Ohio State’s Kyle Snyder became the first reigning U.S. Olympic champion to capture an NCAA wrestling title on Saturday. He wasn’t the only Rio medalist to come through in St. Louis.
J’Den Cox became the first Missouri wrestler to win three NCAA titles, following up his bronze in Brazil in August.
Snyder, 21, is the youngest U.S. wrestler to earn world and Olympic titles. On Saturday, he repeated as NCAA champ at 285 pounds, beating Wisconsin’s Connor Medbery 6-3.
Snyder overcame a rib injury in a Thursday match that necessitated pain-killing shots Friday and Saturday.
He couldn’t compare the meanings of all of his major titles.
“So very hard for me to describe what it means to win an event like this or the Olympics, just joy and thankful for the opportunities to compete, and I love wrestling,” Snyder said.
Cox, 22, is now one of five Americans to win an NCAA title after bagging an Olympic medal, joining Dan Hodge, Chris Taylor, Barry Davis and Snyder, according to USA Wrestling.
In the 197-pound final, Cox topped Minnesota’s Brett Pfarr 8-2.
Cox, an all-state linebacker in high school, exhausted his NCAA wrestling eligibility but could play football in the fall for Missouri. He said Saturday that he will take the coming weeks to determine if that will happen.
“It’s not really me, it’s [Missouri football] coach [Barry] Odom,” Cox said on ESPN. “We’ll talk it over. When that door comes, I’ll tell you if I’ll walk through it or not.”
OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!Follow @nzaccardi