Nov. 21, 2013
Fifth-year senior Eric Grajales opened his season in unique fashion, dropping a pair of decisions to unranked wrestlers before knocking off Oregon State's No. 1-ranked Scott Sakaguchi the following day. Grajales' 10-6 win over Sakaguchi was his second in a row against the two-time All-American, stretching back to last season, and featured two takedowns and a three-point near fall off an early cradle in the first period. Grajales is a three-time NCAA qualifier at 149 pounds, twice reaching the Round of 12, and will look to finally reach the podium in his final season.
He took some time on the Wolverines' off day to talk about his season-opening weekend, the team's victory against Oregon State and how he can look to improve his consistency.
Q: What was the difference between Saturday and Sunday for you?
A: Everything. I think the biggest difference was Saturday was the first weigh-in, and I didn't prepare for it quite as well as I should have. I also went into those matches on Saturday with my head not in the right spot. I wasn't on my offense and thinking about scoring points. The second day, I felt like I was ready to go. I had a good game plan and I really utilized it."
Q: Was your win against Oregon State's top-ranked Scott Sakaguchi another reminder that you can wrestle with -- and beat -- anyone in the country?
A: Sure it is. It's nice to get those wins under your belt early to help build confidence. When you're confident in your own attacks and know you're able to score points, then it can help prevent you from staying too defensive or tentative to attack. That can be a big hindrance.
Q: Sunday was also a good team win. Did you think that was a good all-around effort, and what can the team take from that win?
A: It definitely gives us confidence. I was very excited with my performance but even more so with the performances across our lineup. We wrestled tough. We had a lot of young guys show up and wrestle some breakout matches that show that they're able to compete with the top guys. As a team and individually, it's really encouraging. Not only do we want to do better for ourselves, we want to do better for our team. Nobody wants to let the team down.
Q: Several wrestlers and the coaches have commented that the team had a really good preseason. What exactly does that entail?
A: We're coming into the season and a level so much higher than before. Obviously, you're not at your very best when the season starts relative to the end of the season when you're peaking for the postseason tournaments. If you come in at 50-60 percent, it's so much harder to reach that top level by the end of the year. If you come in at 70-80 percent, not only can you get to 100 percent by end, you might be able to exceed that. And yes, according to Joe McFarland, you can exceed 100 percent.
Q: The knock on you is that you're inconsistent. How can you improve your consistency?
A: I think it's just about trying to go into every match the same. I need to focus on my own wrestling and not worry about anything else. I'm at my best when I just forget about everything and just concentrate on wrestling and letting it happen. I think too often I let other things slip into my mind and start thinking too much. My best wrestling is letting things happen and flow and just going with it. Sunday I was able to do that.
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