Branding Iron: How are you feeling mentally and physically now that the season is over?
Bryce Meredith: Throughout the season it really is a grind. In wrestling you have weight cutting which brings that grind to a whole new level, and a lot of people don’t understand the struggles of missing meals. Even though I’m not cutting a lot of weight, personally, I still have to constantly watch it. The grind is also the reason you love the sport at the same time. Some days I’m like, man I just need a day off, but at the same time it’s fun to have that purpose to work hard.
BI: Which one is more difficult during the season, gaining weight or cutting weight?
BM: When you are cutting weight, you absolutely have to make the weigh in. Of course when I was younger, gaining weight was hard because being really full all the time isn’t very fun. But I definitely feel more pressure when I have to be down to weight, being dehydrated and all that can be tough. When you’re gaining, you just have to remind yourself to take that extra bite.
BI: How would you recap you season overall?
BM: It had its ups and downs for sure. I started the season with a shoulder injury right before the Nebraska duel. I didn’t practice that week, but the doctor told me if I wrestled the injury wouldn’t get any worse, so I decided to go to duel. I was probably a little too prideful to sit the match out and I ended up losing. I helped me understand that I can’t wrestle scared for my injury. If you aren’t going 100% you are probably going to lose that match, so it was definitely a learning experience. I got healthier and wrestled better as the season went on and at the end of the day, the end result is all you really care about.
BI: How would you grade yourself in those respects?
BM: Well, I lost a few more times than I would have liked to, but getting fourth at NCAAs is still great. I’m walking away with my head held high and proud of myself.
BI: How was this year different than last year?
BM: Well, people tend to think that because I got second last year and fourth this year that I had an off year. That isn’t the case. Last year I was much more under the radar and was able to wrestle people who didn’t know me. I could tell this year that people had watched a lot more film on me and prepared better, and after you become an NCAA finalist, you have a target on your back and are going to get your opponents very best week in and week out. I added a lot to my arsenal and I’m proud to say I got fourth at nationals.
BI: What is the atmosphere like at the NCAA Tournament?
BM: Unbelievable. It’s just an arena filled with 20,000 wrestling super fans going nuts for three days straight. It’s unlike any meet that I’ve gone to because it’s so loud and there are moments during your match where you hear screaming for things people are doing on the mat next to you. There was one point where I actually heard the screams and looked over during my match at another one and was like, “Bryce what are you doing?” It’s just an unreal energy in there, I get goosebumps every time.
BI: When you step on the mat at the NCAAs, what’s going through your mind?
BM: I am the best wrestler in the world. You have to think that way and have that confidence every time you wrestle. It may not be true, but you have to believe that because if you have any doubt at all, you’re going to get beat plain and simple.
BI: Bryce Meredith, Two time NCAA All-American, what do those words mean to you?
BM: It means everything. When you put 15 years of work into this dream and your parents put so much money into it, it becomes incredibly special to hear those words. You get the feeling that it was all worth it. It’s almost like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders thinking of how many people you’ve made proud.