IOWA CITY, Iowa – Joe Rau (Minnesota Storm) held up his end of the bargain for a third meeting with Caylor Williams (Army/WCAP), as he breezed right by Jarod Trice (Titan Mercury WC) in the quarterfinal via a crisp 9-0 tech fall before coming out on top over Orry Ellor (NYAC) 6-0 to advance to the best-of-three final. Williams, for his part, dominated Daniel Miller (Marines) and G Angelo Hancock (NYAC) to earn the right to face Rau once again. Rau has been victorious over Williams the two times they have met. First at the Farrell; and then at the US Open, a tournament Rau did not need to compete in given that he had already qualified in New York for the Olympic Trials.
We caught up with Joe Rau following his semi-final win to check in on how he’s doing.
5PM: How has the last couple of weeks been in terms of overall prep and adjustments?
Joe Rau: There’s not too much you can do as far as changing it up technically. You know, you put in the work. And you have to kind of keep yourself calm and be confident in your training up to that point. A lot of guys will try to cram like they’re cramming for a test and I think that is very detrimental to performing because they’re like, “Oh, I got the Olympic Trials in two weeks, I better train, train, train” and they start doing more and more. You know, you could definitely tweak a couple of things technically. I went out to OTC, we worked on a couple of par terre techniques, some little things on my feet, but it wasn’t too much changing. It was more just getting the mind ready. It’s a huge internal battle, I think it’s huge.
I’ve been very, very nervous this whole week…
5PM: It’s a little hard for me to picture you being nervous for some reason…
JR: (Laughs) I’m always nervous! I’m always messing around but there’s a rhyme and reason to it, you know.
5PM: Well, you know I think of you and I think of the Open and Frisco. The reason why is because you didn’t have to do the Open and it was a terrific performance. And then at Frisco you lost to the Cuban, but you battled back for bronze. It just seems to me that you have something in you that’s kind of different, that you always want to get get after it. Any opportunity you can to get out there, fantastic, am I right?
JR: Yeah, it’s been huge for me jumping levels, it’s been going to every competition that I could. I didn’t come from a wrestling family, I didn’t even come with a very, very successful past. But I was always getting better. I laced them up every chance that I could. You know as a kid, as a high schooler, in college… I went to every tournament that I could and it really helped me, the down ones, the up ones… To me, competing’s fun. I love competing, it’s huge. I might be nervous getting up to it but once I’m there, I’m like, “Arrrgh, alright I’m getting in it!” I’m in it, so I get kind of pumped. I love competing.
5PM: It’s ten to one (in the afternoon). What are you doing between now and tonight?
JR: I’m just gonna relax, you know. Maybe get some food, I got some family here, chill out. Get my mind off it until it’s time.
5PM: Do you rest, do you nap or something like that?
JR: Yeah, I nap. Some people don’t like to, but I try to nap if my nerves allow me. But I’m pretty good at settling myself down. I’ve been in this situation before. So hopefully get some rest, get some normal food. You know, you’re in here eating granola bars and a tiny little piece of fruit or something.
5PM: Live food.
JR: (Laughs) Yeah! Get some real food and chill out.