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Olympic gold medalist Kyle Snyder to wrestle at his alma mater, Good Counsel, on Sunday

Time:2017-01-21 09:24Shoes websites Click:

2016 state Olympics Wrestling Ohio

Kyle Snyder has spent so much of his life pushing the boundaries of what's possible for a young wrestler that it's almost strange when a chapter of his story entails returning to the familiar.

But that's what the Woodbine resident will do Sunday when he competes at his alma mater, Good Counsel, five months after he seized an Olympic gold medal in Rio de Janeiro and stamped himself as the future of U.S. wrestling.

Snyder's Ohio State team, again a strong national championship contender, will wrestle Maryland in an afternoon dual meet in the main gym at Snyder's old stomping grounds.

A sellout crowd of 1,200 will pack the place to cheer the conquering hero.

"I think everybody will probably be rooting for Kyle, even the Maryland fans," said his high school coach and close friend, Skylar Saar. "He's an easy guy to root for."

When Ohio State coach Tom Ryan recruited Snyder, he promised the Buckeyes would wrestle a home meet at Good Counsel during Snyder's four years. It's something Ryan has done for other top wrestlers over the years, and the atmosphere at such meets is generally festive.

"It's definitely something I've been looking forward to," Snyder said in a phone interview.

Woodbine's Kyle Snyder, 19, becomes youngest U.S. world wrestling champion

Woodbine's Kyle Snyder, 19, becomes youngest U.S. world wrestling champion

Luke Meredith

Nineteen-year-old Ohio State wrestler Kyle Snyder didn't win a Big Ten or an NCAA title last season.

A world championship will have to suffice.

Snyder, a Woodbine native who went to high school at Good Counsel in Olney, completed a stunning run Friday through the world championships, beating Russian...

Nineteen-year-old Ohio State wrestler Kyle Snyder didn't win a Big Ten or an NCAA title last season.

A world championship will have to suffice.

Snyder, a Woodbine native who went to high school at Good Counsel in Olney, completed a stunning run Friday through the world championships, beating Russian...

(Luke Meredith)

He will sign autographs for an hour before the meet and then attempt to maintain his unbeaten 2016-2017 record when he faces Maryland's heavyweight, Youssif Hemida. He has pinned all but one collegiate opponent this season, and Hemida would need a career-best effort to remain competitive in the match.

Nonetheless, Maryland coach Kerry McCoy, himself a former two-time Olympian, hopes Hemida will relish the moment.

"Most people don't get a chance to meet an Olympic gold medalist, let alone stand on the same mat with an Olympic gold medalist," he said. "So it's a great opportunity to go out there and be able to measure yourself against one of the best to ever do it."

McCoy has known Snyder since he was a high school wrestler, visiting Maryland's training camps. And he said this is the "perfect time" for him to come home to a warm reception.

"We're glad to be a part of it," McCoy said.

Snyder's younger brother, Kevin, and McDonogh product Myles Martin also wrestle for Ohio State, and two other Good Counsel graduates, Jhared Simmons and Adam Whitesell, wrestle for Maryland.

Maryland's Kyle Snyder pins hopes on becoming world's best wrestler

Maryland's Kyle Snyder pins hopes on becoming world's best wrestler

Childs Walker

Olympian has become more focused on his efforts and less on winning and losing. He will compete Sunday in Rio.

Olympian has become more focused on his efforts and less on winning and losing. He will compete Sunday in Rio. (Childs Walker)

But there's no question who will headline the show. Snyder, who turned 21 in November, is no normal college junior.

For one thing, strangers walk up to him on campus and ask to take pictures — business as usual for an Ohio State football star but less typical in Snyder's generally anonymous sport.

"When you're a wrestler and people know who you are, that alone is different," he said. "But I'm cool with it."

He received a $250,000 bonus from the U.S. Olympic Committee for his gold-medal win in Rio. The Ravens, Orioles and Washington Redskins all honored him with on-field celebrations in the ensuing months. He visited the White House and shook President Barack Obama's hand.

He made his season debut for Ohio State the weekend before Thanksgiving, then jetted off to wrestle in Kharkiv, Ukraine (where he actually lost twice) while most of his peers were still digesting turkey.

He's been busy enough with international tournaments and other promotional appearances that he's wrestled just five times for the Buckeyes this season.

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