GoDuke.com recently caugh up with two-time NCAA qualifier Jake Faust. The redshirt senior is making his second appearance at the NCAA Championships after earning one of the four automatic bids at the ACC Championships. The Bellville, Ohio native competed at 165 pounds a year ago before moving down to 157 for his final season. He is 9-7 overall on the year after wrestling unattached in the first portion of the campaign. Faust will wrestle No. 9 seed Joshua Shields of Arizona State in the opening match. Wrestling begins March 16 at 12 p.m., on ESPNU. All of the matches will be streamed on ESPN3.
GoDuke.com: You had a thrilling finish to your NCAA qualifying match against Thomas Bullard. What do you remember about how that match went?
Jake Faust: I just remember hearing Coach Wissel yell that I felt his defense and I knew what I needed to do. That was true. I knew I needed to get to both legs and get to a double so he couldn’t funk and that’s what I did as soon as I saw the opening. Really on top, I was just going to ride him out and take it to overtime and try to get the overtime takedown to win it. But he kind of exposed himself and I took advantage of it and got some back points. But really there isn’t much thought going through your head at the time. You’re just kind of in the moment. I remember looking up and seeing 12 seconds left on the clock and thinking I just have to hang on for 12 more seconds. That makes things a little easier when you have some sort of time frame in your mind.
GD: How would you describe the NCAA Wrestling Championships to someone who has never experienced them?
JF: First off there is a lot of excitement. You can feel the tension in all of the wrestlers. Everybody is pretty excited to go, but at the same time there is some nervousness because this is what everybody has been waiting for all season. It’s a big stadium with a lot of lights, but at the same time you feel like you’re completely alone when you’re down there on the mat. It’s an exciting time.
GD: What’s something you’ve learned this season or during your career that you will carry with you in the next chapter of your life?
JF: It’s a little cliché, but when you get knocked down you have to get back up. That’s kind of been the epitome of my career. I’ve battled a lot of injuries and stuff like that and had some tough seasons. But ultimately at the end of the season that’s what really matters – you got back up and you’re ready for the national tournament. Once you’re at the national tournament it doesn’t matter what happened during the regular season.
GD: What’s a food you’re looking forward to after wrestling season is over?
JF: Definitely a milkshake. Milkshakes and pizza are two things I crave at all times when I’m cutting weight. As soon as we get back I’ll have a milkshake I’m sure.
GD: Where will you get the milkshake?
Probably Cookout and McDonalds and anywhere else that has milkshakes.
GD: Your favorite Cookout milkshake?
JF: Peanut butter banana with caramel.
GD: Word to describe Connor Bass?
JF: He’s a grinder. I think everybody on the team would agree. He’s going to stand in there and wrestle you hard and wear you down until the match is over, practice is over, until the very last second of either.
GD: Jacob Kasper?
JF: Dedicated. I went to high school with him. Back to when he was a freshman not very good to being the No. 4 seed. You don’t get that way with luck. He puts a lot of time in.
GD: What word comes to mind when you think of your time wrestling at Lexington High School?
JF: Dominant. We had a lot of guys that wanted to be state champs. They didn’t want anything less than that. We had five in three years and we had never had one before.
GD: Athletic trainer Devin Demyanovich?
JF: An angel. She has some sort of magical healing powers or something. I probably wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for her.