For most people, three national championships might be a lifetime’s worth of achievements.
But Ohio State redshirt-junior wrestler Logan Stieber doesn’t have plans to stop there: he has an opportunity to supercede it.
Stieber collected his third consecutive individual national title Saturday when he defeated Virginia Tech’s Devin Carter, 10-1, and earned the most national titles in OSU wrestling history.
He also has three Big Ten titles to go along with those three national titles.
The 141-pounder has been successful not only in his time at OSU, but throughout his entire wrestling career, coach Tom Ryan said Monday.
“I knew as a sophomore (in high school) this could happen,” Ryan said of Stieber’s continued success. “I saw something that I had never seen before. His awareness, his timing … he is like a ninja.”
Stieber won his first two national titles in the 133-pound class before adding weight in the offseason to compete at a higher class, something he said was out of necessity.
“I was getting too big for 133,” Stieber said. “I won’t say it affected my performance, but it affected my body. It worked well for the team, so it was an easy choice.”
His victory against Carter for the national title brought benefits to others at OSU as well: it meant an extra payday for OSU athletic director and Vice President Gene Smith, who is set to be rewarded an additional week’s worth of pay of his base salary of $940,484, which works out to be more than $18,000, based on the win. The bonus in Smith’s contract is described as “one week base salary for each NCAA Championship achieved by an individual sport participant,” and applies to wrestling, cross-country, track, diving, swimming, fencing, golf, gymnastics, synchronized swimming, tennis and co-ed sports in rifle and pistol.
Although the collegiate season is over, Stieber is taking just two days off as he said he will begin to prepare for the U.S. Open Wednesday. The U.S. Open is set to take place in Las Vegas in April.
Following the U.S. Open, Stieber plans to set his sights on Times Square to compete in the “Beat the Streets” wresting tournament May 7. Stieber said he then plans to compete in the World Team Trials in Madison, Wis., at the end of May.
Stieber has made it known that the Olympics are a goal of his, as the bio on his personal Twitter account, @_LogieBear_, reads “3x National Champ for tOSU.. now trying to make the olympics!” That’s an achievement he said he believes is realistic.
“2016 is the goal, and 2020 is not ruled out yet,” Stieber said.
Heading into next season, Stieber has a chance to become just the fourth wrestler in NCAA history to win four national titles, something Ryan said is a very reasonable goal because of Stieber’s character.
“As monumental as the task is, it is simplified by his faith and the love that he has in his life,” Ryan said. “He has complete control of his mind. He doesn’t allow it to go to the ‘what-ifs?’”
Stieber echoed his coach, saying his focus on the task at hand is never in question.
“I just have to keep my edge, keep doing what I have been doing,” Stieber said. “I have been successful doing the same thing so I will listen to my coaches and hopefully be back in the position to win it again.”
Despite his success over the past years, Stieber said his motivation to win is greater than ever.
“The thing that I haven’t gotten, and we haven’t gotten yet, is a team national title, so that’s the thing that is going to push me,” Stieber said. “For the team to do the best, that means I have to do my best.”
Ryan agreed with his star wrestler and said the sky is the limit for not just Stieber, but for the entire Buckeye team next season.
“109 points won (the team national championship) this year,” Ryan said. “We have the potential to score 145-150 points. And that is real.”