'I am not here just to wrestle'
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For former University of Iowa wrestler Phil Keddy the Olympic Trials serve as the next step in his wrestling career, but he wants more than the experience.
Former Hawkeye Phil Keddy is ready to take the next step in his wrestling career at the 2012 Olympic Trials, which will be held April 21-22 in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. File photo by Darren Miller.
"This is the next step—the trials," says Keddy, who will compete in the 84 kg/185 pound weight class April 21-22 at the 2012 Olympic Trials in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. "You have to win the trials to be able to put on the red, white, and blue singlet.
“I am not here just to wrestle; I am here to win."
Keddy competed for the Hawkeyes from 2005–10, where he was a three-time All-America honoree, including a fourth-place showing at the 2009 NCAA Championships. He finished his career with a 102-42 collegiate record at 184 pounds.
Keddy set his sights on representing the United States when he began the sport as a youngster. That's what drives him to train and prepare each day.
"From being a little kid, you look at the Olympics as the ultimate for wrestling," he says. "You kind of have that in the back of your head, growing up through every level of wrestling. You prepare and have success to get to the highest goal you can reach in wrestling, which is the Olympic gold medal."
Visit Iowa Now on Monday, April 23, for photos from the mats in Carver-Hawkeye Arena and a recap of the Olympic Trials.
Keddy will compete in a loaded weight class that includes two-time NCAA champion and four-time All-American Jake Herbert, along with Jon Reader (Iowa State), Mack Lewnes (Cornell) and Ed Ruth (Penn State).
"I have wrestled a lot of guys that are going to be there," says Keddy. "I've beaten some of them and some of them I haven't wrestled. It's going to be about getting ready for the guy put in front of me, no matter who it is. I have to be ready to win and look forward to the competition in itself."
Keddy believes training in Iowa City with other like-minded individuals in the Hawkeye Wrestling Club has been beneficial. He is one of seven former or current Hawkeyes who will compete in the trials.
Keddy looks forward to running out of the tunnel at the trials and getting a chance to wrestle inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena again.
"It's going to be awesome—you look forward to being able to wrestle back in the home arena in the most important tournament of your life, trying to win the trials and go to the Olympics," Keddy says. "It is hopefully going to be an extremely biased crowd toward us, and that's what you look forward to."
While the technical style will be different, Keddy says the main objective is the same.
"It is quite a bit different in terms of scoring—shorter periods, the best two-out-of-three periods—but when it comes down to it, it is all wrestling," he says. "It's all about good position, being smart when you're wrestling, and scoring points."
Prelims, quarterfinals, and semifinals begin each day at 9 a.m., with finals starting at 6 p.m. Single-day and all-session tickets are available for purchase at iowacitytolondon.com, or over the phone at 800-424-2957. Single-day tickets are $40 for adults and $25 for children high school age and younger. All-session tickets cost $70 for adults and $40 for children high school age and younger.