He wasn't even supposed to wrestle for Ohio State this season. Fresh off of an offseason world championship in freestyle wrestling, Kyle Snyder was supposed to take a redshirt in 2016 to focus on the Olympic trials. Halfway through the season he changed is mind, and now the Ohio State sophomore has another item to add to his ever-expanding list of accolades: NCAA Champion.
To earn his first NCAA championship, Snyder had an incredibly tall mountain to climb in the form of NC State's Nick Gwiazdowski. Gwiazdowski, a junior, is a two-time NCAA champion who brought an 88-match win streak into the match. He also outweighed Snyder, the lightest heavyweight in the tournament, by about 30 pounds. Still, Snyder was just months removed from wining a senior world championship at 19 years old against the toughest wrestlers Russia, Iran, and the rest of the world had to offer, so there was no clear favorite. The match was arguably the most-anticipated of the weekend, and it lived up to the hype.
Gwiazdowski drew first blood earning the matches' first two takedowns and a 5-3 lead. Trailing by that same 5-3 margin late in the third, Snyder landed a takedown of his own with about 19 seconds left and rode out his opponent to force overtime. In overtime it took Snyder 25 seconds to land a takedown off of a counter-attack and seal the dramatic victory.
Next up for Snyder, the Olympic Trials and possibly the Olympics. At 20 years old Snyder already has a career's worth of accomplishments. The scary part? He's just getting started.