Oct. 26, 2012
GopherSports: Why did you choose to come to Minnesota?
Cody Phillips: For one, I love the school. I love the campus and plus the team. The team was a big thing and the coaches. Everybody is like a family here so I really like that aspect everybody there to support each other.
GS: What other schools did you consider?
CP: Purdue, Michigan State, Missouri, Oklahoma State, North Dakota State, and one in Iowa.
GS: How did you get started in wrestling?
CP: I actually got started in wrestling when I was in kindergarten. My neighbor, who I grew up hunting with and was a couple of years older than me, started wrestling. His dad told my dad that he should let me do it. I started wrestling at the club at our school.
GS: You have gathered a lot of honors (all-conference, All-America, etc.). Is there one you are more proud of than the rest?
CP: The one I am probably most proud of is just being a state champ because I was the first one from my high school to do so. Going undefeated freshman and sophomore year to two state championships is memorable. Definitely the first two years of becoming a state champ but the first one is definitely the one that sticks out for me out of all of my other achievements.
GS: What are you most looking forward to about starting college?
CP: My favorite part is definitely getting to know everyone on the team. Coming in as a freshman, you don’t want to do this because you’re afraid it’s not the right thing to do, but once you are around the guys and the coaches, you become more of a family. You get the aspect that no one judges and everyone supports one another. That’s probably my favorite part. That everyone came together and it’s not awkward to go into the locker room because you don’t know anyone to talk to.
GS: What are some of your goals for your first season as a Golden Gopher?
CP: My first season is to just go in and work hard. I know it is a ton different than high school so just to get better every day. Get as much college mat time as I can as a freshman to constantly learn every day the things I need to do to be better and help me for next year.
GS: You were the first state champion wrestler from your high school. What does it feel like to know you have left that kind of mark of the program?
CP: I love it. People knew me from before but I would go in and help coach the little wrestling kids from middle and elementary schools. It made me realize how much they looked up to me and that a lot of kids actually started wrestling because they knew I did. I really feel like that I helped build the wrestling program back home at my high school. I’m glad that I’ve been able to do that.
GS: What has been your favorite wrestling moment or experience?
CP: My favorite one is definitely my first state championship because I hadn’t wrestled the kid since we were little. We didn’t wrestling for a couple of years then we ended up facing in the state finals and I finally beat him.
GS: You are a four-time recipient of the mental attitude award. Wrestling is just as much mental as it is physical. Talk about that side of the sport.
CP: Everything about it is mental. It is so easy to break in wrestling compared to other sports. You have to have everything. You have to have the confidence, be self-motivated. You have to want to push yourself to succeed. It’s both physical and mental.
GS: You didn’t list a major but are there any specifics that you are playing around with as possibilities?
CP: I had it in mind being a conservation officer or a conservation warden. One of my teammates has a brother who is one in Wisconsin so I spent the weekend with him as we were deer-hunting. The really made me nudge towards that. Growing up, I always loved the outdoors. I was always hunting and fishing out on our land.
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Minnesota graduates four wrestlers from this year’s roster, each with their own unique path forward now that their collegiate wrestling careers have ended