Interview with John Dergo
Posted by Duke Burk (NIU) on March 29, 2010
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2010 184 lb All-American John Dergo from the University of Illinois took some time to talk about his final season, his dad, football, and his future.
DB: Looking back a week ago, what are your feelings on the 2010 NCAA Tournament?
Dergo: Looking back, I still feel a little disappointed in myself. I didn’t accomplish my ultimate goal. However, I feel like I can walk away from the tournament with my head high and use it as a learning experience.
DB: How did the move up a weight help you this season?
Dergo: It helped tremendously. I felt strong and full of energy, whether it was during practices and training or competing. Mentally it helped me throughout the season also.
DB: What was the experience like being ranked so highly for most of the season? Any added pressure?
Dergo: It was a good experience being a top guy for most of the year. For a lot of guys they came out and wrestled their best against me knowing I was ranked high. As for pressure, I trained and competed hard every time out. I never really looked at rankings throughout my career in sports. It didn’t add much pressure to me at all.
DB: How did the coaching change last spring help or hurt you?
Dergo: When we went through the process of finding the new coach, it was a bit frustrating. I was nervous because I really had no clue what was going to happen. Especially going into my senior year, I didn’t want the year to be a mess. After Heff was named the head coach, not much changed at all. Not for me anyways. I trained similarly as I had done under Coach Johnson.
DB: Throughout college, how much did you miss football?
Dergo: I like this question. I never really missed the sport at all. I actually disliked much of the sport to be completely honest. The main aspect of football that I miss is the high school bonds I made with many of my closest friends. A lot of memories come from either football games or practices.
DB: How did being a "coach's kid" help you throughout high school and college?
Dergo: I would say it helped a little bit. My dad always pushed me in the right direction with athletics and hoped I would pick up and buy into what he was saying. He never forced me to really do anything which I always liked about it. After I entered college, he kind of stepped away from being the coach and became more of my dad. He let the coaches down here at school take over.
DB: What did putting on the "Illinois" singlet mean to you the last 4 years?
Dergo: Putting on that singlet means a lot to me. Being able to represent my home state with such pride in the wrestling we have here is amazing. I wouldn’t have changed anything.
DB: What things will you miss about being a college wrestler?
Dergo: One thing I will miss the most is competing. Getting that nervous feeling before you step on the mat is the best feeling. Not at the time of course, but when I look back on it, that’s what I will miss most. Many bus trips during the Big Ten season were great fun also.
DB: What are your plans for the future? Any football/wrestling involved in your plans? Coaching?
Dergo: No football or wrestling for me. I would like to coach somewhere, but I am not sure how that is going to work out yet. I also have the option of physical therapy school in a couple years.
DB: Anything else you would like to say to the Illinois Matmen community?
Dergo: I never really was a guy to go on these websites, but they are great for the sport of wrestling. Promoting this sport and the wrestlers is huge. So for all that you guys have done for Illinois wrestling as a state is awesome, and keep it up. Thanks!
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