Stieber, Ryan, Eye National Team Title
By Rob Ogden
Logan Stieber is the most decorated wrestler in Ohio State history. The three-time All-American and three-time Big Ten champion became a three-time national champion on Saturday when he claimed his third-consecutive individual national title.
Stieber, a redshirt junior, is the only Buckeye to ever win three individual NCAA titles. The Monroeville, Ohio native was a four-time Ohio high school state champion. Still, one feat eludes him: a team national championship.
Photo by Jim Davidson
It's the one remaining accomplishment for the wrestler who has everything. Well, almost everything.
As a team, the Buckeyes took sixth place at the NCAA championships in Oklahoma City, Okla. over the weekend, falling to Big Ten champion Penn State, which claimed its fourth-consecutive national championship.
Just two days after the Big Ten won its eighth-consecutive NCAA title, Ohio State coach Tom Ryan said the Buckeyes have a good shot at making it nine in 2015.
"Let's say 110 points wins (the national championship). We have the potential to score 145, 150 points," Ryan said. "The potential. That's real."
Ryan cited the return of Stieber, who he called ninja-like, as well as a talented group of freshman as reasons why Ohio State could capture the school's first team national title a year from now.
Redshirt freshman Kyle Snyder already has a win over the reigning national champion at his weight, Ryan said. Others have demonstrated moments of greatness, as well.
Photo by Jim Davidson
"It's not like it's a hope and a prayer," he said. "There's evidence. There's evidence through the success that these guys have had against guys that are doing well."
Ryan knows counting on freshman can be precarious business. But Stieber is as sound as they come.
Next season, Stieber has the chance to join Cael Sanderson (Iowa State), Pat Smith (Oklahoma State) and Kyle Dake (Cornell) as only the fourth wrestler to win four NCAA individual titles.
Stieber said he began thinking about 2015 only hours after stepping off the mat Saturday.
A fourth individual championship is on his mind, but it's not his only source of motivation, he said.
"The thing that we haven't gotten yet is the team national title. That's the thing that's going to push me," Stieber said. "For the team to do its best, it means I have to do my best. That's really going to motivate me."
Joining Stieber in the Buckeyes' quest for a national title next season will be younger brother Hunter, who was redshirted this past season, in part, Ryan said, to set the team up for a championship run in 2015.
Highly touted freshmen Bo Jordan and Nathan Tomasello as well as Snyder are underclassmen that will be counted on heavily next season, Ryan said.
Stieber hopes his success provides inspiration.
"I think it can help motivate some of our top guys and help with our confidence," he said. "Why can't Bo Jordan win a title next year? Why can't Kyle Snyder win? Why not you?"
Ryan was part of two team NCAA championships as a wrestler at Iowa in the early 1990s. He knows what it takes to win. And he thinks he might have it.
"There's no question that it's the first time since I've been a head coach that we've got a group that can win a national championship and we don't need something immaculate to happen," he said. "We just need people to be who they are."