Ohio State senior 184-pound captain Myles Martin won a national championship with the Buckeyes as a freshman in 2015-16 in a lower weight class, and is also a three-time All American and Big Ten finalist. But he will still try and add to his legacy in his final year as a Buckeye.
After suffering a loss in 2017 in the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships to Kent State’s Bo Nickal —a match in which Martin led 4-0 at one point— Martin said he’s more motivated to get back to the top of the mountain.
“I spent a month trying to get that taste out of my mouth,” Martin said. “It’s always in the back of my head. It’s one of those things that will motivate me to keep going. Wrestling full seven or full six, freestyle or scholastic. It’s always on my mind. It’s on my mind right now. It’s on my mind when I train. It was a good and a bad thing.”
Martin was listed as one of the captains by coach Tom Ryan, who notices some of the younger members of the team looking at Martin more closely and trying to follow his lead.
Martin said this is something he can see in his interactions with the younger members of the team.
“I definitely know that they’re watching me and that they’re watching down to the small details that I don’t even look at because I do it naturally,” Martin said. “I’m always helping out, especially after practice and with working on the small stuff.”
Martin was the 15th true freshman in NCAA history — and the first ever at Ohio State — to win a national championship, an honor that has earned him plaques and his own picture inside the Steelwood Training Facility, where the Buckeyes host their practices.
He said those accolades mean a lot to him, but he doesn’t think of them much.
“It doesn’t change my personality,” Martin said. “It doesn’t change anything that I do, or my moral or any social values that I have. It’s not going to affect anything about me, just because I have a strong belief system. Tom [Ryan] always encourages us to have strong moral core values.”
And Ryan views that in Martin, a leadership that others can emulate on the team, even from the moment he began his career at Ohio State.
“He came out of redshirt as a freshman midway through the year,” Ryan said. “That takes a strong belief in himself and our program. He was born a leader. He feels like this is his team and he’s been a great example.”
Despite all of the accolades Martin has stacked up in his time with Ohio State, he said he has something other than a national championship that he’s most proud of.
“One thing I’m really proud of that I don’t think about as much as I should, is just being a leader here for the team,” Martin said. “Just being one of the main guys that they rely on and just being able to hold up my end of the bargain. It’s just me doing what I love and helping out some of these guys get better.”
After 33-6, 32-9 and 31-3 records in his first three seasons with the Buckeyes, Martin will attempt to top himself yet again with a bigger target on his back, as the number one wrestler in his weight class with even higher expectations.
But the expectations surpass the wrestling mat. In his final season at Ohio State, those expectations revolve around his leadership.