On the Mat with Matt Snyder
125 pounds or 133 pounds? For Matt Snyder, it really doesn’t matter. Typically a 125-pounder, Snyder is coming off a strong weekend at the 133-pound weight class for Virginia, winning both of his matches against ACC foes. Snyder was bumped up a weight class to fill UVa’s 133-pound slot last weekend and made the most of his opportunity. Despite giving up size and strength to each of his opponents, Snyder gutted out two impressive wins while giving the Cavaliers valuable points in the duals against North Carolina and Virginia Tech. Today he talks to VirginiaSports.com about his new experiences at 133, as well as his transition after transferring to UVa and his future aspirations in the medical field.
Q: Tell us about your experience last weekend wrestling up a weight?
Snyder: After I lost the wrestle-off to Ross (Gitomer) and they wanted me to go up a weight for the team, I’ve been trying to gain weight and I’ve been struggling with it and I was getting pretty down mentally. But this weekend was a big confidence boost. I just went in with nothing to lose because I’m doing it for the team. With nothing to lose I just went out there and I have an advantage because I’m not cutting any weight, and they’re all cutting weight. The first period they take me down and ride me, but the second and third period I’m so full of energy and can break them because I don’t have to cut much weight.
Q: What is your diet like when you are trying to get bigger and don’t have to cut weight?
Snyder: I haven’t been eating everything I want because I’m trying to put on six pounds of muscle by ACCs. The chances of that happening, well, we’ll see. But I try to eat five meals a day, three of them are really big meals. The day of the North Carolina match, I woke up and at breakfast at O-Hill I had two big pancakes, scrambled eggs, two cups of chocolate milk, a glass of water, and then I ate lunch and I was a half a pound over before we worked out before weigh-in.
Q: Does (UVa nutritionist) Rob Skinner work a lot with you?
Snyder: Yes, I actually just met with him last week, and we’re trying to set something up. It’s different for him because when he deals with wrestlers he’s usually trying to get their weight down, so it’s like an experiment we’re trying. I met with him and lined out a whole diet plan to try to add an extra 500 calories every day for a week to try and put on a pound, hopefully. But working out twice a day, that’s where it’s hard because I think I’m eating more but the more I work out, the more I burn. This is a brand new experience for me in terms of wrestling. I feel like a heavyweight. It’s fun.
Q: What are the other difficulties going up a weight?
Snyder: I’m just now starting to adapt to bumping up, because I wasn’t a very big 125 to begin with, and I’m giving up a lot of strength mostly, but kids at 133 aren’t as quick, and while I’m not very quick, I have a better match up speed wise, but it’s harder because I’m big into scrambling, and it’s harder to get my scrambles on kids with heavier hips. We’ll see where the rest of the year takes me, but I think in the end it’s going to help me out a lot for next year when I go back to 125.
Q: How has your transition to UVa been this year as a transfer from Bloomsburg?
Snyder: I did it for academics – I didn’t think I was challenging myself enough at Bloom, and I’m pre-med and I thought that this is the best of both worlds in terms of academics and wrestling. Ever since I came down here for a few weeks in the summer and in early August, I’ve loved every second of being here. This school is great – last semester was more challenging but it worked out well. The wrestling has been great. I love the coaches and the guys. This was the best decision of my life.
Q: What do you want to do with Pre-med?
Snyder: I’ve always wanted to go into orthopedics, but that is something I’ll decide in med school. Either pediatrics or orthopedics, but nothing that involves “life or death” or surgery.
Q: What was the difference between the first match against Virginia Tech’s Brock LiVorio (a 7-1 loss) versus the last match?
Snyder: The first match when I wrestled him, I weighed in at 125 that morning, so I was giving up 10 pounds or so. Actually, the match was the exact same – it was 2-0 going into the third, he had about two minutes of riding time, and I took top in that match too, but he got out in 30 seconds. I think the key for this match was the extra weight I had and that’s how I was able to hold him down this match, and being on top for two minutes is what broke him and when he took neutral in the third in the first match he was fresh and in the second match, since I had a little more size and I had just ridden him I had broken him and I was just able to take him down and finish the match off.
Q: What is the competition like in the wrestling room here?
Snyder: Wrestling with Ross (Gitomer) and Nick (Nelson) and Derek (Valenti) every day is great. I can wrestle with Ross and he’s my size and we can just go at it hard everyday. I can get better for going up to 133 because they have that size on me, which is beneficial since I’m wrestling heavier kids, and the freshmen have pushed me a lot too. It’s a lot of good experience and I have good workout partners in the room, and it’s helping me take it to the next level.
Q: What do you like to do outside of wrestling?
Snyder: I like to read, but the thing I like to do most is watch “The Office.” That’s what my roommates and I did over break – we watched every episode basically.
Food: Apple Pie a la Cold Stone ice cream. It’s the greatest thing I’ve ever had. This town needs a Cold Stone.
Spot on Grounds: Fourth floor of the Chem building, the back hall. I studied a lot there and met with my TA for my chem lab
Wrestling memory: Probably my state semi-finals match that I won in overtime. That atmosphere was amazing.
TV Show: “The Office”
Class: Last semester it was my ENWR Sports Arguments class
Music: Kenny Chesney
Movie: Slumdog Millionaire
Sports Team: Chicago Cubs
Celebrity: Taylor Swift