I have always considered myself extraordinarily blessed to have been given the opportunity to be a student athlete at The Ohio State University and compete for such an amazing athletic program. God does have a plan. When I think about how I ended up at Ohio State, I can only imagine that God’s plan was for me to be a Buckeye. At one point in time, I was set on pursuing a different path. I had committed to wrestle at the United States Naval Academy, which was a tremendous honor for me and was finishing up the final physicals required to attend any Academy. But, God had different plans. During a routine eye exam a problem was discovered with my cornea and I was diagnosed with Keratoconus. Out of all the issues that you can receive a waiver for, this issue is a direct disqualification to any of the service academy’s. The news was devastating to say the least, but the following week I received a call from Coach Ryan. I still recall that conversation like it was yesterday and remember the words that came across the line from Coach Ryan: “Can you believe God’s plan? You’re going to be a Buckeye!”
Coming to Ohio State and competing as a Buckeye had been a dream of mine since my freshman year of high school when I was able to tag along on my brother, Kyle’s, official visit. Everything about this school blew me away. The tradition, the passion and pride of every single fan, and the atmosphere here was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. When Kyle began his wrestling career my passion for the school only grew. Attending the wrestling matches and seeing how much support the team was given by every member of the Ohio State Athletic Program and all of Buckeye Nation only confirmed that this is where I wanted to be.
During my time here, this belief that Ohio State was the best place for me has only grown. I am leaving a Ohio State as a better wrestler, a better student, and a better individual. Through my experiences at Ohio State I have had the opportunity to compete in front of the best fans in the world, and in one of the best environments in the world. I have interacted with some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met, and I have gained lifelong friendships because of it. There is not enough room on this paper to write out the list of things that I am grateful for that Ohio State has provided me – none of which would have been possible without the support given to me by our coaching staff, our professor’s, our donors, every member of the athletic program, and Buckeye Nation. It is impossible to thank a community like this and put into words the appreciation that I have for you all – no one gets this far in life alone.
Again, I would like to thank Gene Smith, Coach Ryan, Jaggers, Tervel, Ralph, and the rest of our staff for teaching me more than the just the sport of wrestling has to offer. I will keep the memories of my time at Ohio State in the classroom, on the mat, and the daily life experiences of being a student-athlete at Ohio State with me forever. Thank you Buckeye Nation, OH-