ST. LOUIS — The Ohio State wrestling team was busy during spring break, meaning coach Tom Ryan had to spend his time in Missouri instead of the Florida sun.
But he probably doesn’t mind.
The Buckeyes clinched their first-ever National Championship in St. Louis on Saturday, and also came away with two individual National Champions. Among the individual champions was redshirt-senior Logan Stieber, who picked up his fourth and final national title for the Buckeyes.
Ryan couldn’t stop smiling as time ran down before he could officially call his team National Champions, and he said he is relieved that the Buckeyes finished off their title run.
“I feel great, proud, for an amazing institution and administration that supports the sport,” Ryan said. “1921 was the first year that Ohio State started wrestling, 94 years later we win our first National Championship.
“I’m just so happy for all the coaches, the staff, all the people who are important to this team and Buckeye nation everywhere.”
Many people didn’t expect the Buckeyes to have a chance to win it all, as Missouri entered the tournament undefeated and No. 1 in the country, but Ryan said he and his staff put the pieces in place to do so years in advance.
“There was no question that we felt we had the right people to win a national championship, we felt that two years ago,” Ryan said.
Leading the way for the wrestling Bucks was Stieber. His victory made him just the fourth wrestler to pick up a quartet of national titles.
“I can’t thank my teammates, my coaches and my family enough,” Stieber said. “It’s been an unbelievable journey.
“I’m extremely proud of my teammates,” Stieber added. “As an individual, to win is amazing. For the team, it’s something I dreamed of ever since I came to Ohio State.”
Ryan explained how significant Stieber’s achievement was by saying “more people have been on the moon than have won four national titles.”
Joining Stieber on the podium was Nathan Tomasello.
The redshirt-freshman said he’s grown throughout his first competitive collegiate season.
“It’s just a great learning experience and journey throughout the year,” Tomasello said. “I grew so much and I have great coaches and great throw partners, who love to compete and love the sport of wrestling, every single day. I am just truly thankful everyone that supported me and just truly excited to be here.”
The 125-pound Big Ten and National Champion said he is grateful for accomplishing a goal he’s had since before his OSU career began.
“It’s been a dream and a goal of mine for many years. Now as a freshman and putting in the time every single day makes it worth it,” Tomasello said. “And just going through the grind of the season and just, this is where you can let yourself fly and see who’s the best. At this tournament, I feel like I peaked at the right time and was wrestling at my best through the Big Ten and then here.”
Ryan said Tomasello is a class act and added that he isn’t surprised at the amount of success he’s had.
“Nathan represents everything good in the world, Ryan said. “He’s a straight-A student guy. He says what he means and he does what he says and he’s a tremendous worker.”
Along with its first national title, the program now has three Big Ten team titles. The Buckeyes finished with five All-Americans this year, which brings the program’s total to 87.
Now that the title has been wrapped up, Ryan still has time to enjoy his turn in the Sunshine State. After that trip to Florida with his family, Ryan said he will be right back getting his team ready for next year.
“The recruiting and developing young guys is constant,” Ryan said. “I’m going to Florida first and then getting ready for next season starts.”