10 Takeaways from the NCAA tournament


  1. Excuses are for other people. Spencer Lee wins an NCAA title with 2 torn ACLs. Now listen, I am not advocating that everyone with an injury or torn ACL should wrestle. But if you are going to compete when banged up, then it is no longer an excuse. Stop making excuses. Be creative and find new ways to get it done. Every wrestler could have had a million and one excuses this season. Most of the wrestlers this weekend were able to put them aside and have success in spite of the chaos.


  1. Keep Stanford Wrestling! Shane Griffith wins an NCAA title against all odds after Stanford announced that they will cut their wrestling program. Shame on Stanford after the wrestling team raises over $12 million, produces a National Champ and All Americans, not to mention positively impacts their lives forever. The Stanford administration still gives no valid reason for dropping the program. What a disgrace!


  1. Wrestling is so great, because it mirrors life in many ways. Imagine being Myles Amine. Already qualified for the Olympics, top seed at the NCAAs, finished 3rd twice before at the tournament, favorite to win this year. Loses a hard-fought semi-finals match. Dreams are crushed. Eye completely closed. Do you pack it in the next couple matches? Give a lackluster effort? Or continue to fight tooth and nail for each point. Myles comes back strong and wins two hard fought matches to place 3rd again. But it is the effort and attitude that is most impressive. I think this is why wrestling is so great. It is like life. There are going to be setbacks and heartache. If you can learn this in a sport and apply it to your life that’s a big win. It may be cliche to quote Rocky but “It ain’t about how hard you can hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keeping moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done.”


  1. “To be the best you have to beat the best.” -Shane Griffith. I think most people thought it was ridiculous to seed Shane Griffith #8. But if your goal is to win the whole tournament, it really doesn’t matter what you are seeded. You have to win them all anyway. I also think of Yahya Thomas (#25 seed) wrestling back to third place. Seeds are overrated!


  1. Confidence plus is a must in this sport. AJ Ferrari a great example as a true freshman. This doesn’t mean that everyone needs to have the same personality, deadlift or celebration but that confidence and self-belief needs to be there to win at this level. Ya gotta believe!


  1. Age is just a number. True freshman and young wrestlers are getting it done. Don’t use your age as an excuse. Now is the time!


  1. I’d rather be lucky than good. My coach used to kid around about this, but the more you see the more you realize the truth behind it. Josh Heil was unlucky to put it kindly. Sometimes the ball just doesn’t bounce your way. Such is life. How do you respond going forward? Not just on the mat but in life.


  1. Faith and perspective are pretty much everything. Tom Ryan had a great tweet during the NCAA’s “If we allow ourselves to fall in love with the ‘likes’ the ‘hates’ will break us. Counting on others to define our value is a dangerous space to live in. ‘Core Centered’ rather than ‘Other Centered’. God centered rather than counting on the world to define us. HE left us a map!” Listen to the interviews of the NCAA Champs. At least half of them thanked and gave Glory to God. And many of the wrestlers who fell short will surely find comfort in Him as well.


  1. There is no I in team. Iowa had only one National Champion but clinched the team title in the consolation finals. There were upsets and unexpected results but the team persevered. After the tournament Spencer Lee gave his NCAA championship hat to his teammate who was a senior not in the starting lineup. That’s a team!


  1. Find a purpose greater than yourself. Of course, you want to wrestle because you love it. However, the best wrestlers have a purpose greater than winning for themselves. First you have the faith aspect which I mentioned before. Many are wrestling to give glory to God. Shane Griffith also talked about the added motivation of wrestling for Stanford Wrestling and the unfortunate decision to drop the program. Spencer Lee talked about wanting to fight for his team and Alex Marinelli. Others talked about being inspired by their country, their families and coaches. What is going to propel you forward when you want to quit?