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Buckeye wrestlers’ sights set on US national team, international competition

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The collegiate wrestling season ended in the winter, but summer provides an opportunity for Ohio State wrestlers to compete on an international level.

Freshman Logan Stieber and senior Nikko Triggas will compete for a spot on the U.S. national team from June 9–11 at the 2011 World Team Trials in Oklahoma City, Okla.

Former Buckeyes Reece Humphrey, Colt Sponseller, J.D. Bergman and Tommy Rowlands also will be competing in the trials.

Stieber, who will compete in the 133-pound weight class, and Triggas, a Greco-Roman competitor who will compete in the 125-pound weight class, will challenge about eight to 10 other wrestlers in their bracket from across the country. The winner will represent the U.S. in the 2011 World Championships in Istanbul.

Greco-Roman is a Olympic form of wrestling which eliminates holds below the waist.

OSU wrestling coach Tom Ryan said both athletes are training hard to make the most of the opportunity.

“They’re here three to four hours a day,” Ryan said. “The training is very intense, so to do it for an extended period of time isn’t realistic. It’s a combination of running, skill work, technique, live wrestling and lifting.”

Triggas and Stieber weren’t able to compete on the OSU team for most of the 2010-11 season because of injury.

Triggas, a 2010 All-American, tore his labrum and needed surgery to repair it. While recovering, he returned to his home in Moraga, Calif., and took classes online.

“I took a semester at home, got all healed up, got my rehab done, and then I came back for winter quarter,” Triggas said. “I’m back to full strength now.”

Stieber came in with high hopes as a freshman but, during the very first match of the year, tore ligaments in his hand.

“It was tough being out,” Stieber said. “I could run a lot still, and I just got back into it in March. I’m back to 100 percent.”

Besides making it to the trials in Oklahoma City, Stieber already has qualified for the Junior World Championships, a competition for people under 21 in Romania from July 26–30.

Ryan said Stieber is a top-ranked wrestler in the U.S. under the age of 21.

Stieber grew up in Monroeville, Ohio, and attended Monroeville High School where he was a four-time state champion and graduated in a class with just 62 other kids.

Ryan also said he thinks Stieber’s success is especially impressive considering where he came from.

“Logan Stieber is from a one-stop-light town, and now he’s going to represent the United States in the Junior World Championships,” Ryan said. “It’s pretty amazing stuff.”

Both Stieber and Triggas said they like their chances at any tournament they enter.

“I never go to a tournament to lose, so I hope (my chances) are real good,” Triggas said. “I’ve been training really hard.”

Ryan agreed, saying, “their chances are great.”

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