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Regional Ready with Katz and Smith

March 3, 2008
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Liberty Sean Katz (left) and Christian Smith (right) get ready for the NCAA East Regional Championship, hosted by Liberty on Sunday.

Liberty Sean Katz (left) and Christian Smith (right) get ready for the NCAA East Regional Championship, hosted by Liberty on Sunday.

As Liberty University prepares to host its first-ever NCAA Championship event this Sunday in the Vines Center, LibertyFlames.com will be continuing a series throughout the week where wrestling fans can get to know better their starting 10 grapplers.

The Flames enter the NCAA East Regional Championship as the event's defending champion, taking the team title during the program's first year back on the wrestling mats. Liberty had four wrestlers win their weight classes during last year's event (Christian Smith at 125 pounds, Tim Harner at 141 pounds, Chad Porter at 165 pounds and Patrick Walker at heavyweight), with the quartet advancing to the national championship.

Liberty's wrestlers, along with grapplers from Delaware State, Duquesne, Gardner-Webb, Millersville and Wagner, will be looking to claim victory in their individual weight classes and punch their tickets to the NCAA National Championship, in St. Louis, Mo.

During today's interview, LibertyFlames.com will be featuring a question-and-answer session with Sean Katz (125 pounds) and Christian Smith (133 pounds).

1. What is your favorite Bible verse and why?
CS - My favorite verses are John 3:30 and Isaiah 40:28 because they emphasize how great God is and how much we need Him.
SK – My favorite verse is Philippians 4:13 because I feel like I can do anything when I put things in the Lord's hands.

2. What is your favorite movie and why?
CS - My favorite movie is "Facing the Giants" because it's very inspiring and has good morals and values.
SK – My favorite movie is "The Italian Job", because it is action packed and has a good plot.

3. What is your favorite memory while competing in your sport?
CS - My favorite memory in wrestling is winning my first state title during my sophomore year in overtime after losing to my opponent three previous times that same year.
SK - My favorite memory is winning districts my senior year.

4. What is your most embarrassing memory while competing in your sport?
CS - Going to a national tournament when I was in middle school and getting knocked out after my first two matches. We flew to Iowa for two matches and then had to go home.

5. I came to Liberty because … ?
CS - Because it's well balanced. I can grow spiritually, academically and athletically while using my talents for His glory in present and future.
SK – Because it gave me a Christian Division I wrestling opportunity.

6. Share something that people don't know about you?
CS - I have a twin sister who stole all the good looks.
SK - I tend to hold things (emotions/feelings) in too long.

7. What has been your defining moment as an athlete?
CS - Winning three Virginia state titles and ACC Championship as a true freshman.
SK - Being able to be in the line-up of a Division I wrestling program.

8. My first car was …
CS - White, 1989 Nissan pick-up truck, with an 8-inch lift.
SK - An Isuzu hombre pickup truck.

9. If you could be somebody else for a day, who would you be and why?
CS - Bill Gates, so I could spend his money and use his resources on poverty aid and spreading the gospel. Then the next day when we switched back, the world would be a better place.
SK - Kelly Slator, so I could get paid to surf all over the world.

10. Who is your favorite Liberty athlete?
CS - Patrick Walker - He sets a good all-around example to follow.
SK - Christian Smith.

11. What is the best advice you have ever been given?
CS – "To compete for an audience of One."
SK - "Too much mind …"

12. If you could change one rule in your sport, what would it be and why?
CS - Nothing, the rules and boundaries make it more exciting when you win.

13. After graduation I would like to …
CS - Ha-ha, I haven't planned that far ahead. Maybe coach a few years, go to seminary, or enter the real working world.
SK - Become a history teacher and assistant wrestling coach.

14. When I have an hour of free time, I like to …
CS - Listen to good music, hang out with good people and do random things.
SK - Talk and/or visit with friends and eat.

15. Words that describe me on the athletic field (and why) are …
CS - Determined, focused, composed, excited, and energized, because I think it's a balance of the two extremes that make up a good wrestler.
SK – Determined, because I will always give 100%.

16. If you could compete in any sport against any athlete, who would it be and why?
CS - Pat Hogan (Liberty football), because I think I'd smoke him just like in Madden '08.
SK - Paul Donahoe (Nebraska wrestling, currently ranked No. 4 in the county at 125 pounds), because I want to wrestle the best there is. In other words, to be the best, you have to beat the best!

17. My craziest ambition in life is to …
CS - Change the world first hand by visiting every continent.
SK - Go scuba diving or bungee jumping.

18. Do you have any pre-match rituals?
CS - They vary, sometimes I listen to music or get away from everything for a few minutes to clear my head.
SK - I pray before every match.

19. Who is one person in history that you would like to meet and why?
CS - Other than Christ, Paul because he was inarguably the most influential Christian in all of history. He was pretty much the man.
SK - George Washington because he got our country off on the right foot.

20. A place I've always wanted to visit, but never had the chance is (and why)?
CS – Europe, because it is filled with the history of many wars and ancient world civilizations.
SK - Costa Rica, so that I could go surfing.

21. What are four or five things you could not live without?
CS - Air, water/food, the Bible, good friends/family and good music.
SK - My family, God, the beach, milkshakes (out-of-season… of course!) and sports.

22. Who is your favorite athlete on your team to watch compete (and why)?
CS - The West Virginia boys, because they always have something up their sleeve.
SK – Christian Smith, because he has done so much for me the past two years and he deserves/and works hard for what he wants.

23. What sets wrestling apart as a sport and makes it appealing?
CS - The balance of skills, talents, hard work and attitude. To perform your best you must be mentally and physically ready, as all eyes are on you.
SK - It is, I think, the hardest sport there is and it makes you a better person.

24. If I won a million dollars, I would …
CS - Have a lot of money. I would probably buy a house and invest the rest.

25. What cartoon character are you most alike (and why)?
CS – Fievel (from American Tails). He sort of fits my personality and sense of humor (and because my friends say so).

26. If someone would look at the songs on my iPod, I would be embarrassed for them to see I have this song …
CS - "I Swear" by Boyz II Men
SK – "Mickey" (Hey Mickey You're So Fine) by Bwitched

27. The first thing people notice about me when they meet me is …
CS - I have curly hair and I enjoy laughing.
SK - My smile.

28. The last book I read and enjoyed was (and why) …
CS - The Barbarian Way by Erwin McManus. It is on point how we must give our heart away to the only One who can make us fully alive!