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Seven Minutes with Earl Hall

By Andy Hamilton, TrackWrestling, 09/14/16, 10:45AM CDT


This is the 7th installment of seven minutes. It's a series of interviews with college wrestling's top stars.

Iowa State's Earl Hall earned All-America honors for the second time last season when he placed seventh at 133 pounds. Hall takes an 82-32 record into his senior season with the Cyclones. 

Let’s say wrestling has one governing body and you’re the president, what would you want to change?

I’d probably have to go with IMar (Illinois' Isaiah Martinez) and see if we wrestled freestyle in college if that would make any difference. Honestly, I kind of feel like folkstyle gives us an advantage compared to other countries because it gives us that go-go-go mentality rather than going on the bottom and just resting. I like folkstyle, but at the same time we could see if wrestling freestyle full time would give us any difference in our accomplishments.

Take me through your pre-match preparation: What’s the typical size of a last-minute weight cut for you? What do you put in your body after you step on the scale? What do you have pumping through your headphones during your warm-up?

I usually go into that last workout a pound, pound and a half, maybe two over. I get a drill in with (assistant coach) Angel (Escobedo), making sure my offense is on and making sure I’m nice and hot before my match because a good warmup is key. If I go out there flat, most of the time I know I’m going to lose if I go out there cold. After that, I’ll have a protein shake, I’ll have some Gatorade, some water, maybe some fruit snacks for the fast carbs, then go get another warmup in, put something else in my body and then go out and wrestle.

With my music, I like to listen to a little bit of everything. Before the match or before I get to the tournament, I like to listen to slow songs to calm my nerves. Then when I get into the arena I listen to my hype music, anything to get me going.

What’s the last thing you tell yourself before you set your foot on the line?

I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. I just reiterate to myself that I can do this, I will win this match and I will dominate the way I want to.

What’s one thing your coach yells that you can hear every time?

My whole name every time. K.J. (Kevin Jackson) always yells, ‘Earl Hall. Earl Hall. Compete. Wrestle here. Wrestle here.’ Every time he says my whole name, I can hear it. He has a really distinct voice, like my dad, so every time you hear it, you react.

What’s the strangest thing that’s ever gone through your mind during a match?

I’ve seen this question before and I don’t know where my mind goes, honestly. You always kind of go blank out there. But the strangest thing that’s gone through my mind? I’ll get in the middle of the match and wonder what kind of meal they’re going to give us after the match or sometimes I think about what K.J. is going to say to me after the match, like, ‘Oh my god, he’s going to kill me.’ But other than that, there’s nothing off the wall really.

If you could go back and re-wrestle any match, which would it be and why?

I would say the match against Nahshon (Garrett of Cornell in the NCAA quarterfinals). It was a really anticipated match — me versus another great athlete, somebody with the same exact style as me. I feel like I kind of let myself and him down. I wrestled, but at the same time, I feel like I should’ve gave more. I would’ve been a lot more pleased with myself if I wrestled to my ability.

What’s the most interesting about you that has nothing to do with wrestling?

I like to dance. That’s my favorite thing. All throughout the day, walking around campus, I just like to dance. I just like to have a good time and try to make everybody around have a good time.

What’s your greatest fear?

Being a guy who has the talent and not getting anything done.

We’re trying something different with the last part of the series. We’re giving every wrestler the opportunity to ask a question to the next guy we interview. Missouri's J'den Cox wants to know:  
What style of wrestling do you plan to pursue after college? I ask this because I think Earl would be good in either style whether it be Greco or freestyle. 

First congrats on a phenomenal year, my brother. But Freestyle.I love to display my speed, show my athleticism and I can't let two years under Brandon Slay, Bill Zadick and Zeke Jones go to waste. Now with one of the most decorated staffs in the country, it's only right. 

Do you have a question for Oklahoma State's Dean Heil?

I have plenty (laughs) But my number one question is: What do you feel separates you from everybody else? What's the one thing that you do that you feel is a major part of you getting your national title?

Photo credit by John Sachs

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