Penn Hills product Te'Shan Campbell relishes wrestling postseason at Ohio State
When wrestler Te'Shan Campbell decided last season to transfer from Pitt to Ohio State, he understood the transition might be a bumpy experience.
That is exactly what happened as Campbell finished 15-8, including a 7-6 dual record, at the 165-pound weight class for the Buckeyes.
However, Campbell, ranked 14th in the nation at 165, has a chance to finish his junior season with a better taste in his mouth: The postseason is on the horizon.
“I train with some of the elite partners in the country. That just helps me, and everything is just a learning process. I get better every day going against those guys,” Campbell said.
“The season wasn't really a surprise for me. I wasn't expecting to lose that many matches, but that's part of the process. You can only control what you can, and that's how I'm going to react to the situation.”
Campbell and his Buckeye teammates participated in the Big Ten championships at Michigan State. Results were too late for this edition, but Campbell headed into the tournament as the ninth seed.
Campbell said this was no time to change anything and that he needed to continue to wrestle his aggressive style to make a deep postseason run.
“I need to embrace the situation and take advantage of the opportunities that you have. I want to stay offensive, and I don't want to get lazy in any positions,” Campbell said.
“I need to take advantage of little things in the match. The little things will add up, being focused for the entire match.”
Earlier this season, Campbell won the Princeton Open on Nov. 4 and finished fourth in the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational on Dec. 2. Campbell suffered a knee injury during the Cliff Keen invitational, but it wasn't serious enough to miss any time on the mat.
The 2015 Penn Hills grad started his Buckeye career off strong with ten consecutive wins, including a 14-0 major decision over then-No. 6 Arizona State's Anthony Valencia on Nov. 12.
However, the grueling wrestling and travel of the Big Ten schedule started to get to Campbell as he lost six dual matches in a row. Campbell believes his mental makeup was tested and strengthened through the rough patch.
“I wasn't letting loose, and (I was) thinking too much. Just getting through that part of the season was a learning experience,” Campbell said.
“I was able to improve on the mental aspect and being able to stay calm and not lose faith and trust the process the entire time.”
Last season, Campbell finished 20-2 for the Panthers and captured an ACC title in the 165-pound weight class. Campbell defeated NC State's Brian Hamman by a 7-0 decision for Campbell's only ACC title.
This season, Campbell defeated Hamman by the same result Feb. 18 to snap a six-bout losing streak.
Campbell will look to draw from his postseason experience at Pitt, where he qualified for the NCAA championships the last two seasons.
“It's not like you evaluate for that one person with whoever you wrestle that one week. You just focus on getting better on yourself because you don't know who's going to wrestle who,” Campbell said.
“You just have to go in with the mindset to make sure I feel as good as I can mentally and physically, and you let the rest take care of itself.”
Andrew John is a freelance writer.