http://www.collegian.psu.edu/archive/19 ... rts-18.asp
Prescott wins NCAA 118-pound title
By LORI SHONTZ
Collegian Sports Writer
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The first time assistant wrestling coach John Fritz saw Jeff Prescott wrestle, he loved Prescott's aggressiveness.
"I thought if only everyone wrestled that way, it would be great," Fritz said.
Prescott's aggressiveness has been his trademark, and Saturday night it won him a national title at 118 pounds and the Outsatnding Wrestler Award of the NCAA Tournament.
"It's just the highest high you can ever get," Prescott said.
After major decisioning Chad Zaputil of Iowa, 14-0, in the championship match, Prescott jumped into Fritz's arms and cried.
He had made it look easy. But it wasn't.
"No one thinks about losing 15 pounds. All the extra running, the sprints, pull-ups, lifting weights, jumping rope -- no one looks at all that," Prescott said.
Instead of sleeping the night before the final, Prescott thought about all his hard work. And he thought about his father, his No. 1 fan, who died last November. Prescott dedicated this season to his father and wanted to win a national championship for him.
Before the final match, Prescott placed a picture of his father in trainer Dan Monthley's hands.
"He won it for . . . well, he won it for himself, and that's important, but we're all thinking of his father right now," Fritz said, wiping his eyes.
Prescott withdrew from school partway through the fall semester to better deal with his father's death. When he returned for the spring semester, Prescott had to toughen his mind. Mental strength, more than anything, wins national titles.
"He's a very caring kid," Fritz said. "But he lets it affect him positively."
Prescott credited his teammates, roommates and coaches with helping him stay focused.
"You know, you need someone and they're there," he said. "I didn't know I needed them at the time, but now I think about it and I did -- and they were there."
Immediately after receiving his national championship plaque, Prescott called his mother. She told him to call back after he won the Outstanding Wrestler Award, but Prescott didn't expect to talk to his mother again before leaving Iowa.
"There's just so many big guys in this tournament," he said, surrounded by fans wanting an autograph or a handshake. "It really hasn't sunk in yet --it'll probably hit me tomorrow at 6:30 a.m."
Prescott won the OW because he dominated every one of his opponents. He pinned Navy's Jeff Stepanik in the first round, pinned North Carolina's Ty Moore in the second and major decisioned eighth-seeded Eric Akin of Iowa State in the quarterfinals.
In the semifinals, Prescott faced Lew Rosselli of Edinboro, whom he major decisioned to win the Eastern Wrestling League title. This time Rosselli stalled in hopes of forcing Prescott to make a mistake. But Prescott posted a 5-0 victory that wasn't as close as the score suggested.
"I was glad to see Jeff didn't push the frustration button," Coach Rich Lorenzo said.
Prescott had technical falled Zaputil, 18-2 at 4:31, at the national dual meet championships, but wasn't sure he'd be able to do so again. He scored the first takedown 43 seconds into the match Saturday night and took Zaputil -- and the Iowa fans -- right out of the match.
"He's not out there to win 3-2," Fritz said. "He's out there to totally shut off and break them."
Fritz, who won a national title for Penn State at 126 pounds in 1975, spent most of the season telling Prescott to focus on one match at a time. He also drilled with Prescott, and he rode the bike with him to help him make weight.
Every time Prescott wrestled, Fritz got nearly as nervous as he did before competing himself.
"Fritz would be sweating and all fired up and yelling, 'One more stepping stone, Prescott, one more step. You're going to get better, Buzzsaw,' " Prescott said.
"I didn't really think about winning -- that's not the way I thought of it. Every match was a stepping stone."
Prescott stepped so far, so high and so fast that the coaches knew he'd be able to dominate his weight class as he did -- physically and mentally.
"Jeff has so many moves -- if he hits you with his best move and that doesn't work, he'll come back with something almost as good," Fritz said.
"He's a pit bull," Lorenzo said. "He's one of the fiercest competitors we've ever had at Penn State."