Decade In Review: Ohio State Wrestling's Biggest Moments On the Mat

By Andy Vance on January 18, 2020 at 5:15 pm
Ohio State Wrestling

The 2010s were Ohio State's biggest decade in the history of the wrestling program, without question.

Decade in Review: The 2010s

Tom Ryan’s teams captured the 2015 NCAA championship and finished as national runner-up in 2017, 2018, and 2019, capping a five-year streak of top-three finishes at the tournament. With four Buckeyes winning a combined nine individual NCAA titles and five finishing as four-time All-Americans over the past 10 years, we asked Ryan and assistant head coach J Jaggers to pick their favorite moments of the past decade.

10. Ohio State Beats Iowa for the First Time in 46 Years

When the 2012 Buckeyes hosted the No. 2 Iowa Hawkeyes in St. John Arena in late January, history was not in their favor. The last time the scarlet and gray had defeated the black and gold on the mat, Lyndon Johnson was President of the United States (Feb. 12, 1966).

A team of underclassman did something nearly five decades of their predecessors could not, however, as the Buckeyes downed Iowa Jan. 20 in a 21-9 romp, putting Tom Ryan's team in the win column against his alma mater for the first time in 46 years. Some 5,684 fans participated in the white out at St. John Arena, watching Ryan pick up his 181st career win and make a little bit of history.

9. Three Four-Time All Americans On One Roster

Ohio State fielded a lot of elite talent over the past 10 years, and the latter years of the decade featured rosters that consistently qualified as many or more wrestlers for the NCAA Championship as any team in the country. The 2017-2018 squad epitomized the success the Buckeyes had on the recruiting trail throughout the decade, finishing the season as NCAA Championship runners-up for a second-consecutive season.

The Buckeyes finished the season with a school record eight All Americans, and as the only team in history to have three four-time All Americans on the same roster. Kyle Snyder, Nathan Tomasello and Bo Jordan represented one of the most-successful senior classes in program history, having won three Big Ten titles and an NCAA championship during their four years in scarlet and gray.

"I'll look back at my career at Ohio State and just be thankful for not what I was able to achieve, but all the moments and camaraderie and experience I've had with my teammates and coaches, and my improvement as a wrestler and as a man and my faith especially, all that's grown so much," Snyder said. "So that's what I'll look back on."

8. Nathan Tomasello Wins Four Big Ten Titles

NaTo was a special talent. The Parma, Ohio native was a four-time All American who never placed lower than third at the NCAA tournament and was a four-time Academic All Big Ten selection to boot.

His senior season capped an incredible career with a little bit of history, too, becoming just the 15th wrestler in Big Ten history to capture four individual conference titles. Wrestling the entire season with a torn ACL, Tomasello battled back from injury to win his fourth Big Ten championship and cement his status as one of Ohio State's all time bests.

7. Finishing in the Top 3 at the NCAA Tourney Five Years in a Row

Since Tom Ryan took the reins of Ohio State's wrestling program, his teams have finished outside the Top 8 at the NCAA Tournament only twice. For the past five years they've inhabited truly rarified air, bringing home a team trophy five years running, and have been national runners-up in each of the past three seasons.

2018 NCAA Runners-up

The trophy case in the new Jennings Family Wrestling Facility has lots and lots of hardware.

6. Winning Three Big Ten Team Titles

For teams of Ohio State's caliber, the goal will always be NCAA championships... but given that the Big Ten is the premier wrestling conference in the country, winning Big Ten titles matters almost as much. Ohio State won three of those over the past 10 years, bringing home the bacon in 2015, 2017 and 2018, upending the eventual NCAA-champion Nittany Lions in '17 and '18.

5. Tomasello Wins NCAA Title as a Redshirt Freshman

Tomasello's stellar career got off to a roaring start in his first year as a starter. Going 33-4 on the season, NaTo rolled into the NCAA Championships with a full head of steam and rolled through the field.

He defeated the top-seeded and previously unbeaten Alan Waters of Missouri in the tournament semifinals and then defeated Zeke Moisey of West Virginia in the finals to capture an individual title and help lead the Buckeyes to their first team title in program history.

4. Myles Martin Wins It All As a True Freshman

John Cooper was well known for saying of young players, "If a dog is going to bite, he'll bite as a pup." Myles Martin bit off a whole chunk in his true freshman season, becoming just the 15th true freshman in NCAA history – and first-ever at Ohio State – to win a national championship.

His title run was not only historic, it was improbable, too: he was the first 11 seed to win a NCAA title since 1979. Martin outscored his opponents 27-9 in four matches on his way to the 2016 NCAA finals, where he upset top-seeded Bo Nickal of Penn State 11-9, including an incredible six-point sequence (takedown, four-point nearfall) in the second period.

Myles Martin with the 6-point move

Martin would finish his career as the seventh four-time All American in Ohio State history, never finishing lower than fifth at the NCAA tournament.

3. Captain America Wins Wrestling's Triple Crown

For a three-year stretch, no one on the planet was better than Kyle Snyder. While supporters of the Ohio Regional Training Center may have conflicting emotions about Snyder now, there is no question that the OSU alumnus is one of the greatest athletes in school history.

He is the youngest wrestler in history to win the World, NCAA, and Olympic championships in the same year, capping 2016 by winning gold at the Rio games.

His record of achievement in scarlet and gray is one of the greatest of all time: a four-time All American, Snyder went three-for-three in the NCAA finals as a heavyweight and won three Big Ten titles along the way. He was a three-time Ohio State Male Athlete of the Year and received the 2018 Big Ten Medal of Honor for his accomplishments.

Winning three world-level championships, including the Olympic gold, is an exceptional achievement. Doing it as a college student is nothing short of amazing.

2. Logan Stieber Wins Four NCAA Titles

Twelve human beings have walked on the moon since man first broke the bonds of gravity and traveled to the heavens.

Only four men in history have won four NCAA Wrestling Championships. Ohio State's Logan Stieber became the fourth to do so, putting the exclamation point on the greatest career in program history.

Stieber went four-for-four at the big dance, winning a pair of titles at both 133 and 141 pounds. He is without question one of the greatest athletes in Ohio State history, on the Buckeye Mount Rushmore alongside greats like Jesse Owens, Archie Griffin, and Jack Nicklaus. Known for his lethal arm-bar series, Stieber is the prototype of exceptional folkstyle wrestling.

Logie Bear also enjoyed an incredible freestyle career after exhausting his collegiate eligibility, winning the 2016 world freestyle championships at 61 kg.

In addition to leading the Buckeyes to their first NCAA team title in school history, Stieber also became the first wrestler in program history to win the Dan Hodge Trophy, known as "wrestling's Heisman."

"Growing up, the first college match I saw was Cael Sanderson winning his fourth title," said Stieber to "I knew the Hodge Trophy was the biggest and best award so I wanted to win it. To now be in that group is very humbling and I'm proud to have won it."

He is without a doubt the program's man of the decade.

1. 2015 Buckeyes Win Program's First NCAA Team Title

Just 68 days after the football team won the first-ever College Football Playoff, Ohio State's wrestling program won its first NCAA Wrestling Championship. It took 94 years for the Buckeyes to reach the summit, coming close in 2008 and 2009 but finishing second in the tournament to Iowa both years.

It was an incredible tournament for the Buckeyes, with senior Logan Stieber winning his fourth-consecutive individual national title and redshirt freshman Nathan Tomasello winning an individual title in the 125-pound class.

Kenny Courts, Bo Jordan and Kyle Snyder each joined Stieber and Tomasello as All Americans. The Buckeyes amassed 102.0 team points to finish 18 points ahead of second-place Iowa (84 points).

Ohio State found itself in a golden age over the past decade. The Buckeyes finished the 2018-2019 season with a runner-up placement at the NCAA Wrestling Championships, marking the fifth consecutive top-3 placement for Tom Ryan’s Buckeyes, and bringing yet another team trophy home to Columbus.

The team currently stands fourth in the NWCA Coaches Poll, and is well-positioned to bring home another team trophy from this year's tournament in Minneapolis.

Now training in the Jennings Family Wrestling Facility, the nicest wrestling facility in the country, the sky is the limit for the Buckeye wrestling program over the next decade.

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