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COX & SNYDER, from page 13


the applause from the large Missouri fan section and from the rest of the crowd. Cox became the ÀUVW 7LJHU ZUHVWOHU WR ZLQ WKUHH 1&$$ FURZQV breaking the tie he had with two-time Hodge winner Ben Askren. “I’m honored to have accomplished an-


other great feat, not only for myself but for my school, for my teammates and for my family. And I’m very proud of the way I represented every single one of those (people). I’m proud I represented them throughout my years wrestling in college and I’m just really proud of the out- FRPHV µ VDLG &R[ DIWHU KLV ÀQDOV YLFWRU\ Snyder drew No. 2-seed Connor Medbery


RI :LVFRQVLQ LQ WKH ÀQDOV D IULHQG ZKR KH KDV worked out with on the freestyle scene in the past. Medbery is a larger man than Snyder, but just like their previous college match, Snyder was able to use his technical and tactical mastery to win the key takedowns and emerge with a 6-3 win and his second NCAA heavyweight title. 6Q\GHU ZDV WKH ÀUVW $PHULFDQ ERUQ 2O\P-


pic gold medalist to ever compete at the NCAA Championships. He joined Cox as U.S. medalists who returned to college competition and won the NCAA crown afterwards. He was asked to compare the NCAA experience to winning at the World Championships and Olympic Games. “I think it’s hard for me to even describe


the feeling of what it was like to win the Olym- pics or the Worlds or the NCAAs. It’s just hard to put into words, a lot of training on my part, but a lot of effort and guidance from family, friends, coaches, teammates that all helped me accomplish these things,” Snyder said. What’s next for them? It is very possible


that neither will wrestle for a while after the NCAAs, for different reasons. For Cox, it is a time for a little rest, and to


refocus on his academics and graduation. ´, QHHG WR JUDGXDWH ÀUVW 7KDW·V WKH PRVW


important thing. I need to get back and focus on VFKRRO 0\ VSULQJ EUHDN LV JRLQJ WR EH ÀOOHG ZLWK online assignments. Because I’ve been so busy, my stats and psychology class is just a load. I’m GHÀQLWHO\ JRLQJ WR WDNH WKLV WLPH WR IRFXV LQ RQ my education,” Cox said.


JOHN SACHS PHOTO


Olympic bronze medalist J’den Cox (left), who beat Minnesota’s Brett Pfarr for a third title, said he might give football a shot before returning to freestyle.


And future athletics? Cox has talked about


trying out for the Missouri football team and competing in the fall for the Tigers on the grid- iron. And when asked when or if he will wrestle again in freestyle, he does not have an answer at this time. In fact, he admitted to not returning calls from National Freestyle Coach Bill Zadick in recent weeks. “That’s going to take time,” Cox said. “Fun-


ny enough, I was just talking to Coach Zadick and he was saying I’m going to call you later. I said, all right, you can call me now. It wasn’t like, ‘Hey Coach Zadick, I don’t like you.’ It was more like I’m focusing on what I have to do for this season and focusing on what I needed to do. “He’s a cool dude. He’s cool about it. He


knows what I’m doing. He’s been in my shoes. He said he’s going to call. We might be able to make it to one tour. I’m not too sure. I will make sure to respond. I told him I promised I would answer the phone this time.” For Snyder, it is about healing his rib, then


coming back in time to try out for his third straight Senior World-level team and seek his third World-level gold medal in a row.


“I want to wrestle for a really long time,”


Snyder said. “I know it’s important for me to take breaks. If my rib wasn’t hurt, then oth- er than that my body feels really good. There’s no pain anywhere else and I would say I’m very motivated mentally to keep training, motivated physically. Not really dinged up anywhere else other than my ribs. I think I have a pretty low pain tolerance. I don’t really like training that much when I’m hurt. So I’ll let it heal up and then train and compete after that.” Does college wrestling impact his interna-


tional freestyle wrestling in a negative way? Sny- der does not see it that way. “I’m not sure there’s any downside,” Snyder


said. “I wrestle a similar style whether it be free- style or folkstyle. I haven’t found any downsides. I guess people can say it could run you down, and I did get a little hurt. But I don’t think that was because of overtraining or going overseas, things like that. I rested up pretty well and I made sure I felt good before I started training again. So I think getting more matches helps me. And I discussed it with the coaches and my SDUHQWV DQG ,·P GHÀQLWHO\ JRLQJ WR EH EDFN KHUH next year competing for Ohio State.” Snyder was a freshman on Ohio State’s


NCAA championship team in 2015. He would like to help lead his team to another NCAA title as a senior. Snyder also dispelled any rumors that he might not return to compete at Ohio State next season when the 2018 NCAAs take place in Cleveland, Ohio. “There is no better place to bring one (team


title) to Ohio State,” Snyder said. “Our lineup is going to be really good next year. Penn State’s lineup is going to be really good next year as well. I kind of see them and us battling again and I guess the better wrestling team will win with the better wrestlers on that day,” said Snyder. It may be a very, very long time before


wrestling has two stars get to compete at the NCAAs the year after winning an Olympic med- al. This entire season, capped off by inspiring performances in St. Louis, J’den Cox and Kyle Snyder made history side by side and gave wres- tling fans many moments to remember. Q


14 USA WRESTLER/WIN MAGAZINE


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