Feb. 1, 2000
By Bill White,
Athletic Public Relations Student Assistant
Bill White - Being from California, how did you decide to come to Illinois after originally going to Stanford and why did you decide to transfer?
Adam Tirapelle - I was recruited by Coach Johnson, and I came on a recruiting trip here and really liked the school and the guys. I didn't like Stanford too much, and I wanted to make sure my second choice was the right one so I came here.
BW - Who would you consider your biggest rival? Is there someone in the Big Ten that you always look forward to wrestling?
AT - I don't have one single rival, but I've had a couple good matches with T.J. Williams who is now up a weight class and is the number one guy at 157. Javar Billman who is not wrestling this year, and of course Tony Davis who is number one at my weight class right now. I've had two good matches with him and we're pretty good rivals.
BW - Is there anyone who you wrestle with in practice that has made you better over the past couple of years?
AT - Our whole room is really tough. Even our second guys and third guys are really good, but I wrestle guys around my weight. Carl Perry is obviously really good, and an All-American himself, and Griff Powell. We wrestle a lot and have some good battles in the practice room.
BW -- When you are waiting for your weight class, and have to wrestle tenth in a meet, how do you stay focused?
AT - That's been pretty difficult because up until last year being at 149 pounds, or being a smaller guy, I've usually gone toward the beginning. I think it has been a change for everyone on the team. Sometimes going first and sometimes going last. I think you just have to relax until you get close to being up and then get yourself ready. Until that, you are kind of like a fan.
BW - If you fall behind a couple points in the first round, how do you stay in it mentally? Do you have a greatest comeback that comes to mind?
AT - I can't think of any great comebacks I've had personally, but I've been down a lot. In high school you get used to beating guys by a lot of points, but in college you realize that the matches get closer. Once you adjust, it's not a big deal because you realize the match is seven minutes long, which sounds short but it is actually really long. I think the last match against Ohio State I was down 2-0 in the first period but I ended up winning 12-4. You have to keep going because it is a long match.
BW - Wrestling this weekend against Wisconsin and Michigan State, are those going to prepare you for the All Star duals you that you are participating in next week? Are you planning on resting one of those meets?
AT - No, I'll be wrestling. We have to wrestle all of our best guys against every Big Ten opponent. We can get beat anytime if we're not wrestling well. I'm looking forward to the Wisconsin meet. It's on Fox Sports Chicago, so we'll be on TV. Michigan State is probably the toughest team we will have faced up to this date. It's all preparation - me for the All Star meet and then for the team and myself for next week against Iowa. We hope to be 12-0 going into that meet, so it'll be a showdown.
BW - What'd you think of the Super Bowl?
AT - It's one of the best Super Bowls I've seen in awhile. I was just hoping it was going to be a good game and come right down to the wire so I pretty much got my wish. I'm a competitive guy and like to see games come down to the last second.
BW - When you were younger, did you envision yourself as a wrestler? What did you think you would be doing right about now?
AT - My dad was a coach so I kind of grew up with wrestling. His big thing was to try to use wrestling to get into college. I don't know if I always saw myself as a college wrestler, but I always saw myself trying to do well enough to get a scholarship. As soon as it got closer, I realized this is definitely what I want to do, and I'm enjoying it now.
BW - In closing, what do you see yourself doing after college and after your career is over?
AT - For sure I'll be involved with wrestling somehow. I'm not sure if I'll wrestle on or coach like Steve Marinetti has, or try to make the Olympic team. We'll see after these next two years. For sure I'm going to be a coach. I'm not sure if at the high school level or the college level, but I'll be involved with it. I plan on being a teacher, maybe after I coach I'll go back and be a high school teacher and a high school coach and finish off that way.