Everything was riding on this moment for both Ohio and senior heavyweight Jordan Greer. Ohio had wrestled its way back into the match against Chattanooga in the opening match of its Tri-Meet. After facing a massive deficit early, Ohio crept back to make things interesting after a tech fall secured by Zayne Lehman in the 184-pound weight class, followed by a pin by Austin Starr in the 197-pound weight class. The score sat at 19-17 in favor of Chattanooga. As Greer heard his name come over the public address system in The Convo, coach Joel Greenlee uttered to him a simple message: win.
Greer hails from Avon, Ohio, located between Cleveland and Toledo, just near Lake Erie. He made his mark as a dominant wrestler in high school, earning four varsity letters and a conference title while making it to the state tournament in his senior season. Greer ended his high school career with a staggering 40-4 record.
Greer made his commitment to Ohio University and sat out his freshman season. In his sophomore season, he had one of the more interesting years on the mat.
“I started at 197, didn’t feel too great because my natural weight was probably more around 220-230,” Greer said. “In the middle of the season, I made the decision to go up (to 285). The rest of the season, I was at heavyweight.”
Greer’s season upon reaching the heavyweight class was far from smooth. Unlike any other weight class in college wrestling, the jump from 197 pounds to 285 pounds is not only a huge leap, but also the only two classes that feature a difference in weight that is more than 13 pounds.
“I knew that I needed to bulk up because I was a pretty skinny heavyweight,” Greer said.
Greer had mixed results, going a combined 20-11, a record that spanned two weight classes. With all the difficulty that Greer faced in moving up to a whole new division, he used the offseason between his sophomore and junior seasons to prepare to fully convert to being a heavyweight.
Unfortunately for Greer, he suffered one of the most devastating injuries in sports: a torn ACL. Greer had been putting in loads of work in the offseason, eating nearly 5000 calories per day to solidify himself at the accepted weight of his new class. The injury devastated him and shook him to his core.
“I was out for the season,” Greer said. “That was kind of depressing (for me).”
Injuries are an unfortunate aspect of sports. Nary is there an athlete, regardless of the sport, that has not been faced with injuries. Some of the injuries are a bigger deal than others. In the case of Greer, his torn ACL was one that would define his career. However, the way he approached it was that he could either let it ruin his confidence or he could come back stronger than ever as he looked toward his senior season.
“I rehabbed super hard, trying to get back because I knew I could handle the top guys,” Greer said. “I think I needed that platform really. I have only competed for one (full) season and I am a senior now. I’m here to compete. I want to get my hands on some guys, get some matches under my belt and have some fun.”
Through rehab and practice, Greer headed into the season hungry for success. While he admits that watching from the sidelines was not something he enjoyed, he loved watching his teammates succeed. Additionally, Greer learned the value of patience while sitting in the stands last season.
“That drive to actually compete and have fun again, wrestling 100% (is there),” Greer said. “If (sitting out) last season makes this season two times better, then that is okay.”
One of the biggest holes for Ohio last season was at heavyweight. Ohio turned to a combination of Jacob Padilla and Drew Harris last season. The pair went a combined 3-25, but injuries hampered them. Greer knows he possesses the skills and technique necessary to improve that weakness for Ohio.
“What I really bring is just offense,” Greer said. “I'm not afraid to hit my knee. I think we’re in a golden age for heavyweights … I’m not afraid to let it go; it doesn't matter what shot it is, I’m going to take it.”
Back in The Convo, Greer shakes hands with his opponent before the opening whistle goes off. While some heavyweight bouts take a while to get going as the wrestlers try to establish a position, Greer wasted no time going after Chattanooga’s Ethan Vergara. In a flash, Greer had Vergara on the mat, reeling. One minute passed and the referee slapped the mat with a thud.
In the second match of his day, as if it were possible, Greer was even more dominant. This time, he only took an even minute to pin his opponent, picking up his second win by fall of the day, becoming the only Bobcat to do so during the Tri-Meet.
One of the most unique challenges of being a heavyweight wrestler is the timing of most matches. Usually, heavyweights are the last ones to go; the pressure placed on the shoulders of one match can be immense. Often, it makes even the best wrestlers shrink under the spotlight of a must-win match, much like the one Greer faced against Chattanooga.
“I think if you’re hyper-fixated on win-loss, you’re going to wrestle stiff,” Greer said.
Greer has a long season ahead of him, but the first two matches of his season have amazing early returns. Ohio is looking for its first Mid-American Conference title since 2001, and having a reliable and explosive heavyweight is a huge asset to add to an already talented roster.