Senior Spotlight: Scott Giffin

The 2010-11 wrestling season was a disappointing one for Scott Giffin – but only by his lofty standards. Battling injuries, the Penn senior lost his first two matches at the NCAA Wrestling Championships, which were held in Philadelphia. Still, no one can take away what Giffin did throughout his illustrious career at Penn, which included becoming the 24th All-American in program history a year ago by finishing seventh at the 2010 NCAA Championships – a moment, he says, that justified his decision to transfer from the University of Michigan back in 2007. Here’s more from one of Penn’s most prolific senior athletes, who told the Gazette, among other things, all about the sport he almost played, the decision that changed his life and the big news he got just this week:

On his decision to come to Penn: He liked Michigan but decided to transfer after redshirting the 2006-07 season because his chances of wrestling there looked bleak in the short-term. Penn, located 20 minutes from where he grew up in South Jersey, would give him the competitive opportunity he was looking for. “Both academically and athletically, Penn was a great fit for me,” he said. “It’s Penn – you really can’t lose.”

Time devoted to wrestling over the past five years: It’s hard to put a time on it since, in addition to the daily practices, there are all of his own workouts plus the constant battle of staying at the right weight. “It’s been endless. I started wrestling when I was five years old. It’s been a full-time life commitment, rather than just a seasonal thing.”

Favorite part of college wrestling: The NCAA Championships. “I got to see Big 10 football and got to see a Michigan-Penn State game for my recruiting visit – front row, 40 yard line. That’s great but I think the NCAA (wrestling) tournament’s atmosphere is so wild and crazy. Anything can happen. For me, it was so exciting to be a part of.”

Best wrestling moment: Finishing seventh in the nation in the 174-pound weight class last season and earning All-America honors. “For me, it finally made sense why I left Michigan to be here. … There are a lot of great wrestlers who come in and never get to be All-American. It’s crazy I get to call myself an All-American. It’s very rewarding.”

Becoming an All-American was when "it finally made sense" for Giffin

Funniest wrestling moment: The bus rides and the jokes before and after practice. “The whole environment makes it worth it every day.”

Favorite Ivy League team to wrestle against: No hesitation – Cornell. The Big Red are a national force and have captured nine straight Ivy League championships. “We never beat them when I was here, but the rivalry runs very deep.”

Favorite part of Penn away from wrestling: The overall atmosphere and the warmth he felt from the rest of the student body after transferring. “You can meet people outside the athletic community here. At Michigan, that really wasn’t an option.”

Favorite sport besides wrestling: Football. The diehard Eagles fan played the sport his first year at Eastern (N.J.) High before giving it up to focus on wrestling. “I think if I were another two inches taller I might be playing football somewhere.”

Favorite class: The PPE (philosophy, politics and economics) major wasn’t in Wharton but found accounting to be the most intriguing of any of his classes.

Favorite restaurant in Philly: Fogo de Chao, an all-you-can eat Brazilian steakhouse in Center City. “It’s fun going with a bunch of guys on the team and basically robbing them blind of all their food. Fifty bucks is just not fair for them.”

Thoughts on graduation: A lot more excitement than nerves. “Being a fifth-year senior is different than being a fourth-year senior. All my friends from home have been working for close to a year know. I’m looking forward to being a part of that.”

Future plans: On Monday, the same day as this interview, he signed an offer letter to work at a consulting company in Baltimore called Invotex. “I was really freaking out about for a long time trying to figure it out. I’m happy everything came together.”


Filed under Senior Spotlight, Wrestling

3 responses to “Senior Spotlight: Scott Giffin

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