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Seven Minutes with Cornell's Brian Realbuto

By Andy Hamilton, Trackwrestling, 08/05/17, 9:45AM CDT


This is the 27th installment of seven minutes. It's a series of interviews with college wrestling's top stars. 

Cornell senior Brian Realbuto earned All-America honors as a freshman and sophomore and is currently ranked No. 2 at 174 pounds with a 19-1 record. Realbuto owns a 111-17 career record with the Big Red.

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

The first thing I would try to do is align our collegiate style more with the international style. As you know, we have multiple styles, as Americans, that we are forced to learn how to wrestle. I think it makes us disadvantaged when we go to compete internationally. I think there’s things for freestyle that possibly a blend of the rules could be a cool idea, but I would try to incorporate more freestyle into the folkstyle rule set. Collegiate wrestling, currently, I think it has some issues right with the push-out rule and I think that’s affecting a lot of current wrestlers. Being a current wrestler, it’s a little bit annoying, so I think that enacting a push-out freestyle, which would make it a little more like freestyle, that might have some positive effects on our collegiate guys.

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?

For me, it’s pretty simple. I’m not cutting too much weight anymore. I used to be down at ‘57, where that was a little bit more of a struggle. Now I come in the day before about five, six pounds over and get a quick workout in with one of the guys and it’s pretty easy for me to get my weight off. Pre-match, I’m usually refueling with some liquids, coconut water, water, possibly Gatorade or whatever I have around, nothing too special. I like to have a small bit of food. I’m not someone who can wrestle on a full stomach, so I usually keep it pretty light post-weigh-in. Then before matches, for me getting ready, I’m usually listening to some Eminem. That’s kind of my go-to music of choice. It gets me in the mood to wrestle.

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

Usually, just ‘Stick to my game plan.’ For me, sometimes before matches I kind of get caught up in the excitement of the dual or the match or whatever. Focusing on my go-to attacks, my style of wrestling, so for me, ‘Let’s get to my ties’ — my Russian, my underhooks and stuff like that that I’m going to be focusing on. I usually like to keep it simple and remind myself: ‘Get to my stuff.’

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

I’m someone who does pretty well with having a vocal coach. I do like to listen to what my coaches tell me on the side of the mat. Usually, I listen for more technical things. I have pretty good drive out on the mat, I keep the pace pretty high, so usually it’s just technical fixes for how I can possibly get a score if they notice something where I was almost getting to or how I should finish a takedown versus what I was doing. That’s usually what I’m listening for.

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

I’m not someone who really thinks all that much while I’m out there. I’m usually pretty focused. Every once in a while I’ll look at who’s matside and take notice, whether it’s a little kid or a photographer on the mat or something like that and I’ll take notice or it. But besides that, I’m not too interesting there. I kind of stay focused on the match at hand and sometimes I’ll look up into the stands but not really thinking about it, I guess.

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

Not to stir up any controversy, but I’d have to say the ‘#FreeIanMiller’ match. Yeah, I’ve gotten a lot of flak over that match. I think if people saw it from my perspective it would be a little different. I think if I had a chance to go back and wrestle that match I possibly would’ve gotten some backpoints at the end there if I would’ve known the score was messed up. I wish I could go straighten that out and put that straight in people’s minds.

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

I’m trying to be an entrepreneur currently. Recently, I started my own beverage company. That’s kind of what I’m working on. We actually just did a small production run of 20 cases (of a green tea beverage). I’m doing an independent study this semester to do some market analysis and get some customer feedback, so in my spare time, outside of wrestling, that’s where I’m spending most of my time right now.  

What’s your greatest fear?

I would say my greatest fear is probably not taking the opportunity to live my life to the fullest. I’m very much in the mindset that every day you should be making decisions that go back to enjoying what you were doing that day and you thought it was worth it. To live a life full of regrets would be my biggest fear.

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 Daniel Lewis asked: What's your favorite home-cooked meal after weigh-ins and after the season?

Definitely chicken parmesan. My mom makes some pretty good chicken parm. That’s definitely my go-to. I would definitely have to say that.

Do you have anything for the next guy in the series?

What was your favorite moment in your whole wrestling career?

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