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Ohio wrestler Peyten Kellar wrestling in the 157 pound weight class during the Bobcats’ match against Buffalo, Feb. 24, 2024, in The Convo.

Wrestling: Successful season ends with All-American, bright future

Coming off a historic performance at the NCAA Wrestling Championships, Peyten Kellar and the wrestling team came home to Athens with their heads held high. 

Individually, Kellar now joins an exclusive group of wrestlers who have achieved one of the highest honors in the sport — being an All-American. 

Kellar, although happy to see his name on the wall of All-Americans in the soon-to-be-renovated training room, is looking forward to returning to his regular life. 

Despite being one of the most individually successful athletes on campus, Kellar shows no signs of arrogance or feelings of entitlement. Kellar took last Saturday night and Sunday to celebrate. After that, he went right back to his routine as a regular college student. 

Kellar signals a change in his mindset for being the catalyst of his ascent on a national scale. 

“Last year, I think the main thing that stopped me from winning was mental toughness,” Kellar said. “It doesn’t even have to be (on the mat) ... (In Kansas City), I wrestled fearlessly. I wasn’t scared of winning or losing.” 

With two years of eligibility remaining, Kellar wants to run the table over the course of an entire season by going undefeated and returning to the podium as an All-American.

Ohio Coach Joel Greenlee, who will be entering his 27th season coaching next year, would consider winning a Mid-American Conference championship the pinnacle of success. 

“I am super proud of the guys on our team for what they went through this past year and still having the season that they did,” Greenlee said. “It could have gone a very different way, but I think it is a testament to the guys on our teams and their leadership and perseverance.”

Aside from the Bobcats’ individual successes, Greenlee is very impressed with how the team came together as a whole in 2023. Ohio’s starting lineup will be returning in full for the 2024 season, which leaves Greenlee particularly hopeful for next season. 

“In all honesty, I think we were good enough to win a MAC Championship this year,” Greenlee said. “We need to be consistent in the beginning and at the end. We need to keep building on that and get better and better.” 

Although Ohio sent three wrestlers to the NCAA Championships, it could have been even more. Sal Perrine and Zayne Lehman's disappointing performances at the MAC Championships put them on the outside looking in when it came time for the selections for the NCAA Championships. 

Greenlee and Ohio will enter the offseason confident that the “Ohio way” translates to winning at the highest level. Kellar’s All-American season is proof of what is possible with a dedicated team. Now that Ohio has ended its drought of All-Americans, it looks to end another dry spell, as over a decade has passed since the last time it won the MAC Championships. 


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