Earlier this week, Cole Matthews announced his commitment to the Pitt wrestling team. I interviewed the Reynolds senior about his decision to come to Pitt, pursuing another state title, and what he hopes to accomplish in college.
Stephen Patrick: What specifically drew you to Pitt? The coaching staff, other athletes, the campus?
Cole Matthews: I like the coaching staff, I like the coaching staff a lot actually. They’re all young guys and I can relate to them.
SP: How does coach Gavin’s philosophy fit your personal style?
CM: Funny thing, he majored in philosophy and always talks about philosophy. His philosophy… is hard to explain. He’s very technical and I need someone with technique to help me with some of my wrestling.
SP: And how about coach Headlee or coach Leen?
CM: They’re very technical too. Anybody that performed at a D1 level, they learn a lot of technique through the years, and I feel they have a lot to offer me.
SP: After winning states your freshman year, you’ve finished 3rd and 2nd since. How does this motivate you going into your senior year?
CM: It makes me want to win. I hate losing. I lost to two tough kids with Brian Courtney and Max Murin, but they were definitely beatable. So, it gets the fire going.
SP: Talk about having an older brother that is also very good at wrestling, how much have you learned from Austin?
CM: I’ve learned a good amount form Austin. I also have an older brother that wrestled too, he was a runner up. But Austin, he was never very technical honestly, he didn’t really show moves, but whenever he would learn something it would get passed down to me. It helps a lot though; he’s a big help.
SP: Besides your high school practices at Reynolds (which is a traditional wrestling power), where did you train in high school? Which clubs?
CM: Do you know Bad Karma? Mark Steen, whenever I was little all the way up to seventh grade, I would go to his practices, and we’d go down to some Quest practices, and a lot of freestyle stuff in the summer at Bad Karma, so he was a big help too. But in high school I never really went to any clubs.
SP: Did you consider any other schools?
CM: Yes I did. And it was a long and tough process but I narrowed it down to four. It was Pitt, Edinboro (his brother Austin wrestles for the Fighting Scots), Rider, and American. I laid it all out and the best fit for me was Pittsburgh.
SP: What specifically do you need to work on to transition to college?
CM: I have the mental aspect of it. I just need to get my hands dirty, you know what I mean? I just need to get in there and get on the grind. I know I can do it so I just want to get in there.
SP: Have you discussed or thought about which weight class you’ll wrestle? What about redshirting?
CM: We haven’t talked about redshirting at all but we did talk about weight class which would be 141 for me. I don’t know if they want me to go 149 or not but I have a small little frame for 141; I think I could do very well there.
SP: What about this year in high school, are you staying at 138?
CM: Yeah I think for Ironman I’m going to go 138, but yeah I’ll probably wrestle 138 all year. It will be whatever the team needs me go at 138 or 145.
SP: How big of a role did the Pitt Wrestling Club play in your decision?
CM: It was a big part of getting to meet the coaches and all that. I could go in there during the summer before I went and wrestled out in Vegas and you learn a lot just by going in there once or twice a week and getting to go hands-on with the guys and the coaches. It helped me a lot this summer.
SP: Lastly, what are you goals for college?
CM: I want to be a National Champion. I want to be on the podium all four years.