Carl Perry talks about his last meet at Huff Hall.
Feb. 23, 2000
Athletic Public Relations Student Assistant
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Last Thursday was your last meet at Huff Hall. What will you remember most about it?
Carl Perry - I will remember that I won't ever wrestle in that gym again. It is a funny feeling because it has gone by so fast. Seems like just the other day I was a freshman wrestling in that gym and now it is the last meet. It was a neat feeling knowing I have gone through four years experiencing some of the things I have experienced.
BW - I read where no one from your family had seen you wrestle at U of I until your brother flew here from Virginia last Thursday. What did it mean to have your brother there?
CP - It really meant a lot. It is neat to have people in your family see what you have down here at a home meet, and to have them experience that with you, especially it being my last meet, it was really neat.
BW - As a senior, is there any advice you have given to the younger wrestlers?
CP - Not as much in words, but more in leading by example. Being a captain and it being my fourth year in competition, hopefully I lead with my work ethic more than words.
BW - What kind of bond have you made with your teammates, especially the other seniors?
CP - Mostly with my roommates Ryan Escobar, who just came down this semester, Bill Zeman, and Ben King. I have developed great friendships and relationships with those guys. The best bonds have been winning, and experiencing the highs and lows. We have all experienced lows, but I them doing well now. Also I have become good friends with Nate Patrick and my workout partner Mike Castillo, who day in and day out is pushing and shoving with me in the workout room. Those are the things you are going to remember the rest of your life.
BW - Talk about your involvement with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
CP - I have been in the FCA since I have been here, but the last couple years I have really been involved with it. It gives the opportunity to grow in a spiritual manner, and Chris Brown (former football player and 1997 graduate) has been a big leader for us. It has helped grow great friendships with people.
BW - What are your goals individually and as a team for the Big Tens and NCAAs?
CP - My number one goal in Big Tens and NCAAs is to continue to improve and correct my mistakes. My goal has been not focusing on winning or losing but wrestling hard for seven minutes and lay it on the line so I am not saying, 'I wish I had done more.'
BW - What is the qualifying procedure for the NCAAs?
CP - You have to qualify in the top seven in the Big Tens, and in the NCAAs you have to qualify in the top eight to be an All American. I will probably be seeded fourth in the Big Tens.
BW - As one of Coach Mark Johnson's original recruits, do you think you have helped Illini wrestling become one of the top in the country?
CP - I don't know if my personal achievements have helped, but I would like to think that I have contributed in some ways, as being a teammate and friend to the guys.
BW - When you reflect back on your career, what stands out?
CP - The biggest thing that stands out would be the things I have learned training-wise and competing-wise, and how not to overly train. I may have overly trained my freshman year, and you just learn how to do things more.
BW - Knowing it is your last Big Ten Championship and last NCAA appearance, does that add something more to the experience?
CP - Definitely. Knowing I placed third in the Big Tens last year, and was not an All-American, was a humbling experience. This is it, and it will mean more, but from the things I have learned over the past few years and the gains I have made this season, I think it will turn out ok.