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Seven Minutes with Arizona State's Tanner Hall

By Andy Hamilton, Trackwrestling, 01/17/18, 12:00PM CST


This is the 48th 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. 

Arizona State All-American Tanner Hall is ranked No. 4 nationally at heavyweight.

If you could take what you know now and have a conversation with yourself at 15, what advice would you give yourself?

I would probably tell myself that it’s worth it. In order to have success at this level, it requires a fair amount of work and it starts pretty young. I’d reassure myself that all that hard work is worth it.

What were your top three schools in recruiting and why did you pick Arizona State?

That’s an interesting question with my story. I got recruited before my religious mission and after my religious mission. I’ll give you the ones after. I would probably say it was ASU, Nebraska and I’d probably say Iowa State. Penn State was in the mix a little bit, but they wanted me down at 197 pounds and I wasn’t sure if I was about that life. The reason I chose ASU is I had a former connection with (coach) Zeke (Jones) through the Olympic Training Center when I lived there for two years, and everything fit right into place — the academics, the athletics, especially our administration. Our administration here is amazing. I don’t think you can find a better administration anywhere, but all the cards fit into place and it worked out really well for me.

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

I don’t know many wrestlers who are fans of headgear, so I think I’d probably start with that, to be honest.

Take me through your pre-match preparation: 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?

After I step on the scale, I’m an Idaho boy, so steak and potatoes, if I can find it, works pretty well for me. And I’m a big fan of classic rock, so if I got some Journey or Foreigner or any of those bands flowing through my headphones before I wrestle I’m in good shape.

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

Go wrestle like you trained. I believe I put a lot of hard work in when I’m in the wrestling room. I try to go out there and show it when I’m on the mat.

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

I really enjoy scuba diving. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel in and live in various different countries, whether it was for my religious mission or through my dad’s company moving us to Asia, but I’ve had the chance to scuba dive in some pretty unique places around the world and I enjoy it. It’s just a part of the world that nobody really gets to see. How many people are ever 40 meters under the water staring at these interesting creatures?

Where do you see yourself in 20 years?

I’d probably have a wife and a couple kids, I’d assume, and working at a job. I don’t believe any wrestler who achieves this level as a wrestler isn’t still involved in wrestling 20 years down the road in some way or another. I see myself still in the wrestling community, whether it’s as a coach or whether it’s somebody who’s around it or a supporter or however you want to look at it.

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

He’s breaking. Zeke yells that a lot. Or put in the work.

What’s the most rewarding victory you’ve ever had?

I could probably list off about five, but the most recent was last year at NCAAs for third place. I had to come back through a couple tough guys and I beat an individual I hadn’t beaten yet (Virginia Tech’s Ty Walz). That was pretty rewarding to go out there at the end of the year and show all that hard work paid off.

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

When I step out to wrestle, I usually feel like I have a pretty empty mind and I’m focused on what needs to be done. I can’t say I’ve had too many strange thoughts run through my head. The only thing I can think of that might be slightly entertaining is there’s been once or twice where I’ve been on top of somebody and in a pinning combination or something like that and I notice they have a bloody nose and I don’t want blood time, so I’ll put a hand over their cut or over their nose so we don’t get stopped.

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

I would probably have to go back to when I made the Junior World Team in 2012. I was wrestling the Russian. Where they don’t seed overseas, it kind of ended up being the final between me and him right there. I got to a single-leg and I couldn’t finish to save my life, which is kind of ironic because the single-leg is kind of my bread and butter. To imagine I couldn’t finish from that position is pretty astounding to me, but I ended up beating the crap out the guy so bad that he went out there and lost his next match to a guy who had torn his ACL the match before just because he was so tired he couldn’t function. Looking back and saying if I could’ve pulled that one match out I’d be into the World finals, it would’ve been interesting.

Who’s one guy you’ve wrestled in college that you enjoy scrapping against and why?

I’d probably throw it back to Ty Walz. I knew that when we stepped out on the mat we were going to be banging and we were going to be moving each other and it was going to be a close one and neither one of us was going to give up. I really enjoyed wrestling against Walz. He was  a good kid.

If you could go back and wrestle anybody from any era, who would you want to compete against?

I would probably go back and wrestle Mike Davies, (an All-American at Arizona State and member of the 1988 NCAA title team). Davies was my high school coach. Of course, at that point with me being in high school and Davies being a little bit older and a little bit out of his prime, we’d get done wrestling and then the harassment would ensue, like, ‘Well, back in the day, if you wrestled me this is what would happen.’ It would be interesting to go back and see if it would live up to the hype.

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