#TeamUSATuesday: Men's Freestyle National Team member Ty Walz

By JD Rader | May 14, 2019, 2:15 p.m. (ET)

Ty Walz is currently the No. 3 wrestler at 97 kg for Team USA’s Men’s Freestyle National Team.

In high school, Walz was an Ohio high school state champion and a Cadet Fargo freestyle national champion.

After high school, Walz attended Virginia Tech where he was a three-time NCAA All-American and an ACC champion for the Hokies.

The 25-year-old Cleveland native currently resides in Blacksburg, Va. and trains at the Southeast Regional Training Center (SERTC) where he earned a U23 World bronze medal in 2017.

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

What is your favorite movie?
My favorite movie is the Big Lebowski. It’s my favorite because I admire the way The Dude lives.

Who is your favorite musical artist?
My favorite musical artist is probably alt-J. I think they have some of the most creative lyrics, beats, and music out there. It’s always interesting to break down their songs.

What is favorite food?

It’s probably a typical answer to say Chipotle because I know a lot of people like Chipotle, but I’m still going to stick to it because I think I like Chipotle more than anybody else.

What is your favorite sport to watch other than wrestling?

I’m going with CrossFit. It’s entertaining and I can relate to it more. I don’t play football or basketball, but I work out a lot.

What is your favorite place that you’ve traveled to?

Probably Havana, Cuba. It was beautiful there the entire time. I had very limited cell phone service, so it was kind of relaxing in its own way. What made it crazy was it’s about a 45-minute plane ride away, but it’s a completely different world.

What do you normally do to pass time on long trips?

I usually like making fun of the guys I’m travelling with, but if I’m traveling alone, I watch a lot of YouTube. I usually will text, call, or FaceTime my fiancé depending on how long it’s been. A lot of music too. I’m glued to my iPad.

What are some of your hobbies off of the mat?
I’m kind of a computer gamer, I have a bike that I enjoy riding a lot, and then I have two French bulldogs that are kind of my pride and joy. Other than that, I love spending time with my fiancé whenever we can. With wrestling, coaching, and traveling, it’s busy. So, whenever I get a moment to slow down and hangout with her, it’s always greatly appreciated.

What was your major in college and why?

I studied property management and real estate because it was way easier than business information and technology. That was my original major.

Why did you choose to stick around Virginia Tech after finishing your college career?

Virginia Tech is definitely engrained in my DNA. It’s made it very hard for me to consider leaving or seek out other opportunities because this is the place that I really found myself, found my wrestling, inspired me, and continues to inspire me. I’ve gotten to see it grow and change. I know where it’s going and I want to be a part of it.

How is it different coaching and training vs. going to college and training?
It’s a balance and something I still struggle with. There’s days where I come home, put my head my hands, and I think “man, I don’t know if I did the best job coaching today”. Then there’s other times too where I think I’m not giving enough time to myself or focusing on myself. So, it’s challenging, but Jared Frayer actually said it in one of his interviews, “why excel at one thing?” I’ve kind of tried to embody that. He’s right. Why try and be good at one thing? That’s the way I try and look at it and approach it each day.

What was going through your head when Mekhi Lewis won his national title?
Every time he takes the mat, because he has so much pride and is such a ridiculous athlete, I’m not wondering if he’s going to win. I’m wondering how he’s going to go about it. I’m wondering if he’s going to get to his offense. I’m wondering if the other guy is going to get his leg up in the air and he’s going to defend it two minutes, or if he’s going to find his cradle. I think that’s why it’s so exciting. He’s the least stressful dude to watch and coach.

How did you first get involved in wrestling?

When I was in eighth grade, my football coach was also the wrestling coach at the high school. He basically just told me I had to go out for wrestling and how much better it would make me at football. I wanted to play football, or at least thought I did, and that’s how I got introduced to it. It was miserable, but the whole time I was thinking, “I’m staying in good shape and I’m definitely getting better at football.” Then my sophomore year came around, and I actually quit football. I wasn’t getting any taller or faster and I wasn’t learning plays any better. That’s when I started doing wrestling as my sole sport. It’s funny when you fully commit to something and sell out how it works out and you get that much better.

How has wrestling impacted your life?
Like I said how Virginia Tech has been engrained in my DNA, wrestling even more so. Wrestling has not only allowed me to find myself more, but it truly is my only art form that I have. I can’t go and paint to express how I feel and I can’t go and sing or write lyrics to express who I am. But I feel like through my wrestling, I have the ability to tell my story a little bit and perform and do things the way I want to.

What motivates you during training?

Right now, the one thing that gets me out of bed in the morning is that sense of urgency that I know my style of wrestling and I know that clock is ticking on my athletic ability. Plus it could get taken from me at any time. Knowing that I want to get as good as I can in the time I have left in the sport.

The Walz file

Birthday: March 11, 1994
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
High school: St. Edward
College: Virginia Tech
Residence: Blacksburg, Va.
Club: NYAC/SERTC
Twitter: @t_wiggity_walz
Instagram: @twiggitywalz
• U.S. Open runner-up (2018)
• U23 World bronze medalist (2017)
• Three-time NCAA All-American (2015, 2016, 2017)
• Ohio high school state champion (2012)
• Cadet Fargo freestyle champion (2010)