Photo: Ohio State's Kyle Snyder takes down Michigan's Adam Coon in overtime of the heavyweight finals by Richard Immel
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Kyle Snyder has earned Big Ten Jesse Owens Male Athlete of the Year distinction for the second time in as many seasons, bringing home the 2018 honor announced by the conference office Thursday (June 28). He becomes the first two-time male recipient in conference history and combined with Buckeye teammate Logan Stieber (‘15 honoree), Ohio State Wrestling has corralled three of the last four B1G recognitions.
Indiana University swimmer Lilly King is also a repeat winner, standing alongside Snyder as the B1G Female Athlete of the Year for both 2017 and 2018.
Ohio State owns nine total Big Ten Athlete of the Year awards (six male, three female) since the honor’s origination (1982 for men, ’83 for women), ranking second all-time. Michigan leads the way with 10 recognitions despite the most recent coming in 2006 (OSU owns six laurels since then).
King and Snyder were among a field of nominees that included 10 national champions, 26 All-Americans, 16 individual Big Ten Champions, 16 individuals who won Big Ten Player of the Year honors and five who collected a National Player of the Year accolade. The Big Ten Athletes of the Year are selected by a panel of conference media members from nominations submitted by each institution.
Snyder is widely-considered one of the most accomplished collegiate wrestlers of all-time. He is the only American to ever finish college as a three-time NCAA Champion (including 2018), Olympic gold medalist and two-time world champion. He lifted the Buckeyes to Big Ten titles in three of his four seasons (including 2018) and reached the top of the heap as 2015 NCAA team champions.
During his senior campaign, Snyder posted a 17-1 mark that included nearly half (seven) of his wins coming over nationally-ranked opponents. He garnered four top-5 triumphs, capped by topping second-ranked Adam Coon of Michigan in the NCAA finals bout.
Snyder won the 2018 AAU Sullivan Award as well, presented to the most outstanding amateur athlete in the United States. He became just the fourth wrestler to seize the prestigious honor, joining fellow Olympic gold medalists John Smith (1990), Bruce Baumgartner (1995) and Rulon Gardner (2000).
The Woodmine, Md., native concluded his collegiate career with an overall record of 75-5 and a lone loss in the last three seasons combined.