In a move that has shocked the wrestling world, Ohio State legend Kyle Snyder has decided to transfer to the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club as he prepares for the 2020 Olympics. Snyder is one of the most decorated wrestlers in USA history and was a three-time NCAA champion with the Buckeyes. To see him transfer to the Buckeyes' biggest rival is a huge surprise.
Thank you. pic.twitter.com/MgujR7Awti— Kyle Snyder (@Snyder_man45) October 10, 2019
Snyder's transfer to the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club comes after personal letdowns in the 2018 and 2019 Wrestling World Championships. He reached the pinnacle of wrestling in 2017 after he beat Abdulrashid Sadulaev (Russia) at the 2017 World Championships to win another world title, and clinch the team title for Team USA. He is a two-time world champion and an Olympic gold medalist, and he delivered Team USA their first team title in over two decades.
However, since then, Snyder has not reached those same heights. Snyder was pinned by Sadulaev in the 2018 World final and had to settle for bronze this year after losing to Sharif Sharifov (Azerbaijan). A silver and a bronze medal at the World Championships are not to be sneered at, but for Snyder, he is not content sitting in second or third place.
What does this move mean for Penn State?
The Nittany Lion Wrestling Club is well on its way to becoming the premier wrestling club in the USA. The NLWC's middle and upper weights are stacked with wrestlers who can do damage on the international scene. Snyder's going to have some tremendous partners available for him, including David Taylor, Bo Nickal, Jake Varner, Cael Sanderson and Anthony Cassar. It's hard to envision training partners that can get much better than that anywhere in the world.
Penn State has been the standard for college wrestling under Cael Sanderson, and Kyle Snyder leaving Ohio State to come to Penn State further solidifies that notion. The Buckeyes have been chasing the Nittany Lions and have had some success, they won the 2015 NCAA title and two Big Ten titles in 2017 and 2018. However, they have not been able to get that sustained success that Penn State achieved. Snyder leaving the Ohio RTC for Penn State shows that if a wrestler wants to be the best, they better be in State College, Pennsylvania.
One would have to imagine that this move is also a potential recruiting blow for Ohio State and a boost for Penn State. The Nittany Lions are set in the upper weights right now with Aaron Brooks, Michael Beard, and Seth Nevills, but having Kyle Snyder around can be a boost for more than just upper weights. If one of the best wrestlers in the USA feels he needs to be at the NLWC and Penn State to wrestle at his best, then why shouldn't any recruit? It's a pitch that Sanderson, Cunningham and Penn State will be able to use.
On the flip side, for Tom Ryan and the Buckeyes, this has to come as a considerable blow to not have Snyder around Columbus anymore. Snyder leaving to go to the program they have pushed so hard to compete with is a real gut punch. Ohio State is still going to have a very good-to-great team every year, and Snyder was able to win an Olympic gold medal training in Columbus. It's not a death knell for Ryan, but it could end up doing some damage on the trail.
The 2020 Olympic Team Trials being in State College become a little bit more interesting with Kyle Snyder now at the NLWC. Seeing Casey Cunningham or Cael Sanderson in the corner of Snyder is going to be jarring, but what might even be more interesting is seeing how the Penn State fans treat Snyder as he wears an NLWC singlet in the best of three final in which he will wrestle.