Junior Chris Perez won 19 matches during his rookie campaign, leading all freshmen. Since then, injuries have kept the New York native almost entirely off the mat. In anticipation of what looks to be a promising season for the Tigers, The Daily Princetonian had the opportunity to sit down with the 141-pounder to discuss psychology, dodgeball and Hoagie Haven.
Daily Princetonian: Where are you from and what’s the best part about being from there?
Chris Perez: I am from Levittown, N.Y. It’s on the south shore of Long Island. The best part would be… we’re considered strong island, because everyone’s just so strong.
DP: What department are you concentrating in?
CP: I am a psychology major.
DP: How does that make you feel?
CP: It makes me feel like Superman. I can read everybody’s mind. Is that what Superman does? Something along those lines.
DP: Could you then explain from a psychological standpoint your former teammate Garret Frey ’14?
CP: Gary… Where do I start? Gary has this delusional mindset regarding the world in which he is the ultimate ruler, and everyone else is his understudy in whatever field it may be. He is an expert on anything and everything.
DP: When did you start wrestling?
CP: I started wrestling in seventh grade.
DP: Wrestling’s a pretty painful endeavor on the whole. Why did you choose to stick with it instead of one of the more flashy sports?
CP: Well, number one, I was not blessed with any sort of size and/or stature. My brothers got all that height, so they went to the sports where you could make the millions of dollars while I stuck to one where I could participate without being by far the smallest person on the court. I’m also a little bit psychotic, which helps out a little bit.
DP: What has been the highlight of your wrestling career thus far?
CP: The highlight of my career was last year. We wrestled at Madison Square Garden. In our first match, we wrestled Drexel. I ended up pinning the kid, which helped us win the match.
DP: What role would you say you play on the team athletically?
CP: I think some guys look to me as a leader. As far as work ethic, I definitely work hard. Also, I can come in when guys are going through adversity. I’ve been through more injuries and more adversity than most people would like to have in their time here, but I’m coming in every day and working hard.
DP: What about socially?
CP: I think people know I like to go out and have a good time. There’s no real role on our team for social responsibilities, but I guess if people want to go out and there’s a guy to call, I might be on that short list.
DP: On that note, what would say is the best part about being in your eating club, the Tiger Inn?
CP: Overall, everybody loves everybody equally. Everyone is equal there, which makes me want to be a part of it. Everyone is always welcome there and always has a good time. As much as we have a reputation for being an “Animal House,” when things die down, you can always just sit down at a meal and talk to anybody about anything. It’s a fun environment.
DP: Playing for TI in the intramural dodgeball tournament last year, you employed a strategy that was at once devious and brilliant. Could you talk about what it was like to take home the title?
CP: First, I would like to put a name on my strategy: “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Rifle.” The rifle being my right arm. That was a lot of fun, considering I wasn’t planning on participating at all. I just ran into a bunch of water polo guys, and they said, “Hey, we need somebody to show up. Get a Hawaiian shirt on and let’s go.” I actually have played dodgeball quite a lot during my short time on Earth. I think I’ve perfected it. My small stature combined with my good throwing arm works out pretty well.
DP: Regarding “the rifle,” how much can you bicep curl?
CP: I’m not sure… give me a 60 pound dumbbell and I could probably throw it up a few times.
DP: On match day, do you have any superstitions or rituals you go through?
CP: I used to be very superstitious, but then I tried to change everything up in matches I knew I would win. So now I don’t really care at all what I do. When I go out there and don’t let anything mess with my mind and let my instincts take over, I usually end up doing better. I do usually listen to some music. Always the national anthem right before. I like to give everybody a smack of freedom.
DP: What are your goals for the season, individually and as a team?
CP: Individually, it’s get on the podium and be an All-American. As a team, I would love to win the Ivy League. Cornell’s been up there for about 15 straight years, and I’d love to be part of the team that knocks them off their pedestal.
DP: What’s the most bizarre or embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you on a wrestling mat?
CP: I lost once. Yeah, that was embarrassing. You hate to see that. Besides that… It wasn’t particularly embarrassing, but I got kind of a bad look for it. I went to do a move on a kid and ended up dropping him on his head. I kind of looked like a jerk.
DP: Who would you say is your quirkiest teammate?
CP: There’s Kevin Moylan, but he’s currently out for the year. I mean, we’ve got a number of personalities on our team. Sophomore heavyweight Ray O’Donnell might be up there for that one. Let’s give Ray a little shout-out.
DP: If you could bring three things on a deserted island, what would they be?
CP: My mom. A lifetime supply of Hoagie Haven. And… let’s go with a boat.
DP: What’s your usual hoagie?
CP: I used to be a Sanchez guy. But I’ve recently made the transition to the Chicken Pachanga. Big fan. It’s got chicken, bacon, some sauce on there. I’m not really sure what else is on it. They throw some chips on it, some mozzarella sticks. Usually quenches my craving.
DP: What tattoos are you rocking at the moment?
CP: I currently have four. There’s one for my brothers on my ribs. I have my family crest on my back. I have a tribute to my dad on my chest. And I’ve got my boy Mickey Mouse on my bicep.
DP: If you could be a bender from Avatar: the Last Airbender, which of the four nations would you choose?
CP: I’d probably go fire. Last time I watched, they were pretty much running the show, and I like to be at the top.
DP: The signature “On Tap” question: if five of your fingers were drink dispensers, which drinks would they serve?
CP: I’m going to go with Blue Moon. Not Milwaukee’s Best. Corona. Then Gatorade, Glacier Freeze. That’s the light blue one. Water. I’ve got to think about this… I definitely need chocolate milk. TruMoo chocolate milk, to be specific.