This is the 44th installment of Seven Minutes. It's a series of interviews with college wrestling's top stars. Most of the question-and-answer sessions last roughly seven minutes. Hence the name.
North Carolina State senior Pete Renda is ranked third nationally at 184 pounds after placing third as a junior at the NCAA Championships.
Let’s say wrestling has one governing body and you’re the president, what would you want to change?
I’d try to make it where there’s more points scored and let guys take risks, more like freestyle and maybe add an exposure rule — something closer to the freestyle rules at all levels.
Take me through your pre-match preparation: What’s the typical size of a last-minute weight cut for you? What do you put in your body after you step on the scale? What do you have pumping through your headphones during your warm-up?
The day of I try to take it pretty easy with my warm-up, so I want to be pretty close to weight coming in the day of the match and then I’ll lose the last three or four pounds the hour before just doing normal wrestling. Once I weigh in, I like to stay relaxed. I stay off my feet until the last 15 minutes or so before my match and then I like listen to music and not get too pumped up, so I’m not over-excited walking onto the mat.
I like oatmeal (after weigh-ins) and anything easy on the stomach — a lot of granola bars, power bars, stuff like that.
What’s the last thing you tell yourself before you set your foot on the line?
My mantra last year was just keep scoring the next point. That’s something I always try to go back to in a match when it gets real close and things start getting fired up. I just think back to scoring the next point and taking it one point at a time.
What’s one thing your coach yells that you can hear every time?
I don’t hear a lot during my matches. Mainly, when we go out of bounds and he screams and it’s always something positive — get back in there, you’ve got this. But during my wrestling, I don’t hear much at all.
What’s the strangest thing that’s ever gone through your mind during a match?
This might not be crazy, but sometimes during a match I’ll be thinking about what I’m going to eat to enjoy this post-match.
Who’s one guy you’ve wrestled in college that you enjoy scrapping against and why?
I guess (Virginia Tech’s) Zack Zavatsky because we’re both in the ACC and we’ve wrestled a couple times in high school and now in college and we’ve got a little rivalry going on. We’ve split 1-1 in college and it’s always a close match and there’s a lot of scoring and scrambling.
If you could go back and re-wrestle any match, which would it be and why?
I’d say my semifinal match at nationals (in 2016) when I wrestled Gabe Dean just because it was one of those matches where I walked into the match and had a little bit too much respect for him and I don’t think I wrestled to my potential.
What’s the most interesting about you that has nothing to do with wrestling?
I really like reading. I read a lot of non-fiction. I’ve been reading a lot of Malcolm Gladwell books and an econ book right now.
What’s your greatest fear?
Definitely the fear of heights.