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NCAA champ Roman Bravo-Young: “Just a small kid from a small town”


Legendary Sunnyside wrestler Roman Bravo-Young, a Penn State junior who captured his first NCAA championship Saturday night, mentioned in a post-match interview his responsibility of representing his hometown Tucson during his 133-pound title quest.

“This is what we train for. I think adding an NCAA championship to your name is legendary and something no one forgets. It’s always with me,” Bravo-Young told Penn State athletic department on-air reporter Mitch Gerber.

“I’m representing more than myself. I’m representing a great university. I’m representing my home, my family, Tucson, Arizona. … When is the last time there’s been a champ from Tucson, Arizona? I’m just a small kid from a small town.”

Bravo-Young, the No. 2 seed at 133 pounds, defeated top-seeded Daton Fix of Oklahoma State with a 4-2 sudden victory in overtime in the NCAA championship at St. Louis. It was not only Bravo-Young’s first national title but it was Penn State’s first championship at that weight class.

“Anyone can do it,” Bravo-Young told Gerber. “I’m excited to get home next week. I want to keep inspiring the youth. That’s what it’s about. Showing people that anyone can go out there and make it happen.”

The Sunnyside great who won four state titles and went 182-0 during his Blue Devil career, told reporters after his win that every day since January and 50 times before his match Saturday, he wrote the phrase “133 pound national champion” in a notebook and signed his name next to it.

“There’ve been a lot of mental ups and downs, especially this season. I’ve been training my whole life for this, and it’s just one of many, but man, I trained my whole life for this,” said Bravo-Young, who trains at Jet Sports Training while back home.

“All the little things, all the ups and downs, all the peaks and valleys — it’s a long time coming. I don’t really know how to explain it and I haven’t really taken it in yet, but it’s definitely been a lot of hard work.”

Bravo-Young’s NCAA title run in the 133-pound competition:

Round 1: No. 31 Sean Carter, Appalachian State – W, 20-5 (TF; 7:00)
Round 2: No. 18 Kyle Burwick, Wisconsin – W, 11-3 MD
Quarterfinals: No. 10 Louie Hayes, Virginia – W, 4-1
Semifinals: No. 3 Korbin Myers, Virginia Tech – W, 5-3
Finals: No. 1 Daton Fix, Oklahoma State – W, 4-2 (SV)


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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.

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