Snyder makes move to State College to train with Nittany Lion Wrestling Club

By Taylor Miller, USA Wrestling | Oct. 10, 2019, 1:44 p.m. (ET)

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.”

Snyder has spent the last five years in Columbus, first as a student-athlete for Ohio State and then as a resident athlete at the Ohio RTC.

During his time at Ohio State, Snyder was a three-time NCAA champion, winning the heavyweight division in 2016, 2017 and 2018. He also balanced a successful international freestyle career at the same time, winning an Olympic gold medal in 2016, World titles in 2015 and 2017 and a World silver medal in 2018.

While still in college, he made USA Wrestling history twice. In 2015, Snyder became the youngest American to win a World title at 19 years old, and in 2016, he followed it up by becoming the youngest American to win an Olympic gold medal in wrestling at just 20 years old. 

Upon graduating from tOSU, Snyder decided to stay with the Ohio RTC and focus solely on freestyle. At this year’s World Championships in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, Snyder won his fifth-straight World or Olympic medal, turning in a bronze-medal performance at 97 kg.

Outside of his Senior World and Olympic medals, Snyder owns a 2013 Junior World title, a 2014 Junior World bronze, two Pan Am Games gold medals and two Pan Am Championships gold medals along with multiple other international tournament wins.

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.”

Snyder will join a talented wrestling room at Penn State that features U.S. freestyle stars such as 2018 World champion David Taylor (86 kg), two-time Senior World Team member Zain Retherford (65 kg) and 2019 U23 World Team member Bo Nickal (92 kg).

Past Greco-Roman World Team members Mason Manville and Ben Provisor also train with the NLWC as well as international freestylers such as 2012 Olympic silver medalist Jamie Espinal from Puerto Rico, two-time World medalist Bekzod Abdurakhmanov from Uzbekistan and 2011 World silver medalist Franklin Gomez from Puerto Rico.

Among his training partners will be Taylor, Nickal, 2019 NCAA champion Anthony Cassar and four-time Division III NCAA champion Riley LeFever as well as 2012 Olympic champion Jake Varner, who Snyder competed against for the World Team spot in 2015 and the Olympic Team spot in 2016.

“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.”

Snyder plans to compete at multiple international events between now and the Olympic Team Trials, starting with the Bill Farrell International in New York City in November.

As a 2019 World medalist at an Olympic weight, Snyder will receive a bid the best-of-three 97 kg finals at the Olympic Team Trials, which will be held at the Bryce Jordan Center on Penn State’s campus, April 4-5.