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Seven Good Minutes with Shaun Smith
Today, the "Seven Good Minutes" segment sits down with Shaun Smith, who earned his first berth to the national championship by winning the 157-pound title at this year's NCAA East Regional Qualifier.
The series will continue tomorrow with an in-depth look into Chris Daggett, Liberty's two-time national qualifier at 184 pounds. The series will wrap up with segments on Christian Smith (133 pounds) and Tim Harner (141 pounds) later in the week.
Seven Good Minutes Segments
Shaun Smith – March 15
Chris Daggett – March 16
Christian Smith – March 17
Tim Harner – March 18
This year's quarter gives Liberty 14 national qualifiers since the program was reinstated after a 12-year hiatus for the 2006-07 season. The Flames posted a 12-9-1 dual meet record this past season, culminating with their third-straight NCAA East Regional team title.
Seven Good Minutes with Shaun Smith
Audio Interview with Shaun Smith
Shaun Smith will be looking for leadership and direction from the trio of other Flames who will be traveling alongside him to this year's national championship, as the junior will be the lone rookie amongst the group after finally achieving a lifelong dream.
Smith has shown steady progress at the NCAA East Regionals, as the Washington, W.Va., native has improved each year at the qualifying event.
As a freshman, Smith fell just one victory shy of reaching the 20-win plateau, as the collegiate rookie posted a 19-18 mark. The career high in total wins included fourth-place finishes at the Virginia State Intercollegiates and the Navy Classic, but he could only find a third-place showing at the 2007 NCAA East Regional Qualifier in Pittsburgh, Pa.
With a year's experience under his belt, Smith opened the 2007-08 campaign strong with a fourth-place showing at the Brockport/Oklahoma Gold Classic.
The 157-pounder went into the 2008 NCAA East Regional event a winner in three of his previous four dual events, and used the momentum to make his first appearance in the qualifiers' title bout.
However, reigning weight class title holder Jarrett Hostetter of Millersville used his previous experience to eek out a 5-2 decision victory inside the Vines Center, leaving Smith once again on the verge of joining the nation's elite wrestlers.
This past year, Smith has spent this season sharing the 157-pound weight class with sophomore Julian Colon, with the pair of grapplers giving the Flames 17 victories at the weight division.
Smith took advantage of head coach Jesse Castro's vote of confidence at this year's Eastern Regional Duals, as the junior was 3-0 on the day to impress the coaching staff, including a third-period pin (5:30) over Wagner's Nick Dalcero to help the Flames wrap up their second-straight team title at the NCAA East Regional preview event.
Following an 11-1 major decision victory over VMI's Michael Long to give the junior four-straight wins and five in his last six bouts, Smith got the nod from Castro over Colon as the Flames headed to Boiling Springs, N.C., for this year's NCAA East Regional.
Smith opened the one-day qualifying event with his second win by fall over Wagner's Dalcero, marking the 157-pounders third match (out of 24) to not end in a decision outcome during the 2008-09 season.
Following a 4-2 decision victory over Duquesne's Nathan Reinhart, Smith once again found himself just a victory away from a national qualifier. And seven minutes would not be enough to determine the bout, as the junior stood tied 3-3 with Delaware State's Brandon Gardner following the third period.
But finally, after three years of trying and watching 10 other national qualifiers around him at Liberty, Smith achieved something he had been striving for since wrestling under Flames assistant coach Pat Sole at Parkersburg South High School. He escaped the grasps of the Hornet's grappler, giving him the deciding point in a sudden death bout, 4-3, and his first career trip to the NCAA National Wrestling Championship.
Smith's Career Record at Liberty
Smith's Career at the NCAA National Championship
First appearance at the NCAA National Championship
Career record at the NCAA National Championship: 0-0
Getting to Know Shaun Smith
What is your favorite Bible verse and why?
I Corinthians 13:11
I know it's not good for me, but I love to eat …
What was the best movie you watched over the last year?
I came to Liberty because …
Pat Sole (Liberty assistant coach and former high school coach at Parkersburg South High School)
Who is your favorite Bible character and why?
My dream job would be …
Video game tester
If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?
The ability to go back in time so I could change my mistakes.
If I were named "Coach for a Day", I would make my coaches (and why) …
I don't know
My favorite thing about being a part of the Liberty wrestling program is (and why) …
If you could have dinner with three people throughout history, who would they be and why?
My papaw, Kramer and Orson Wells
My personal goals this season are …
Squat to 550 pounds
What cartoon character are you most like (and why)?
If someone would look at the songs on my iPod, I would be embarrassed for them to see I have this song is …
I'm not sure since mine got stolen.
The first thing people notice about me when they meet me is …
When you were a little child, what did you want to be "when you grew up" and are you pursuing it still as a career/profession after graduation?
Yes, because I wanted to be a professional baseball player and I still think I can achieve this goal.