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California native held a live chat with fans Wednesday as Ohio State opens its home schedule with the Buckeye Duals Sunday.

COLUMBUS, Ohio Nikko Triggas, a sophomore on the Ohio State wrestling team, held an online chat Wednesday afternoon, answering fans’ questions. This weekend, Ohio State welcomes Notre Dame College, Cleveland State and Cumberland to St. John Arena for the 2008 Buckeye Duals Sunday. The Scarlet and Gray will wrestle Notre Dame and Cleveland State at 1 and 3 p.m., respectively.

Wrestling at 125 pounds, the native of Moraga, Calif., opened his 2008-09 season, finishing second at the Buffalo Open Nov. 2 and third at N.C. State’s Wolfpack Open last Saturday. As a true freshman, Triggas qualified for the NCAA championships in his rookie campaign.

Over the summer, the Buckeye won two gold medals at the 2008 Pan American Championships, sweeping the Junior Greco-Roman and freestyle events (55kg/121) in Cuenca, Ecuador. For his impressive performances, he was named TheMat.com Wrestler of the Week for the week of June 23.

OhioStateBuckeyes.com::  

Welcome to Nikko’s chat. He will now start answering questions.

Jeff S.:Oxford, Ohio:  

What’s your plan for this season? Do you feel you’ve improved over the summer?

Nikko::  

My plan for the season is to get to the podium which means Top 8 finishes are necessary. I need to work on my feet with down blocking and sprawling. I feel I have improved this summer wrestling freestyle and Greco because it has changed the way I wrestle.

Stacey:Columbus:  

Do you have any pre-match rituals? What will the Buckeyes Duals be like this weekend?

Nikko::  

My pre-match rituals are not typical of a wrestler. Most like to get focused and into the match. I like to get my head away from wrestling to settle myself. I do this by singing and I love my oldies. I feel like this helps me explode in my first period because my energy is saved up and I am relaxed.

 

I should get two matches in at the Buckeyes Duals this weekend. Notre Dame will be at 1 p.m. and ClevelandState will be at 3 p.m. in St. John Arena. They both should be good matches.

James:Delta, Ohio:  

What’s it like being a wrestler at OhioState?

Nikko::  

Being a wrestler at OhioState is intense. We work hard in the room, putting our sweat and blood into a sport we love. Having a whole team with high expectations really increases the level of competition in the room.

James:Delta, Ohio:  

Do you expect the team to have another strong finish at the NCAAs this year?

Nikko::  

Our finish last year at the NCAA championships was strong but not strong enough. Out of our seven NCAA qualifiers, we have six returning this season. With another year under our belt, the six of us expect to do better. We also have teammates expected to step up and fill the void JD Bergman left.

Madison:Westerville:  

You’re from California … how has it been adapting to Columbus, the Midwest and the weather?

Nikko::  

I lucked out last year with the weather. Columbus experienced two bad storms and I was on the road for both. I’ve had a blast in Columbus because it is more diverse than where I come from.

Kyle:Marion:  

If you were an American Gladiator, what would your name be?

Nikko::  

BUTTERCUP. It would be misleading.

John:Sandusky:  

If you had a theme song, what would it be?

Nikko::  

A compilation of songs by the Temptations and AC/DC.

Matt:Cincinnati:  

What meets are you looking forward to this year?

Nikko::  

I’m looking forward to the Las Vegas Invitational. It is a tough tournament and I get to see my family. It is a win-win situation for me.

Grandma:Cali:  

Are you ready to see us???

Nikko::  

Of course, Grandma. I’ll see you Saturday night. Bring Papa’s cookies, please. P.S. First tag to Papa and all the cousins.

Mike:Bakersfield:  

Do you find it hard to switch from collegiate to Greco? Is it hard to hold the international weight at 121 pounds?

Nikko::  

It is always hard to switch from upper body to grabbing the legs. Fortunately, I have been doing it for some years now and the transition was pretty smooth. Staying down at 121 pounds was hard this summer. We’ll see if I can hold it down next summer.

Robert:Galveston:  

Did you wrestle at the pre-Olympic trials this year???

Nikko::  

I wrestled at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Las Vegas this year and took fifth. It was a great experience. It is my goal to improve four places in the next four years.

Mark P.:San Bruno, CA:  

Is it tougher on you mentally to be so far away from home and not having your family at every match?

Nikko::  

This year is going to be a lot tougher than last year because my family will not be able to come out to visit me as much. Last year, I saw a lot of them because of cheap flights.

Mark P.:San Bruno, CA:  

Your signature finishing move has always been your figure four. Do you find it more difficult to lock that in now at the collegiate level?

Nikko::  

My signature move still catches people off guard. And to the surprise of many, it still works. I was told it wouldn’t work on the college level but I work on it everyday and have had success with it.

Vinny:Rio Nido:  

When did you start wrestling?

Nikko::  

First tag, Vinny. I started wrestling in the sixth grade and loved it ever since.

OhioStateBuckeyes.com::  

That’s all the time for Nikko. Thanks for all the questions.