Day 1 At The NCAA Championships

March 18, 2015


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ST. LOUIS- Members of the 2015 Big Ten Champion Ohio State wrestling team met the media on Wednesday in advance of the NCAA Championships, which commence tomorrow at noon EST (11 a.m. CST). Senior Logan Stieber, seeking his fourth NCAA title, and Big Ten Coach of the Year Tom Ryan both participated in press conferences at the Scottrade Center.

Logan Stieber
On the opportunity of winning a fourth individual National Championship...
"I'm excited. It has been a long journey. It's going to be fun. We have a good team, and I think we can be in it for a team title. I'm just going to take it one match at a time and enjoy my last weekend."

On what would mean more: Winning his fourth individual title, or winning the team title...
"I think in order for us to win the team title, I need to win [the individual title] so I don't think it's a one or the other situation. For us to win the team title would be very special. It would mean a lot to me, my teammates, and to all of the coaches that I've ever had."

On his feelings towards this week being his last NCAA Championships as a competitor...
"I enjoy it all. It goes so fast. I've talked to a lot of people and they've all said `stay focused but enjoy it all'. I've been having fun. I love my team so we've all been hanging out a lot. I've been feeling great. I'm sure in a month, a year, or ten years, I'll look back and really think about it, but for now I'm just living in the moment and having a great time."

On his opinion about the seeding process and how Illinois' Jesse Delgado (125) did not get seeded...
"I probably wouldn't care too much. I know Jesse is an awesome competitor so he's probably thinking that being seeded would be nice, but he's a champ, so I'm sure he has confidence in himself that he can win it all. If I wasn't seeded, it would be okay. Everyone here is pretty good so anyone is going to be tough no matter where you are in the bracket."

On what it meant to co-win the 2015 Big Ten Championships in front of their home crowd...
"It gave us a lot of confidence. We've had an up and down year. We lost a couple of dual meets that were tied based on criteria. It seemed as though things weren't going our way. We wrestled a pretty good tournament at the Big Tens and got the team co-championship, but like Bobby (Telford) said, it's all about how we do here (at NCAA's). Winning the Big Tens was great for us, our community, and university, but the big goal is the National Championships."

Head coach Tom Ryan
Opening statement...
"Our team is excited, obviously. We as a team learned this year how critical every point is. There are a lot of great coaches and great programs that will keep this tournament interesting to the end. So we know every point matters this weekend. It's going to be a great team race and we're really excited about it. And we're really going to embrace the moments this weekend. We have a great situation with Logan Stieber (going for a fourth-consecutive title), so we are excited for him and his family, and all those who have been a part of his wrestling career."

On ever having any doubt this season that his team would falter near the end...
"I think as human beings in anything we do, doubt is something that isn't necessarily invited, it just comes. The unique thing about this team, we knew our personnel, and there was never a moment during the season where I didn't think this team could win the National Title. The bottom line for me and this team is that we are going to win, or at least put ourselves in a position to win with the personnel we have in there. This weekend, we have the 10 guys that we thought (before the season) would be starters for us are all in the lineup and ready to go."

On the seeding process this year and the questions surrounding the process...
"I think the shocker is that, throughout the year, you see guys ranked in different places, and then the last week of the season that ranking is blown up out of nowhere. I think the stunning turn of events based on one weekend is what surprised people. At this point, the seeds are irrelevant. I think after the weekend, the coaches will get together and look at it, and hopefully improve it. We know the committee did the best job they could with the information they had. There was no bias and they did what they thought was right. However, there needs to be change and we will focus on that after the weekend."

On the tragic situation with Kosta Karageorge and how the program has responded this year...
"Wrestlers are used to controlling the `controllables.' For years, you are trained to control the things you can and `your will will prevail.' The longer we live, the more we learn that painful things are going to come that are out of our control. Kosta Karageorge tragically took his life, and that was really hard for some people, because up to this point the worst thing they've had to deal with was a loss in a wrestling match. The longer we live, the more we know that life has some painful things. This team bonded through it. We started a scholarship in his name, and he loved wearing a letter jacket so we kept one on our bench all season. We just remembered him, and he stayed with us, and he'll always be with us. We definitely grew through that experience."

On what it will take to win this tournament...
"If you look at the seeds, I think 110 points will certainly put you in position to win it. I think the teams that have athletes up by six points and can get that last takedown to win in bonus points could be huge. It's close enough. If you look at this season and the athletes that each team has, bonus points are big."