During the nearly eight-hour lull between Joe Giaramita's semifinal victory and his NCAA DIII national championship win, Giaramita took it easy.
The Cortland 197-pound junior left the Giant Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania, almost immediately after his semifinal bout on the morning of March 14, and grabbed a seafood lunch with some friends. From his demeanor, you wouldn't even know Giaramita was just a short while away from confronting his childhood dream.
Calm, composed, reserved. That's the type of person Giaramita is on and off the mat -- even on the biggest stage.
In the championship bout against No. 2 Shane Siefert of Wisconsin-Whitewater, fourth-seeded Giaramita fell behind in the third period, but a takedown helped him extend the match to sudden-victory overtime.
"One of the big things he does is he always stays calm," Cortland coach Brad Bruhn said. "Never really gets rattled, even if something bad happens or if something really good happens."
Undaunted by the circumstances, Giaramita executed another takedown with 18 seconds left in the first one-minute extra session to clinch the title, a 6-4 victory.
"Surreal. That's how I'd describe it," said Giaramita, who improved to 32-1 and became Cortland's fifth all-time wrestling national champ. "It's something I always dreamed about as a kid."
Giaramita, who won a Suffolk County title and finished third in the state as a senior at John Glenn High School in 2011, placed sixth in the nation last year.
"After that, I think I really got it in my head that I could be a national champion," Giaramita said.
This year, Cortland introduced a new assistant coach, Ryan LeBlanc, who was instrumental in Giaramita's getting over the hump.
"LeBlanc wrestled at Indiana. Three-time national qualifier," Giaramita said. "He knows what you need to do in order to succeed in the sport."
Not only was LeBlanc, a 2014 graduate of Indiana, able to guide Giaramita from the sidelines, but he also wrestled with Giaramita a couple of times a week.
"Right away, I could tell that he had the potential to do something special," LeBlanc said. "He's very sound technically and very athletic. So from that, I think the biggest thing was kind of tightening up some of the stuff he was already doing."
"He's just one of those guys who, when he starts having success, it just kind of rolls. Everything starts compiling."
Giaramita, now a three-time All-American, hopes his success continues to snowball into his senior season, when he has a chance to become Cortland's first two-time national champ.
"That's the new dream," Giaramita said.