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Ohio wrestler, Peyten Kellar (Redshirt Sophmore), celebrates his victory against SIUE wrestler, Caine Tyrus, at the Convo, Ohio University, Feb. 17, 2024.

Wrestling: Peyten Kellar becomes All-American at NCAA Championships

Peyten Kellar has been on one of the most dominant runs seen by an Ohio wrestler in years. However, he was not given the amount of national attention expected for the No. 7 seed in the NCAA Championships. Kellar became the first Ohio wrestler to become an All-American since Cody Walters, current Ohio assistant coach, did so in 2016. Throughout the weekend, Kellar went 6-2 and claimed 5th place. 

Kellar was not the only Bobcat representing Ohio. Kellar wrestled in the 157-pound class and was joined by Garrett Thompson and Jordan Greer, wrestling at the 165- and 285-pound classes, respectively. While Kellar will receive the majority of attention for his efforts this weekend, the seasons of Thompson and Greer are both to be celebrated even if they did not end in immortality. 

157-pound class: 

The season for Kellar would ultimately boil down to three days of wrestling. His first match came against fellow MAC opponent, No. 26 Johnny Lovett of Central Michigan. Kellar had defeated Lovett in the regular season, a 6-0 decision victory in Mount Pleasant. In this rendition of the match, Kellar again kept Lovett scoreless but scraped by with a 1-0 decision to advance. 

In his next match, Kellar was set to face the No. 10 seeded Jared Franek from Iowa. Franek got an early takedown of Kellar, who got a reversal to make the score 3-2. Each wrestler traded escapes in the final two periods as Franek advanced with the 4-3 decision. 

Despite losing the match, Kellar’s close defeat reinforced that he was just as deserving as anyone else on the field. On Saturday, Kellar’s confidence came out in droves. In his first consolation match, Kellar defeated Northwestern’s No. 25 Trevor Chumbley by way of a major decision, 9-1. Another 1-0 victory for Kellar came against No. 15 Cael Swenson of South Dakota State. 

No. 4 Ed Scott of North Carolina State awaited with the winner of the match clinching a top-eight finish and becoming an All-American. After previously defeating Scott earlier this season, Kellar wasted no time, pinning Scott in just over a minute. Kellar lept into the arms of assistant coach Shakur Laney before wrapping Ohio head coach Joel Greenlee in a bear hug. With the last All-American for Ohio, Walters, in his corner, Kellar ended the drought. 

The outpour of emotion for Kellar did not show itself on the mat as he returned to action on Saturday night against Nebraska’s No. 8 Peyton Robb. The higher-scoring match nearly ended right before the second-period buzzer as Kellar had Robb on his back, but the bell saved Robb. It ultimately proved irrelevant as Kellar defeated Robb to move on to the Consolation Semifinals. 

In that match, Kellar faced Stanford’s No. 6 Daniel Cardenas, who quickly pinned Kellar in the second period. Regardless, Kellar would be wrestling for 5th place against Virginia Tech’s No. 12 Bryce Andonian. Kellar ended his season with another win, pinning Andonian in the second period to claim 5th place. 

Kellar would finish the season with a 28-4 record, as well as the highest finish at nationals since 2005. He also allowed Ohio to have its highest placement overall at nationals since 1998, finishing in 25th place. 

165-pound class: 

No. 12 Garrett Thompson has, at times, looked just as good as Kellar, making one of the most formidable one-two punches in the middleweights in the country. Thompson would face Michigan State’s No. 21 Caleb Fish. The two wrestlers have history as Fish defeated Thompson earlier in the season in a dual. Thompson avenged that loss by getting a takedown and near-fall in the first period, grabbing a commanding 7-0 lead. Fish would battle back late, but it proved immaterial as Thompson moved on to the next round. 

In the next round, Thompson faced Wisconsin’s No. 5 Dean Hamiti. Thompson was simply overmatched when Hamiti was on top, watching his opponent gain over three minutes of riding time. A late flurry of points for Thompson would not change the outcome with Hamiti advancing and Thompson going to the Consolation Bracket. 

There, Thompson faced another wrestler he had lost to earlier in the year: Navy’s No. 11 Andrew Cerniglia. Thompson was dominated on top again by Cerniglia, who won by a 7-3 decision. Going into next season, Thompson is clearly the one to beat in his class.

285-pound class: 

The unlikely story of No. 33 Jordan Greer making the NCAA Championships for the first time by taking 3rd place at the MAC Championships continued in Kansas City. In his first match, Greer faced No. 32 Nick Willham of Indiana. Willham outflanked Greer in scrambles, defeating Greer 11-4. 

Greer would face Maryland’s No. 30 Seth Nevills in the Consolation Pigtails, losing again; this time, by a major decision. Greer’s season might be over, but he will enter his final season at Ohio with high hopes of returning to the NCAA Championships after gaining this experience. 


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