It’s more than relative — it’s family — as Reece Humphrey follows in his father’s footsteps.
Tri-captain on the wrestling team, Humphrey is No. 2 in the 141-pound weight class.
His father, Jim, was an Ohio State wrestler from 1971 to 1972. He came to OSU with zero state titles and left as a two-time NCAA Qualifier, an All-American and a Big Ten Champion.
There hasn’t been a national champion in his family — “yet,” Humphrey said.
“We all believe that he’s the best guy in the league, and if he wrestles to his ability, we all feel he is in position to win the National Tournament,” coach Tom Ryan said.
Humphrey’s father has set an unparalleled example for his son Reece.
“Whatever you see in me is what he taught me,” the younger Humphrey said. “I try to live my life exactly how he shows me because I trust everything he says and having a guy like that around and my whole family makes me the person that I am.”
However, Humphrey had slightly more to show than his father for his wrestling career prior to Ohio State. He earned three state titles at Lawrence North High School in his hometown of Indianapolis.
In his first season with the Buckeyes, Humphrey finished eighth in the Big Ten Championships and competed in the NCAA Championships.
Humphrey took a redshirt in the 2006-2007 season.
He improved in his second season as he finished one spot higher at seventh in the Big Ten Championships.
In 2008, Humphrey faced the No. 1 seed of Michigan State in the NCAA Championship and fell 5-4 to Franklin Gomez after six tiebreakers.
That wouldn’t be his last time making it to the NCAA Championship or his last time facing Gomez.
In 2009, Humphrey was runner-up in the 133-pound weight class, falling once more to Gomez.
In the summer 2009 offseason, Humphrey traveled on the University World Tour in Poland. He trained with six international teams and competed in the Pytlasinki International Tournament.
As much as the international training has helped him improve, the competition at the collegiate level and at the international level is completely different, Humphrey said.
“The collegiate style is in your face and if you’re not ready to go for 12 minutes, even though it’s a seven minute match, you’re going to get beat up,” Humphrey said.
At the international level, “The wrestling is a lot better, it goes more to my attributes as a wrestler,” Humphrey said. “I’m really good technically, quick and fast in short bursts, but I’ve adapted to college wrestling well.”
Even with its different styles, it’s obvious the training has paid off immensely for Humphrey, who is 23-2 overall this season.
The team trains straight through dual meets because the goal in the end is Nationals.
Ryan anticipates taking all 10 starters to Nationals.
“They’re all good enough and they’re all committed and I’d be disappointed if we didn’t bring all 10,” Ryan said.
Humphrey takes his role as tri-captain very seriously.
“He’s extremely knowledgeable, he’s offers technical help to his peers, taking the time to work with them, so he brings a lot to the table,” Ryan said. “Humphrey is leaving an example for the younger guys on the team.”