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Seven Minutes with Chad Walsh

By Andy Hamilton, TrackWrestling, 10/02/16, 1:15PM CDT


This is the 14th installment of seven minutes. It's a series of interviews with college wrestling's top stars.

Most of the question-and-answer sessions last roughly seven minutes. Hence the name. Rider's Chad Walsh earned All-America honors for the first time last season when he placed fifth at 157 pounds at the NCAA Championships. He takes an 59-19 career record into his junior season with the Broncs. 

Trackwrestling's Andy Hamilton recently caught up with Walsh. 

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

I think I would make it a five-period match (laughs). I like a dogfight, so that would be cool. But really, though, if I could, I’d like to get some kind of pipeline for foreign wrestlers to come to the NCAA to wrestle. I think we have a different-style system. I’m not sure if they really wrestle a seasonal kind of thing like we do. I think it would be cool to see if foreign kids could translate to scholastic wrestling like we have to translate to freestyle wrestling for international stuff.

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?

A lot of times I really don’t like having to lose too much weight the day of a tournament or a match just because I like saving my energy for the actual match. Then with food, when you’re on the road it’s hard to be consistent. You never really know what you’re going to have to eat, so sometimes you have to improvise. One thing I’ve learned from college wrestling is that you’ve got to take your time with eating. There’s been times where I’ve been cutting a lot of weight and I go out and eat a lot and feel like crap for the first match of a tournament. I’ve had to really work on that.

I don’t really listen to any music before I wrestle. I just try to get warmed up and get myself sweating and feeling good.

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

I like this one. I think this one is pretty cool. I think to myself right before I’m stepping out that I’ve been calm, cool and collected like Clark Kent all week to get ready for this. I lost some weight and got ready, but when I step on that line I like to pull the suit off and be ready to turn into Superman.

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

I can’t really think of anything that I hear every time. But one thing that really stuck out to me at NCAAs was getting toward the second and third period of some of the matches I had, (assistant) coach (Nic) Bedelyon would say, ‘Stay on him, you’re going to break him.’ I heard that in both matches I had to win to get to the semifinals. That was crucial for me. It just let me know that I was going to keep wearing on this guy.

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

I like this one, too. I don’t hear too much nowadays, but when I was growing up wrestling my dad would be on the side of the mat and he’d have crazy things to say. He had code names — I guess you could call them — for different moves that we hit. I would just think about what people would think about the things he said. He’d be yelling: ‘Kamikaze, kamikaze,’ or something crazy like that.

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

I think there’s plenty of matches in my career that I could look back to, but the one that’s still in my head was the semifinals last year (against Penn State’s Jason Nolf). I felt like it was the one match at NCAAs that I didn’t pull the trigger and got off to a late start. I just wish I could’ve pushed the pace from the get-go.

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

I’m an avid fisherman. I’m a first mate on a boat ran by a guy who was a national champion football player at the University of Miami (Howard Clark). That boat’s called Clark Charters here in New Jersey. We do a lot of deep sea stuff. We’ve just learned a lot about tuna fishing and all that, but in New Jersey flounder fishing is really big, so we got chasing some doormat flounders. That’s what we call them.

What’s your greatest fear?

One of the things I think about sometimes is how my college career will pass me by really fast. I know it’s hard to get caught up in the monotony of just working out every day and stuff, but it goes by quick when you look back on it. I just want to try to take my time and really take it all in as I’m going through even the preseason and all the struggle of weight cutting and all that stuff. I’ve got six months of the season.

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. Virginia Tech's Jared Haught asks: Would you rather fight a horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses?

(Laughs) Oh, man. I think I could get a pretty good collar tie in on the duck, so I’d go with that. I’d get him in a front-headlock. I think I could take him.

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