Freshman Quentin Wright ran off the mat after his victory Friday. Immediately, he was met by assistant coach Mark Perry, who grabbed the wrestler by the arm and talked to him intensely as they exited the main gym of Rec Hall.
The freshman had just beaten Ohio State's 174-pound wrestler, Dave Rella, in a match that came down to the final point in the final period. Rella transferred to Ohio State from Penn State, and started for the Nittany Lions last season at the 165-pound weight class.
But defeating this junior wasn't pleasing enough for the freshman or for Perry.
"He wants me to be the best and I want to be the best so he kind of told me it wasn't my best performance," Wright said. "Winning is better than losing, but it's not enough to win a national title so that's what he said to me."
Despite an impressive performance against an upperclassman on the No. 6 team in the nation, which head coach Troy Sunderland said was a "heartfelt win", Wright said he has to be more aggressive in future matches. He wasn't satisfied with simply winning. His coaches want him to be a national champion.
Last week, Perry called the Wright "someone you can build your team around." On a day off of practice last week, Perry brought in Paul Bradley, a 2004 and 2005 All-American at the University of Iowa, to wrestle with Wright. Wright said Bradley had a similar wrestling style of a kid he was wrestling this weekend, so the two trained together for 45 minutes.
"I think sometimes you get great wrestlers but they might not be the right kids," Perry said. "[The goal is] getting a group of the right kids that has the right attitude going into it, starting right now with a guy like Quentin Wright."
The coaching staff hopes the attitude Wright possesses can be contagious for the rest of the wrestlers. And so does Wright.
Wright said he understands the mentality necessary to become one of the top wrestlers in the country, and he hopes his teammates can take something away from that.
"Sometimes being young, sometimes I feel like I can't say anything," he said. "Sometimes if someone younger says something to one of the older kids they'll just, say, you know, 'Who are you?' If they ask, I can give my opinion as best I can, but I can't make them do it."
Wright also said Perry tells the team everyday he knows how to get wrestlers to win, it's a matter of them putting in the time and wanting to win. The coaches can't make everybody do what they are telling them, Wright said.
But his work ethic in practice and his maturation process are examples of why Wright understands what it takes to a win a national title.
"What [Perry] preaches is just a lot of maturing, where it's a difference between boys and men is what he's bringing," Wright said. "It's the college jump you could say. It's just something that our team has got to make and it'll take a lot of effort from a lot of people."