Courtesy of Ohio State athletic department
Four members of Ohio State’s wrestling team were named All-Americans last season. The return of one Olympic-trial tested grappler brings the number to five.
After a two-year hiatus from collegiate wrestling, senior 125-pounder and 2010 All-American Nikko Triggas is back for the 2012-2013 season.
From the 2007-2008 season to the 2009-2010 season, Triggas competed for OSU in collegiate, or folkstyle, wrestling. While he was away from Columbus, Triggas trained to compete for a spot on the U.S. Olympic team in the Greco-Roman style.
“(In) Greco-Roman you don’t touch the legs. So, in college wrestling it’s all about touching the legs, getting to the legs,” said OSU coach Tom Ryan. “I think it’ll take some time for him to get his reactions back where they need to be.”
In his Greco-Roman career, Triggas has won five gold medals between the 2007 and 2008 Pan American Championships, 2009 University National Championships and the 2010 University and Junior Team Trials.
In 2010, he began the application process for an Olympic redshirt. To be awarded the redshirt, Triggas had to place in the 2008 and 2010 World Team Trials.
Triggas said he talked to both U.S. coaches and his coaches at OSU and sent in an application.
“We thought it was going to be the best thing for me, get bigger, get stronger, get older, get some maturity in me, and get the technique down,” Triggas said. “Come back to the team as a role model, as older and stronger, be able to compete for the Buckeyes.”
Once his application to the Olympic training center was accepted, Triggas said he worked with OSU to send paperwork to the NCAA confirming he was not breaking any rules that would endanger his eligibility with the Buckeyes.
After training for two years, Triggas competed at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Wrestling Team Trials in Iowa City, Iowa, April 20-21 and finished in fourth place. Knowing he would not be competing in the 2012 Olympics, preparation had to begin in order to wrestle in folkstyle for OSU again.
“Going from folkstyle to Greco is very different,” Triggas said. “Coming back into the collegiate world, I came to campus about two months early.”
Triggas first came to OSU for the 2007-08 season from Moraga, Calif., and over the next three years he amassed a 72-54 record.
As a freshman, he qualified for NCAA championships and placed sixth at the Big Ten Championships. With a 19-17 record, he amassed 8 pins and 74 team points for OSU that season.
During the 2008-2009 season, Triggas improved his record to 22-17 with 14 pins and 109 team points, but he did not place in the Big Ten tournament. He qualified for the NCAA Championships, but did not place there either.
In his junior year, Triggas recorded career highs in wins and pins with 31 and 15, respectively. He also had his best placement at the Big Ten championships, finishing fifth, and at the NCAA championships, placing eighth. With that finish, he made it onto the podium and was named a 2010 All-American.
“It’s awesome to have him back,” said redshirt senior 184-pounder C.J. Magrum. “He’s going to score a lot of points for us this year and hopefully he will get on the podium again.”
Triggas said his goal is not only to get back on the podium, but to reach the top step this year.
“Going into the wrestling season, the goal is always to be national champion,” Triggas said. “I know I have a long road ahead of me, but that’s the goal and that’s the main focus.”