Highly regarded as one of the best freestyle wrestling schools on the planet, Ohio State has been producing elite-level wrestlers since 1938.
Breaking down the most talented Ohio athletes that competed on the mats isn’t easy, simply because of the high volume of talent we’ve seen throughout the decades.
Most wrestling fans will debate the top five or top ten ranked Ohio State wrestlers of all time. But with careful consideration and evaluation, we’ve compiled a short list of who we believe are the most notable freestyle wrestlers in the Buckeye state’s history.
With more accessible knowledge, greater training facilities, and the most competitive era of freestyle wrestling to date, the accomplishments achieved by Logan Stieber between 2010 and 2018 give us no choice but to position him as one of the best Ohio-based wrestlers ever.
Stieber entered Ohio State University with a 184-1 high school record, which is still unbeaten in Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) records today. This should have given OSU an inkling that their wrestling team was about to receive a gem.
Four is the magic number. Having already owned four Big Ten Championships, Stieber became the fourth wrestler in NCAA history to obtain four individual National Championships. Additionally, he captained the Buckeyes to their first-ever team National Championship for wrestling.
Stieber finished his NCAA wrestling career with a record of 119-3; alongside his legendary achievements, he’ll long remain one of the most decorated wrestlers in NCAA history.
After his graduation, the wrestling didn’t stop, nor did the winning. He won a world title at 61kg, the 2018 Pan American Championship, and the World Cup Championship before retiring from the sport to become a coach.
Mark Coleman doesn’t boast a top-five record in the Ohio State wrestling record book. Still, he’s one of the originating fighters who put American freestyle wrestling on the map by displaying his talents in mixed martial arts.
Coleman wrestled as a teenager and became the first ever state champion for Saint Joseph Central Catholic High School. He took second place during his sophomore year but then returned to winning ways and claimed his second championship in 1983. Wrestling continued for Coleman at Miami University in Ohio; he became a two-time Mid-American Conference wrestling champion and eventually collected his first All-American honors in 1986.
Coleman moved to Ohio State and made a statement within his short time there. He set a school record with 50 single-season wins, a Big 10 title, and the 190lb NCAA crown. The dominance didn’t stop after school; Coleman represented America on the world stage, winning 3 consecutive Pan American Championships.
Coleman was that guy for those looking for a wrestler to bet on in the 90s. DraftKings Ohio betting odds of today for UFC events provide many more lucrative wagering markets. Still, he was easy money for bettors once Coleman transitioned from wrestling to the UFC cage.
After winning his first two tournaments easily, Coleman became the first ever UFC Heavyweight Champion, thanks to his wrestling background. And sports bettors of today would relish the opportunity to wager on his domineering skill set.
With an unblemished high school wrestling record of 179-0, Kyle Snyder gave up one single takedown during his high school years, hinting that Ohio had a future legend on its hands. He also won 3 National Prep Championships and 2 Junior World Championships before competing at the college level.
Once Snyder arrived at Ohio State, his impressive streak didn’t stop. He became a four-time All-American, a four-time NCAA finalist, and a three-time NCAA Champion. One of Snyder’s most notable attributes was his willingness to challenge himself; despite risking his impeccable NCAA record, he moved up multiple weight classes to challenge the defending NCAA Champion, Nick Gwiazdowski. Snyder impressively won this match in overtime, ending an 88-match win streak that Gwiazdowski was holding.
Snyder is, unquestionably, one of the most dominant wrestlers in Ohio State history. He achieved triple crown honors by winning a World, NCAA, and Olympic title, all within a year! To cap it off, Kyle was also the youngest World Champion in American wrestling history. He finished college with a 75-5 record and notably defeated one of the best pound-for-pound wrestlers in history, Abdulrashid Sadulaev.