General of the Week: Zach Bylykbashi, ’19


Zach Bylykbashi, ‘19. Photo courtesy of W&L Sports Info

Kathryn Young, Sports Writer

Zach Bylykbashi, ’19, won the 141-pound weight class and was named the tournament’s outstanding wrestler at the NCAA Southeast regional meet in Rocky Mount, Va., on Feb. 24. Bylykbashi carries an overall record of 88 and 24, and a record of 28 and 8 in his junior season. He is the first General to qualify for the NCAA National Championship twice in nearly 30 years. Bylykbashi helped lead the Generals to their best finish since the NCAA changed to a regional format in 2013, placing seventh out of 18 teams. Bylykbashi will compete in the NCAA Nationals in Cleveland, Ohio, on March 9-10.

Ring-tum Phi: How did you feel after winning your weight class and being named outstanding wrestler?

Zach Bylykbashi, ‘19: It felt good to win the regional tournament. Last year, I qualified for nationals taking third in the region, so it felt great to improve from last year. Earning outstanding wrestler was also a nice achievement and will provide a confidence boost heading into nationals.

Phi: Why did you decide to wrestle at the collegiate level?

ZB: I decided to wrestle in college after my sophomore year of high school when I really started working hard in the offseason and improving tremendously.

Phi: What are you looking forward to during the NCAA Nationals?

ZB: I am really looking forward to taking the mat in Cleveland and performing my best. Last year, I feel like I let the pressure and atmosphere of the national tournament get to me. This year, I know I will be much more relaxed which gives me a lot of confidence when thinking about the tournament. Being relaxed and confident will put me in the best position to achieve my goal of winning a national title.

Phi: What has been your mindset for your junior season?

ZB: My mindset has been on training to beat the best guys in the country. Despite any adversity or losses I have had this season, I never lost sight of my goal and, in order to achieve that goal, I knew I would have to be at my best in March to beat the other top competitors at my weight class. That is exactly where I feel I am at right now.

Phi: What did the team do to prepare for the NCAA Southeast Regional?

ZB: We continued to train hard the week before the tournament and then tapered off and let our bodies heal so that we would feel our best when we needed to most. Coach Shearer and Coach Radsky do a great job of scheduling our training to have us where we need to be.

Phi: Aside from wrestling, what are you looking forward to during the rest of winter term?

ZB: Having some time to heal my body and use that time to focus on school work.

Phi: Do you have any pre-meet rituals? If so, what are they?

ZB: I have too many pre-match rituals to list them all, but one is that I like to listen to certain songs before I wrestle to help get in the right mindset.

Phi: What is your favorite Washington and Lee wrestling memory?

ZB: My favorite Washington & Lee wrestling memory is travelling to Lynchburg to watch the field hockey team play in an important ODAC game. The game was during Fall Break and we all drove up there and loudly cheered on the lady Gennies. It was a great team bonding experience and one that I will never forget.