COLUMBUS, Ohio – The biggest day of Logan Stieber’s international wrestling career wasn’t short on drama, but in the end he got what he’d always wanted: a gold medal. Stieber defeated Beka Lomtadze of Georgia 8-4 in the 61kg finals at the 2016 World Championships in Budapest, a win that put the exclamation point on a day that included a pair of dramatic, last-second wins in earlier rounds.
Stieber is the second Buckeye to stand atop the podium as a World champ in the last 15 months, joining Kyle Snyder, who won gold in September of 2015 in Las Vegas. Both Stieber and Snyder train with the Ohio RTC, a renowned freestyle program that is led by Ohio State assistant coach Tervel Dlagnev.
In the gold medal match, Stieber scored his first point off a shot clock violation and quickly after the break, he added a takedown and ankle lace to make it 5-0. He took Lomtadze one more time for a 7-2 lead, a margin that proved to be more than enough for the four-time NCAA champion.
“I wanted to be all over him. I just wasn’t scoring. But I felt really good at the end of the first period. I knew it was a matter of time getting in. I knew he was dangerous with his chest lock and his fireman’s. But once I shut that down, I knew I was going to get to him. He did a good rip when I laced him, and I let up for a second with the takedown that made it 8-4. But I felt comfortable,” said Stieber via USA Wrestling.
Stieber’s road to the World finals was a dramatic one, punctuated by a 9-8 victory in the semifinals over Brhnam Ehanpoor of Iran. Training 8-6 in the waning seconds, Stieber scored a takedown just ahead of the final buzzer and then was awarded an additional point when Ehanpoor and his coaches unsuccessfully challenged the takedown. After jumping out to a quick 2-0 lead, Stieber fell behind 6-2 at the break but fought back with a takedown and turn to make the 6-6 in the final period.
“I wrestled well. There are lots and lots of things, different areas that I can do better. I have been working on my defense and stuff with J (Jaggers) and Tervel (Dlagnev) the last three months. It takes a while. It’s a learning process and I can’t thank them enough for helping me get there,” said Stieber.
That wasn’t the first match of the day that saw Stieber score in the closing seconds to secure a victory. In the quarterfinals, Stieber led Akhmed Chakaev of Russia one, 10-9, with 40 seconds left but gave up two points on a counter turn off a shot and fell behind 11-10. Undaunted, Stieber finished on a takedown with just five seconds left and was awarded another point when Russian coaches challenged the call. Stieber twice trailed by three points late in the match, at 7-4 and 9-6.
Stieber started out his day in Budapest against 2015 World bronze medalist Vasyl Shuptar of Ukraine. A quick takedown and turn made it 4-0 and two more turns – all in the first minute – gave Stieber an 8-0 lead. He finished off the technical fall with a low ankle shot for the takedown.
“It is just focus. I don’t really think. I am just out there trying to score. I have confidence in my sprint and my short time offense. I didn’t draw it up this way,” said Stieber told USA Wrestling.
2016 NON-OLYMPIC WEIGHT CLASS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
At Budapest, Hungary
Men’s freestyle 61 kg/134 lbs. | Logan Stieber
WIN vs. Vasyl Shuptar (Ukraine), tech. fall 10-0
WIN vs. Akhmed Chakaev (Russia), 13-11
WIN vs. Behnam Ehsanpoor (Iran), 9-8
WIN vs. Beka Lomtadze (Georgia), 8-4