USA Wrestling #TeamUSATuesday: Gre...

#TeamUSATuesday: Greco-Roman National Team member Patrick Smith

By JD Rader, USA Wrestling | June 18, 2019, 4:37 p.m. (ET)

Patrick Smith is currently the No. 1 wrestler at 77 kg/169.8 lbs. for Team USA’s Greco-Roman National Team. He claimed the top spot by winning the World Team Trials Challenge Tournament in May and then defeating Junior World champion Kamal Bey at Final X: Rutgers.

After completing his college career at the University of Minnesota, Smith stayed and became a member of the Minnesota Storm. Since transitioning to Greco-Roman full-time, the Minnesota native has been a staple on the domestic Senior Greco-Roman scene.

In addition to being a 2017 and 2019 World Team member, Smith has made six-straight National Teams, is a University World silver medalist, a U.S. Open champion, and a three-time Pan American champion.

Smith took some time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions.

What is your favorite movie?

I always say Forest Gump. That guy did everything. He rewrote all of American history.

Who is your favorite musical artist?
Garth Brooks, hands down. I don’t know if he has a bad song.

What is your favorite sport to watch other than wrestling?
Baseball because it’s relaxing. It’s like the opposite of wrestling. It’s slow and you can eat while you play. It’s fun.

Who is your favorite wrestler, either past or present, to watch?
I have to stick with Minnesota guys, so I’ll say either Mike Houck or Brandon Paulson because of their intensity and pace. 

What is your favorite place that you’ve traveled to?
Wrestling wise, for sure Iran. Wrestling is like the NFL over there, it’s their biggest sport. The fans are incredible, they know what’s going on, and they make it a show every time. 

What do you normally do to pass time when you travel?
Read, hang out with the other guys on the team, and try to explore the city and get immersed in the culture. 

What are some of your hobbies off of the mat?
I like to play guitar, be at the lake, and just hang out with my friends. 

What was your major in college and why?
My undergrad was business and psychology, and my graduate degree is in human resources and industrial relations. 

Do you have any plans once you finish your wrestling career?
I’d like to probably do something in business. I don’t have it totally nailed down yet, but when an opportunity arises I’ll take it.

Why did you choose stick around Minnesota after finishing your college career?
The training situation. We had a lot of great guys in the room at that time. Jordan Holm did a really great job of bringing guys in and making it possible for people to stick around Minnesota. I think we have the best coaches in the country in Brandon Paulson, Dan Chandler, Mike Houck, and Dave Zuniga. The history in Minnesota is huge and I grew up looking up to Minnesota Storm guys, so I wanted to be a part of that. 

How did you first get involved in wrestling?
I have an older brother who’s 11 years older than me. He was wrestling with me from the time I could roll over, so I was kind of ingrained in it right away. I wanted to be just like him growing up. I got a pair of wrestling shoes and a singlet for my fifth birthday.

Do you have any pre-match rituals?
I make sure I get a good warm up and blow it out about three bouts out to get loose. If I start to get nervous, I say Psalm 23 in my head. I always get a hand slap from the coach before going on the mat and then say “let’s go.” Other than that, not a ton of rituals. I maybe listen to music on the ride over, but once I get there I don’t mess with the music too much anymore.  

How would you describe your wrestling style?
High pace and brutality. I try and put the guy in as much pain as possible. If I work as hard as I can, I know he’s going to be pretty tired at the end of the match. 

What motivates you during training?
I think it goes back to faith based stuff for me. We are created in the image of our creator, and he calls us to be the best we are in everything that we do. That’s the biggest thing for me, being the best possible version of myself every day.

What does it mean to be able to represent America in the World Championships?
It means a lot. I believe in the idea of America. I think we’re the best country in the Word. To be able to wear the USA singlet is an amazing opportunity. I hope that the way that I compete and wrestle out there is a good representation of everything that is great about America.  

The Smith file
Birthday: Dec. 19, 1990
High School: Chaska High School
College: University of Minnesota
Residence: Minneapolis, Minn.
Club: Minnesota Storm
Twitter: @papsmitty
Instagram: @pathsmith
Two-time World Team member (2017, 2019)
Six-time National Team member (2014-2019)
Three-time Pan American champion (2015, 2016, 2017)
University World silver medalist (2014)
Olympic Team Trials runner-up (2016)
US Open champion (2017)
Two-time World Team Trials runner-up (2014, 2015)
Five-time US Open runner-up (2014, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019)
Two-time Junior Greco-Roman All-American (2008, 2009)
Two-time Minnesota High School State place-winner