On the Mat with Mike Sewell
Mike Sewell is wrestling as well as he has all season. After battling an injury for much of the early part of the season, Sewell seems to be rounding into top form with the ACC Championships looming in two weeks. He won both matches last weekend and five of his last six bouts, with the lone loss coming in sudden-victory time to then-No. 11 Chris Brown of Old Dominion. Today he sits down with VirginiaSports.com to discuss a wide array of topics.
Question: You are coming off a big weekend – two wins, including an overtime win Sunday.
Sewell: Sunday was exciting. I tried to force the action the first six minutes and I bit my lip open so we had to go through a couple of blood times. The coaches definitely wanted me to push the pace the first few minutes. I was able to capitalize at the end.
Question: Senior Day had to be exciting for you – your last home match and you beat a quality opponent in overtime.
Sewell: It was really exciting. It was kind of sad that it was my last home match, but it was a good way to go out.
Question: Tell us how you got to Virginia from your home state of Washington. You don’t see a lot of students here from Washington.
Sewell: I actually had never even heard of Virginia. I was planning on going out East – my brother wrestled in the East (Columbia). There weren’t a whole lot of wrestling programs on the West Coast. I knew I needed to go out East or to the Midwest. I definitely looked at the academics, especially when I found out Virginia was the No. 1 public academic school – that was a big plus. I also came in to a great program and with a solid recruiting class – guys like Ross Gitomer, the Artusios, Pete Ferrara. The prestige of the university was definitely a factor. As a recruiting class, we wanted to come here and make a difference. And every recruiting class after us has gotten the ball rolling even more.
Question: Things have changed a lot here in your four years at Virginia.
Sewell: In my second year I got a new coach. Coach Bernstein was a great coach too, but Coach Garland brought in a whole new atmosphere and it got us going. He changed everything around and the coaches have worked with us in a whole different way.
Question: Different in what way?
Sewell: Matt Pell is kind of a funky dude, so he brings that aspect of technique. Scott Moore has a great attitude and another style, and those two really complement each other. We get different things out of each of them, which benefits our wrestling.
Question: How have you changed over four years?
Sewell: I’ve gotten more confident in my wrestling. When I first got to college, I was a tough kid but I went downhill a little my first year, but the past two years I have really stepped it up, and the coaches have been great with that. I’ve gotten a lot more confident in my style, which has reinforced what I learned my first couple of years, and even adding to that. I try to keep things straightforward – go in there, wear guys down, take them down.
Question: What has been your most positive experience at UVa?
Sewell: It might be cliché, but definitely the overall experience. When I first came to college, one of the first things coach said to us was ‘these are the guys that you will remember and will be your best friends because you never will go through anything like this in your life with a group of guys.’ You might have a job where you work with someone for 10 years, but we won’t sweat, bleed and cry with the same people for four years straight. That experience has really helped me a lot. Sometimes it is hard, but it has been a great experience.
Question: What do you like to do outside of wrestling?
Sewell: Now that I’ve gotten to Virginia, I read a lot more on my own for pleasure. When I go home, I love outdoor activities. I like to hike, and I wakeboard a lot. I really like hanging out with everyone on the team outside of wrestling. When we step out of the room, we all reconnect back with each other again.
Question: What kind of reading do you like to do?
Sewell: I’m really into Hemingway.
Question: Do you have a favorite?
Sewell: Old Man and the Sea
Question: Tell us about living in the Wrestling House.
Sewell: I live with Joe de Garavilla, Zach Anderson and Pete Ferrara. We try to dabble in every weight class. So we always have someone to wrestle. We have a wrestling mat in our yard, so we go out there and wrestle. We mainly just go out there and mess around, but it’s fun. We have a great time together.