Ohio State’s Kyle Snyder came up with the perfect ending to the Buckeyes’ rout of the University of Maryland at Good Counsel, where the NCAA and world champion Ohio State closed the show in dominant fashion on Sunday.
Snyder won the early evening’s final match for the 285-pound class by 22-7 technical fall over sophomore Youssif Hemida, improving to 7-0 with five pins on the year as the Buckeyes (8-0 overall, 4-0 league) handled the Terps, 30-12, in a Big Ten Conference match before a sold-out crowd of 1,200.
“(This was a) pretty cool opportunity that not a lot of college athletes get to have, so thank you, guys, very much,” said Snyder, 21, a Woodbine resident, according to the Buckeyes’ athletic department. “I see a lot of faces that I know that I haven’t seen in a while. You guys look good. Thank you. I appreciate it.”
The event was the fulfillment of a promise from Buckeyes’ coach Tom Ryan to allow Snyder to compete one last time in his high school gym after he had gone 179-0 over three seasons at Good Counsel, winning as many private school and National Prep titles and leading the Falcons to their first-ever team state championship as a junior before using his senior year to train at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado.
“We were fortunate to have Kyle return after coming through our program. The fact that it was at our high school was great for everyone in Maryland, whether from Ohio, Pennsylvania or any other place,” said Falcons’ coach Skyar Sarr, himself a Good Counsel graduate.
“Looking up into the stands, there were so many parents and wrestlers. It was a tremendous event that brought recognition to our school, celebrated wrestling in Maryland, and, I hope, showed Good Counsel wrestling in a good light. We wanted it to be an enjoyable and inspirational experience.”
Snyder was an NCAA runner-up at 197 pounds as a freshman, earning a championship berth with a 3-2 semifinal upset of then-defending champion J’Den Cox of Missouri, who rebounded the following season to regain the title.
In September 2015, a 19-year-old Snyder became the youngest American to win a freestyle World Championship, doing so at 213 pounds.
Snyder had initially decided to take a redshirt year to focus on the Olympic trials before aborting those plans to pursue a national title, a feat he accomplished in March on double-leg takedown 25 seconds into overtime for an upset 7-5 victory over North Carolina’s 285-pound two-time defending title winner Nick Gwiazdowski.
Snyder completed a 16-0 season while also ending an 88-match winning streak for Gwiazdowski (33-1), a junior who had been named Outstanding Wrestler after earning his third straight Atlantic Coast Conference title.
At the Olympic games in Rio De Janeiro in August, a 20-year-old Snyder became the youngest wrestling medalist in history, toppling 213-pound rival and two-time bronze medalist Khetag Goziumov of Azerbaijan by the score of 2-1.
After Sunday’s victory over the Terps, Snyder caught an evening flight out of Dulles Airport, the start of a trek that will land him in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, to compete in next Sunday’s Yarygin Grand Prix tournament, according to The Washington Post.
“I will be out of the country for about seven days. Wrestling one last time in my high school gym in front of a sold-out crowd was an incredible experience. I really appreciate Coach Ryan and Coach Saar putting this event together,” said Snyder, in an e-mail to The Montgomery Sentinel.
“It meant a lot to myself and my family. I am very grateful to the Good Counsel community, my former coaches, teammates, friends, and the entire state of Maryland for all the support they have provided me over the years.”
Although the Terps were no match overall against the fourth-ranked Buckeyes, Saar said the Terps’ Adam Whitesell “nearly stole the show.”
A 2014 graduate, four-time state place-winner and private schools state runner-up, Whitesell decked the Buckeyes’ Blake Riley-Hawkins in 4:29 of their 149-pound bout, his victory and a forfeit to junior River Hill graduate Michael Beck (125) accounting for the Terps’ only points.
“It was exhilarating to get the pin at Good Counsel in front of the home crowd. When I put him on his back, it got loud in there, and that really fired me up. It was a great feeling after the match hearing the crowd going wild, definitely going to remember that. It was an amazing opportunity to wrestle the event at Good Counsel in front of all my friends and family,” said Whitesell, a redshirt sophomore.
“I’m thankful to have the opportunity to come back home and compete in such a special event and honor all Kyle has done. Getting to reunite with Kyle and Coach Saar was a great. It was a nice way to reminisce on all the memories we made at Good Counsel. Kyle is now considered one of the best wrestlers in U.S. history. It’s crazy to think that just a few years ago we were teammates competing for conference and state titles.”
Jhared Simmons, another Falcons alum, lost his 141-pound bout, 16-7, to the Buckeyes’ Luke Pletcher, a true freshman and a three-time Pennsylvania state champion who is ranked 14th nationally.
The Buckeyes’ other NCAA champion Myles Martin, (184 pounds), a true sophomore from Baltimore’s McDonogh High, won a clash of former private schools state champions by 16-6 major decision over Sam Rowell (Mount St. Joseph).
“Kyle was the main attraction, but Jhared Simmons wrestled great against one of the best kids in the country,” said Sarr, whose Falcons will compete in this weekend’s Gilman Duals at the private school in Baltimore.
“Not only did we have three guys in the starting lineup of a Big Ten dual meet, but right now, I think we have 11 Division One wrestlers currently competing in college from Good Counsel. It means a lot knowing they’re still competing with a love for the sport.”
Among those is 197-pound Buckeyes’ freshman Kevin Snyder, a private schools state champion and a fifth-place finisher at the National Preps Tournament who helped the Falcons win their second private schools title last season.
As a Falcons’ senior, Kevin won the Maryland Senior All-Star Wrestling Classic at McDaniel College in Westminster, where he pinned Class 4A-3A state runner-up Kyle Craven of Severna Park in 67 seconds and easily won by decision over Class 2A-1A state champ Klija Mitchell of Central High, 13-7. Mitchell had gone 31-0 toward winning states.
The event has inspired 220-pound Falcons’ senior Brady Daniel, a defending private schools champion and returning third-place National Preps finisher who is considering his college choices.
As a 182-pound sophomore at River Hill, Daniel beat four seniors on the way to winning the Class 3A-4A state titles and has a chance to surpass his brother, Cory, a two-time state champion who went undefeated over his final two seasons at River Hill.
“I didn’t actually speak to either Kyle or Kevin, but I know that Kevin has been quite successful as a true freshman, and that’s great,” said Daniel, who has repeated as champion at the recent Hub Cup tournament at North Hagerstown and the War On The Shore at Stephen Decatur.
“It was a great atmosphere, and I was thrilled to see Kyle wrestle and all of the other Good Counsel alumni wrestlers. Seeing them working so hard and having so much success in the sport is motivation for me.”