Hartford, Conn. - Trinity College senior William Youngblood capped off an impressive wrestling career with a loss in the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Division III Regional Championships on March 3. The tournament was held in Worcester, Mass. at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute Athletic Center. Youngblood put forth the strong effort in the ring that has long been a characteristic of his game, but ultimately was unable to defeat Shane Parcel of Roger Williams in a tight 4-3 quarterfinal match. I had a chance to sit down with William, or Billy as he likes to be called, and ask him a few questions about his four-year wrestling career.
Q: You finished your Trinity College career with 58 individual victories on the mat. What were some of the best solo accomplishments of your career?
A: There have been a few really good matches every season where I beat someone who looks better than me on paper. Going into each match I truly believed that I could beat that individual. At this level of wrestling the range of talent is not as wide as high school so on my best day I felt I could run with any of my opponents. One day I wrestled particularly well was the Ted Reese tournament at the University of Southern Maine last season. After hurting my shoulder in the second match of the day, I went on to win that match and the one succeeding it to take first place. Petros Holigitas and Greg Vaughn also won their final bouts, which earned us the team trophy to take home.
Q: It seems that you are more concerned with team victories than individual ones. I noticed the majority of your wins came at the 174-pound weight class. How difficult is it competing anywhere from 174 to 197 pounds, and what is something about the weight classes that an inexperienced fan would not know?
A: I think the majority of matches I wrestled were at 184 but I have competed at 197 on more than a few occasions. When I was a freshman, I came in and could not take the 184 spot so I found myself taking over at 197. There is always a chance in a match that I may have to bump up a weight class to best align our team with the opponent and secure the most points possible.
Q: You, Daniel Lofrese, and Kyle Muir are three four-year seniors who have clearly sacrificed a great deal for the success of Trinity Wrestling. How important have they been throughout your long career?
A: Danny and Kyle have been great friends of mine since we first met at the first wrestling meeting our freshman year. That year we had a fairly large freshman group joining the wrestling team. Four years later, only three of us remained as the seniors on the team. Danny and Kyle have both been extremely important in my wrestling and college career. I have spent countless hours with them both on and off the wrestling mats. We have been very close each winter break, where we had the opportunity to stay in beautiful Hartford and wrestle twice a day. The three of us have kept each other going for all these years and pushed each other when a long season began to wear us down.
Q: How did you first become interested in wrestling? Were their other sports you considered growing up? Were basketball players jealous of your large body type?
A: I was actually a multi-sport athlete when I was younger and then wrestling seemed to take the spotlight. I started baseball first. In fourth grade I started wrestling. Throughout middle school I competed in both wrestling and basketball in the winter, as well as Pop Warner football in the fall and baseball in the spring. By the end of middle school I had lost interest in basketball and as high school started baseball came out of focus because the team had many catchers, which was the position I enjoyed playing the most. Through high school I continued with football and wrestling until graduation. I really grew tall throughout my last three years in high school and by then I had already made the transition to wrestling. While I was playing basketball I was not nearly as tall as I am today.
Q: Are you happy with the way your senior season went?
A: The season has finally come to an end and I haven't worked out in a week and a half. Although it was always a goal to place in the Division III Northeast Regional tournament and go to the NCAA National Championships in Iowa, it never happened. This is a bit disappointing but wrestling has taught me many life lessons and shaped who I am today. I am happy that I stuck with it through the many years and left everything out on the mat.
Q: How do you feel about "professional" wrestling?
A: I have never really been a fan of pro wrestling. I have always just thought of it as totally fake and it causes a misconception about traditional wrestling. Two wrestlers that were on my high school team when I was younger went on to wrestle for Bucknell and the University of Virginia. Those two guys have always been role models for me to compete at the collegiate level.
Q: Who has been the biggest influence on your wrestling career?
My parents have had the biggest influence on me throughout my wrestling career. They are absolutely one of the main reasons why I stayed with it for so many years. Even competing in college, my parents have made large sacrifices to come watch me all over New England. They have been at the majority of my matches over the last 13 years, and in the last four years they have been driving to different states, staying in hotels, and always bringing the team sandwiches, Gatorade, etc. I owe them great thanks for supporting me throughout my career and their presence was always motivating.
written by Jack Owens '13