Ohio State wrestling national champions honor late teammate

Ohio State's Kyle Snyder, with the initials 'KK' on his singlet, celebrates his victory over Missouri's J'Den Cox after their 197-pound semifinal match.  

Jeff Roberson/AP

An Ohio State team has proven to be the best in the country for the second time in 2015, and again a fallen teammate was an indelible part of the story.

The winning points came via a victory by Kenny Courts in a fifth-place match early Saturday afternoon.

As pointed out by Buckeye Sports Bulletin’s Ryan Ginn, Courts won while wearing the initials of Kosta Karageorge, an Ohio State wrestler who was also a walk-on member of the football team. Tragically, Karageorge became the subject of national headlines in late November when he went missing then was found dead in a trash bin in Columbus. The coroner ruled the death a suicide.

Ohio State senior defensive tackle Michael Bennett wore Karageorge’s No. 53 as the Buckeyes beat Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game then knocked off Alabama and Oregon to win the first College Football National Championship.

Every Buckeye wore Karageorge’s initials on their helmets, and running back Ezekiel Elliott also let the nation know he was thinking of him when he got the chance.

Now Karageorge’s other former team stands atop its sport as well.  

"Proud for an amazing institution, an administration that supports the sport," coach Tom Ryan said after the clinching match. "I’m proud for the state. I raise my children in the state. I’ve got two kids at Ohio State, so I’m just really happy."

Luke Fickell, the defensive coordinator for the football team and a legendary heavyweight wrestler when he was a high schooler, and OSU director of player personnel Mark Pantonio were among those to offer congratulations to Ryan’s team on Twitter.  

Stieber capped the tournament by beating Edinboro’s Mitchell Port 11-5 in the 141-pound final to claim his fourth national title and finish the season 29-0. The Monroeville, Ohio, native was named the Most Dominant Wrestler of the national tournament and the NWCA Most Outstanding Wrestler. His final career record at Ohio State was 119-3.