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Logan Stieber sets sights on 2016 Olympics

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OSU's Logan Stieber (right) wrestles with North Carolina State's Kevin Jack in a 141-pound semifinal during the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships on March 20 in St. Louis. Credit: Courtesy of TNS

OSU’s Logan Stieber (right) wrestles with North Carolina State’s Kevin Jack in a 141-pound semifinal during the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships on March 20 in St. Louis.
Credit: Courtesy of TNS

Two weeks removed from making history with his fourth individual national title, Ohio State redshirt-senior Logan Stieber has put his collegiate accolades on the back burner for an even bigger desire — the 2016 Olympics.

“It has always been a dream of mine to be an Olympian and to win gold,” Stieber said. “Doing that would be a great conclusion to my competitive career.”

Stieber was awarded the Hodge Trophy, which is equivalent to what the Heisman is for football, on Monday. On that same day, he was also supporting his younger brother, Hunter, who was in surgery to attach a ligament in his right elbow.

“The Hodge has been a goal of mine since my sophomore year,” Stieber said. “I would say it’s one of the highest honors I have received, and to have my brother come out of surgery OK as well, it made for a great day.”

The four-time Big Ten and National Champion finished his career at OSU with a 119-3 record and was named the Big Ten Most Outstanding Wrestler and Most Outstanding Wrestler of the Big Ten Championships. Even after receiving these major individual awards, Stieber managed to keep his focus on his teammates, and is able to stay calm on the biggest of stages.

“I have been blessed to be in a lot of big matches and moments in my life and I think I have learned from each one,” Stieber said. “That keeps me calm.”

With a winning percentage of .975 — a school record — Stieber is used to being on top of the podium. Now he’s focused on remaining there as he looks to make the U.S. World Team this summer in hopes of qualifying for the Summer Olympics next year in Brazil.

“I believe I can make the team and win gold,” Stieber said.

Olympic wrestling uses the freestyle form of wrestling instead of the folkstyle used in college. Despite the different style, Stieber said, with the help of known World Team members such as former Buckeye Reece Humphrey, he will be able to make the transition quickly.

“The freestyle circuit is different because of the amount of times you compete and the weigh-in rules are different,” Stieber said. “Also the training is more focused on skill and less on conditioning. I’ll be ready.”

Looking back on his high school career and the way it ended, Stieber said he couldn’t have written a better script on how similarly he ended his collegiate career. Not only did he win four individual titles at both levels, but he led Monroeville and OSU to their first-ever team titles as well.

“To have him win his fourth title on the same day as winning the team’s first is incredible,” Stieber’s father, Jeff, said. “It was always one of his biggest goals to do that and to see it happen is truly amazing.”

Stieber finished his career on a 50-match winning streak dating back to December 2013, and won 96 of his 119 matches via bonus points. He tied for the most career falls in OSU history with 50 and also became just the second wrestler ever to win four Cliff Keen Las Vegas Collegiate Invitational titles.

Once again, the individual accolades have piled up, but he stressed they don’t compare to the success he shares with his teammates.

“Winning individual awards and achieving personal goals is something I obviously want to do, but being able to share a team title with my family and friends has been pretty cool,” Stieber said.

Instead of taking it all in and enjoying the moment, wrestling season hasn’t ended for Stieber. He has already begun training for the 2015 Las Vegas/ASICS Open Wrestling Championships in May and even after he graduates, he still hopes to be a part of OSU and wants to continue to work with the team, he said.

“I hope to keep wrestling in Columbus for a while and I want to see our team continue to get better and competing for titles.”

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