ST. LOUIS — That Kyle Snyder repeated as NCAA wrestling national champion would have surprised no one at the start of this competition.
The top-seeded and undefeated Snyder has already won at every level — collegiate, worlds, Olympics. But a rib injury he suffered Thursday and aggravated Friday cast doubt on whether he could or even should compete.
But Snyder was undaunted, and he did what Kyle Snyder does — win.
Outweighed by Wisconsin’s Connor Medbery by 39 pounds, Snyder managed to get takedowns in the first and second periods and withstood a late takedown for a 6-3 victory in the heavyweight division at the Scottrade Center.
Ohio State’s other finalist, 174-pounder Bo Jordan, lost 5-2 to Penn State’s Mark Hall.
Snyder got an early takedown by lifting Medbery — a friend and sometime practice partner — and slamming him down.
“Yeah, that was a cool takedown,” Snyder said. “I don’t think I ever lifted Connor up like that in practice or any matches. So that’s good. It means I’m getting stronger.”
Snyder took painkilling shots Friday and did so again before the championship match.
“When he lifted that monster in the first period,” coach Tom Ryan said, “I knew he was probably feeling no pain because that’s going to cause the ribcage to kind of collapse a little bit. He’s a gladiator. He loves to wrestle, no matter the circumstances.”
Snyder said was in only “a little bit” of pain.
“With the shots and the adrenaline, I was feeling pretty good,” Snyder said.
Snyder has had bigger victories — it’s hard to outdo with the worlds and Olympics — but under the circumstances, it was plenty special.
“I’m just happy I could wrestle well, represent Ohio State well,” he said.
Jordan’s match with Hall was a rematch of their Big Ten championship match, which was won by Jordan with an overtime takedown.
A couple of the officials’ decisions…