EAST LANSING, Mich. — There was only one option for Ohio State heavyweight Kyle Snyder after he lost his first collegiate match since the 2015 NCAA final — to work and work and work to prevent that from happening again.
The work paid off at the Big Ten championships in East Lansing, Michigan, on Sunday.
After losing to redshirt senior Adam Coon on Feb. 11, Snyder enacted revenge with a 4-2 decision in the heavyweight final.
Coon’s size was a mismatch for the Buckeye senior in their first match, with the 6-foot-6 285-pounder providing more physical difficulties than the 5-foot-11 225-pounder usually has to deal with. Snyder was unable to get a shot clean enough to score on Coon, which eventually led to Coon’s winning takedown late in the third period.
In the sequel, Snyder was able to make the adjustment that landed him the victory.
“That was an immense amount of energy used to score points, that takedown, so congrats to Kyle,” Ohio State head coach Tom Ryan said.
In the overtime period, Snyder’s winning takedown went under review, which brought a moment of hesitation into the arena.
“Coach Tervel and coach Ryan thought I did. Jaggers thought I did, but they all thought it was close. So, I would’ve been ready to wrestle… but I was happy the two points were up on the board,” Snyder said.
With the win, Snyder became the fourth wrestler in school history with three Big Ten championships, including his teammate Nathan Tomasello.
“The main thrill I get is the team. The team is my favorite part,” Snyder said. “I feel like at Ohio State we are really unique in the way that we do things, the way that we talk, the way that we dress, the way that we compete. How much we care for each other.”
Snyder has been back and forth from international competitions to Big Ten dual meets, along with finishing his senior season as a member of a Big Ten team title with 164.5 points,16.5 more than second-place Penn State. Next up is his last NCAA championship, and yet he stays humble about his accomplishments.
“The highs of winning a title, that won’t be my favorite part of it. It’s gonna be the process of getting ready to compete. Hanging out with my friends, and learning more about wrestling,” Snyder said.
Following another Big Ten championship for Snyder, the rubble match with Coon looms in Cleveland. Coon replaced Snyder’s ranking after their first match, and Snyder will likely grab it back after winning Big Tens. Snyder will be seeking his third straight national title.
“I think next time what I need to do is score earlier so that he has to come after me and then once he comes after me … probably start picking his ankles a little bit better,” Snyder said.
Although Snyder’s focus has been individually on Coon, the biggest threat to Ohio State at nationals are the Nittany Lions. Snyder beat Penn State No. 3 Nick Nevills in his semifinal match Saturday night.
“They wrestled really, really well at nationals, and beat us at the nationals,” Snyder said. “And then it was all summer, Penn State is unbeatable right? So and we were like ‘we’re gonna be better than we were last year. We thought we were gonna get McKenna.’”
This time the Buckeyes were victorious, but history often repeats itself. For what lies beyond the championships in Cleveland, Snyder already has an idea.
“I plan on wrestling for a really long time so I plan on being in a lot of more world championships, couple more Olympic games,” Snyder said.