Jan. 3, 2014
Following a successful rookie campaign that saw him reach the NCAA Round of 12, sophomore Taylor Massa is redshirting the 2013-14 campaign with goals of expanding his offense while continuing to develop and improve. He has competed unattached at four open tournaments this season, winning 165-pound titles at the EMU Open and Wisconsin Open before claiming third place against elite competition at the Midlands Championship earlier this week (Dec. 29-30).
As the Wolverines resume practice in the New Year, Massa took some time before an afternoon session to talk about his Midlands performance, his focus this season and an exciting future for the Maize and Blue.
Q: How do you think you wrestled at Midlands?
A: I thought I wrestled okay. I had a strong start of the tournament, a tough semifinal loss and then didn't wrestle quite as well in the consolations. But I got it done and wrestled back to third.
Q: You wrestled in several open tournaments over the first semester. Are you looking to compete as much as you can this season?
A: Yeah. I'm really looking to get a lot of matches in this year. I really wanted to win this tournament, because it was the biggest one I get to wrestle this year. I was building up for this tournament, so to not win, it was disappointing. My plan now is to focus on practicing, working on technique and being there for Dan [Yates] and the rest of the guys in the room.
Q: What are you looking to accomplish with redshirting?
A: My goal for this year is to really get my leg attacks going more and getting better and more fluid on top. If you can score three points on top, that's three takedowns. It's a lot easier to rack up the score on top than taking people down. So, I'm looking to really develop some core leg attacks and some turns on top. Those are my two biggest goals for this redshirt season.
Q: Does redshirting change your approach to things this season?
A: It does but it doesn't. It's just a different mindset. I'm not as worried this year with protecting my body as much -- getting dinged up or sore. I'm more focused on just getting out there and wrestling and improving.
Q: We've got some freshmen making a big impact in the lineup already this season. Does that get you excited for the future of the team?
A: It's definitely different for me this year, watching instead of wrestling in the lineup, but I'm working hard with these guys every day in the room. I'm really excited for this team. A lot of guys are stepping up, and the program is really moving in the direction we want to go. We'll all be on the same page after this year, and we'll be together for a while. By the end of my time here, I really think we'll make a statement.
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