COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State wrestler Kyle Snyder’s frequent-flier miles are racking up just as quickly as his wins.
The junior is the No. 1-ranked wrestler in the heavyweight classification and will look to defend his NCAA title beginning Thursday at the NCAA Championships. During the time he’s amassed a 12-0 record for the Buckeyes, however, he’s also been traveling to compete in international events.
In August, Snyder became the youngest American to win a freestyle gold medal at the Olympics. He was also the first active NCAA wrestler to win a gold medal for the United States. Snyder initially had planned to take a redshirt year in 2015-16 to prepare for the Olympics but began competing for the Buckeyes midway through the season. He went on to win conference and national titles as a heavyweight.
He essentially competed part time during the dual-meet portion of the schedule to make sure he still was getting ready for the Olympics. The result was a balance in which he might be in Germany one week and Minnesota the next. It didn’t affect his results, however. After winning an NCAA title, Snyder swept through the Olympics a few months later to take gold in Brazil.
Snyder’s schedule this season has been similarly ambitious. He’s been to Brazil, Ukraine, Russia and Iran to compete for the United States and his club team, Titan Mercury. During that time, he hasn’t lost a match for Ohio State. He won the 2017 Big Ten championship and is favored to win another NCAA title.
|Aug. 21||2016 Summer Olympics||Rio de Janeiro, Brazil||Gold medal|
|Nov. 19||Arizona State||Tempe, Ariz.||W, 20-8|
|Nov. 22||Kent State||Kent, Ohio||W, fall|
|Nov. 22||Cleveland State||Kent, Ohio||W, fall|
|Nov. 30-Dec. 1||World Club Cups||Kharkov, Ukraine||Gold medal (team)|
|Dec. 8||Missouri||Columbus, Ohio||W, fall|
|Jan. 15||Illinois||Columbus, Ohio||W, fall|
|Jan. 22||Maryland||Olney, Md.||W, 22-7|
|Jan. 27-29||Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix||Krasnoyarsk, Russia||Gold medal|
|Feb. 3||Penn State||Columbus, Ohio||W, 19-9|
|Feb. 6||Rutgers||Columbus, Ohio||W, 24-9|
|Feb. 10||Nebraska||Lincoln, Neb.||W, 16-6|
|Feb. 16-17||Freestyle World Cup||Kermanshah, Iran||Silver medal (team)|
|March 4-5||Big Ten Championships||Bloomington, Ind.||Champion|
“I don’t know how he does it, to be honest with you,” redshirt freshman Kollin Moore said. “I’ve only been in an international tournament one time, and it took a lot out of me. The way he’s able to go overseas, wrestle, come back, wrestle and just do all that and still have the pace and motivation, it’s really impressive. It shows just how much he loves the sport and how much he loves to wrestle and compete.”
When he does that, Snyder also is switching between the freestyle used in international tournaments and the folkstyle used in NCAA competition. At this point, though, he’s fluent in both and alternating doesn’t bother him.
“The wrestling is the easy part,” he said. “No matter what style it is or where I am, I just want to focus on becoming a better wrestler. You can do that anywhere in the world.”
Schoolwork hasn’t proved much of an obstacle, either. Snyder has been a model student and downplayed the difficulty of finishing assignments while in places such as Iran.
“The schoolwork comes down to just not being lazy,” he said. “You just go to class and make sure you’re proactive with your teachers. Time management is the key. You can handle it if you’re in the right mind frame.”