Snyder, competing at final NCAA, is human

Updated: March 14, 2018

When it comes to Ohio State senior Kyle Snyder, many fans think of the Buckeye as “super human” considering the heavyweight has already won two NCAA championships, two World titles and an Olympic gold medal … all by the age of 22.


Ohio State head coach Tom Ryan does not use such superlatives about his big man, who ends his college career this week in Cleveland at the NCAA Division I Championships.

Tom Ryan

“Calling Kyle superhuman would be unfair,” said Ryan. “Kyle is a human who sticks to some fundamental principles that most humans cannot or do not stick to. It’s his work ethic, his consistency, his mind and the things that he allows to stay in his mind. He’s a master at controlling the space above his shoulders and when you master that you can do special things.”

Ryan believes Snyder is no different today than when he first came to Columbus, Ohio, from Woodbine, Md., where he actually gave up his senior year at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School to focus on his college and international freestyle careers.

“The things that he can control, he controls,” Ryan added. “The things he can’t control, he leaves up to God.”

That is especially true in Snyder’s college career, where the 235-pound heavyweight — who won his two World championships (2015, ’17) and 2016 Olympic gold medal at 213 pounds — wrestles against men as much as 285 pounds or heavier.

That was the case this season when the Buckeye lost his first college match to Michigan’s Adam Coon — the biggest man Snyder has ever faced — on Feb. 11. But the Buckeye avenged that college setback — his first since losing to Iowa State’s Kyven Gadson in the 2015 NCAA finals — when Snyder defeated the Wolverine, 4-2, in sudden victory for the Big Ten championships, March 4.

“I’ve always been real confident in myself, and I’ve lost a lot worse than that growing up and in practice and different situations,” said Snyder. “I always feel like I can make adjustments. And I just knew against Adam, I needed to be a little bit more efficient in the way that I wrestled him.

“Usually I don’t have a game plan. I just try to move forward and be really offensive and try to score a lot of points. And then if my opponent can handle that, they can handle it. But a lot of times I win wrestling positions and win the match.

“But against Coon, he’s so big that I have to be a little more efficient with my hand fighting, finish my attacks better, pick and choose a little bit. I felt good about the second match and I feel even better about the third match if we end up competing against each other. I think that I’ll be able to score more than I did and it won’t go to overtime. I think I can end it before then.”