

“Chris (Bono) is a great competitor and he always presents a battle.”

74 kg/163 lbs. – Joe Williams, Iowa City, Iowa (Sunkist Kids)

“It was one of the closest matches we’ve had, but today it was just my day.”

“You’ve just got to show up and wrestle, and the guy that is better prepared will usually win.”

84 kg/185 lbs. – Lee Fullhart, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Gator WC)

“I fight (the crowd) every match because he is the guy everyone wants to win, but I’ve done everything right to prepare for this.”

“I train harder than anyone else in the world.”

“My style has always been the same. I wrestle hard and get after them.”

96 kg/211.5 lbs. – Daniel Cormier, Stillwater, Okla. (Gator WC)

“I’ve gotta be prepared. I can’t make many mistakes. I gave up a three-point move, and it made me wrestle hard, which I should have been doing in the first place.”

120 kg/264.5 lbs. – Kerry McCoy, Bethlehem, Pa. (New York AC)

“I was actually anticipating to see (Mocco) him try to make the team last year. Especially with the World Championships being close to home for him.”

“I’ve gotta beat the top guys in the U.S. to make the team. This match was going to happen eventually.”


55 kg/121 lbs. – Brandon Paulson, Coon Rapids, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)

“He surprised me with his high dive. I kind of went back to when I was five years old and used a whizzer.”

“I knew there was less than 10 seconds left. It’s just amazing.”

“I think I’m the best in the world at my weight in the clinch.”

60 kg/132 lbs. – Jim Gruenwald, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)

“My shoulder is about 95 percent in my estimate. My shoulder didn’t hurt until that last minute.”

74 kg/163 lbs. – Darryl Christian, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)

“This is definitely a stepping stone for me.”

“My goal the last couple of years was to make the Olympic team.”

“I stayed at 74 kilos for this tournament because I have put my body at this weight. I’m not an 84 kilo guy.”

“I’m going to Indianapolis. If I do go, it is to compete in freestyle.”

84 kg/185 lbs. – Brad Vering, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)

“After the injury last year at the Worlds, I knew I had a short amount of time to get ready for this.”

“The good thing about the Trials now is that I don’t have to worry about my seed, because I won’t know who I wrestle until that Friday night.”

96 kg/211.5 lbs. – Justin Ruiz, West Salt Lake City, Utah (New York AC)

“I’m really excited about this. The Trials can take such a toll on you. Now I get to get two more days of rest and good training in.”

120 kg/264.5 lbs. – Dremiel Byers, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)

“I was ready for this match.”

“I used to say that getting to rest for the Trials was the greatest thing in the world, until I lost last year. I gained 30 pounds between nationals and Trials last year.”

“I’m going to train like I have nothing to lose.”


51 kg/112.25 lbs. – Malinda Ripley, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)

“This is kind of a warm-up for the Trials. I am going down to 48 kg for the Trials.”

“I’m on a special plan to get my weight down for the 48 kg class. I am confident in my abilities to compete at this level, but now I just need to get down to that weight.”

55 kg/121 lbs. – Tina George, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)

“I am looking forward to wrestling the No. 1 person out of the mini-tournament.”

“My weight class has always been the most competitive of all the weight classes.”

59 kg/130 lbs. – Na’Tasha Umemoto, Portland, Ore. (Cobra WC)

“I just came out here to wrestle. I knew (Lamb) was a good wrestler and I just wanted to wrestle to my potential, and I did that.”

“I didn’t really think about the age difference at all.”

63 kg/138.75 lbs. – Kristie Marano, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)

“I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing to wrestle in the Challenge Tournament. To some it’s an advantage, but to others, it’s a disadvantage.”

“I just kept thinking that I need to drive, and if she reversed me, the only give up one. Then we scrambled and I ended up with the pin.”

67 kg/147.5 lbs. – Ali Bernard, New Ulm, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)

“I have kind of a different style than everyone else. I like funky moves.”

“I’ve been training for a long time, so this is what I was hoping for.”

72 kg/158.5 lbs. – Toccara Montgomery, Cleveland, Ohio (New York AC)

“I’ve wrestled all the girls in my weight class all year round. (The competition) was to be expected.”

“It definitely makes each class pretty fierce competition for everybody.”

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