Today marks the first official day of NCAA Folkstyle Wrestling season, but it was a Freestyle bombshell that stole the day:
USA Wrestling’s Taylor Miller posted the news at 1:44p, before Snyder followed it up with his tweet at 2:37p:
2016 Olympic champion and two-time World champion Kyle Snyder announced today that he is leaving the Ohio RTC in Columbus, Ohio, and will head to State College, Pa., to train with the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club.
“I’m super thankful for my time at Ohio State,” Snyder said. “I’ve been around some of the greatest coaches, training partners and people that I’ve ever encountered. I’m thankful for the impact that they’ve had in my life. I chose Ohio State for a reason. They’ve done everything they could do to help me grow and I’m thankful for all of that.”
Penn State fans’ first collegiate introduction to Snyder was his TRFR year in 2015, when he wrestled 197 pounds. He defeated Morgan McIntosh 6-1 in a January dual, but McIntosh avenged that defeat in the Big Ten Championships Final, 4-1.
Snyder again battled to the Finals of the National Championships in St. Louis a few weeks later, but fell victim to Kyven Gadson’s nasty inside trip and got pinned to finish second.
Still, his 18 team points helped lead Ohio State to their first ever team title, the only interruption in Cael Sanderson’s current Penn State streak of 8 titles in the past 9 years. Later that year, still at age 19, he became America’s youngest ever World Champion.
The 2016 college season was in an Olympics year (like this year, yay!), and Snyder implemented a unique “wrestling is wrestling” schedule that allowed him to compete periodically in the College Folkstyle season for Ohio State and in the International Freestyle season for the United States.
It was wildly successful.
First, he went 11-0 in college and won his first National Championship and the Outstanding Wrestler Award in Madison Square Garden.
Then, he went down to Rio and shocked the world by winning Olympic Gold!
In 2017, he repeated the double feat.
He went undefeated and became a 2x National Champion in college, and in Paris at the World Championships, he famously defeated the Russian Tank, Abdulrashid Sadulaev, for Gold, and led the United States to its first team championship since the 90’s.
In 2018, he suffered a single college loss, to Michigan’s Adam Coon, but avenged it in both the Big Ten & National Championships, capping his Ohio State career as a 4x Finalist & 3x National Champion.
Later that year, in Budapest, he lost a rematch to Sadulaev and took Silver, his 4th straight year earning a World/Olympic medal.
Just last month, in Nur-Sultan, Kazahkstan, Snyder took his first semifinals loss in a World Championships, and finished with one of the two awarded bronze medals.
With two straight years now barely missing Gold, Snyder decided it was time to make a drastic training change. From Miller’s USAW article linked above:
Later this month, Snyder will move to Pennsylvania to train with the NWLC in pursuit of getting back on top of the World and Olympic podium.
“As wrestlers, this sport is about exhausting yourself of all options to increase your likelihood of improvement,” Snyder said. “Ohio State is one of the best places you can go as a recruit and as an RTC athlete to train, but I think the change of scenery and the change of eyes on me with the different training partners and coaches that I can have at the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club is going to put me at ease at least knowing that I tried that option. I’m not the type of guy that is afraid to make difficult decisions, and I don’t want to look back at my career and say I didn’t do something because of public perception and their reactions. Right now, I know that I’m supposed to be a wrestler, and I’m putting my heart into that. This is where my heart is leading me.”
While Snyder is leaving behind long-time coach Tervel Dlagnev, he picks up quite a few talented and experienced new training partners at the NLWC.
“Penn State has world-class coaches and world-class competitors in the room. I just think that change is really important. I’ll get a lot of feels there and different perspective of my wrestling,” he said. “Having wrestled against Varner and knowing the type of feel he has, I think his style and his pace is something I’m really excited to put myself up against…it’ll be really good to work with him.”
Miller also notes that as a 2019 World Medalist, at an Olympic Weight, Snyder will receive a bye to the best-of-three 97kg Finals at the 2020 Olympic Trials, held at the Bryce Jordan Center in State College.
Welcome to Penn State, Kyle Snyder, and continued best of luck in reaching all your goals!
Special thank you to Tony Rotundo (@Tony_Rotundo) for allowing us to use his stunningly beautiful photos on our free site. Please visit his photo site at https://tonyrotundo.smugmug.com/WRESTLERS-ARE-WARRIORS