Coming off the first team win at the Big Ten wrestling tournament in over 50 years, Ohio State enters the NCAA Division I Wrestling National Championships with high hopes.
The team is sending nine wrestlers to compete at the tournament. Four of those wrestlers are fresh off a Big Ten individual championship, including redshirt freshman Kollin Moore.
Moore was the second seed at 197 pounds at the Big Ten tournament, but upset Minnesota’s top-seeded Brett Pfarr to take home the championship. One of the focal points of Moore’s game as a freshman has been his aggression, which he showcased in his match against Pfarr.
“It’s been my level of aggression all year and I don’t really like to change it for anybody,” Moore said. “I think it works out to my advantage a lot.”
Moore will compete in his first NCAA tournament, but many of the other Buckeyes will be competing for their second or third time.
Among those is sophomore 184-pounder Myles Martin. Martin won a national championship at 174 pounds in 2016 and hopes to repeat that success at the 184-pound division.
“Last year for nationals, I just kept telling myself to just go compete, have fun, and whatever happens, happens,” Martin said. “It’s going to be hard to replicate last year, but I’m going to do my best to do it.”
Cornell’s Gabe Dean sits atop the 184-pound rankings as the reigning back-to-back champion in the weight class.
While Martin will look to play David to Dean’s Goliath, junior Kyle Snyder will be assuming the role of Goliath in the heavyweight division.
Snyder won a national championship last year, but some of his best achievements have come on the international scene. Snyder is an Olympic gold medalist and recently won the Ivan Yarygin Memorial Grand Prix.
Snyder has grown to appreciate the level of competition he faces in his role atop the heavyweight rankings.
“I hope that I face everyone’s best attempt,” Snyder said. “I want my best version of myself on the mat versus their best version. Whoever wins, wins.”
Snyder’s confidence does not stop with himself, though, as he said he feels very confident in OSU’s ability to win the team championship.
“If everyone wrestles to the best of their ability, I think Ohio State – we have the best combined nine wrestlers there,” Snyder said. “If everyone gets the most out of themselves, focuses on having fun and scoring points – lots of points – that we can be team champions.”