Penn Hills grad Campbell ready to wrap up his wrestling career where it began
Te’Shan Campbell’s college wrestling career began in Pittsburgh. It will end there, too — by way of a circuitous route.
A Penn Hills alumnus who on a PIAA title, Campbell developed into an ACC champion over his freshman and sophomore years at Pitt before transferring to Ohio State two years ago. Ranked No. 14 in the country at 165 pounds, Campbell will cap his senior season at the NCAA championships.
This year, of course, those happen to be at PPG Paints Arena beginning Thursday.
“It would be awesome,” Campbell said, “to end my career there at nationals in Pittsburgh.”
The 2019 NCAAs will be the fourth in four seasons for Campbell, who is the No. 21 seed. Campbell has split four bouts at each of the past two NCAA championships, advancing to the Round of 16 in 2017.
With his final NCAAs being staged 20 minutes from where he competed in high school and just a couple of miles from where he spent his first two collegiate seasons, could Campbell have his best showing yet?
“Goals are to get on the podium,” Campbell said of a top-right finish. “All-American status. But I’m just trying to set some daily goals on getting my weight down, wrestling hard, just keep getting better and better and put myself in a position to get there.”
A couple years ago, Campbell wouldn’t have expected to get there as a Buckeye. And only a couple of months ago, he wouldn’t have expected to get there as a 165-pounder.
“We had him at 174 at the beginning of the year,” Ohio State coach Tom Ryan said. “He was doing well there, but we felt the best option for the team was to move him down, and he went down right away for the team.”
Campbell wrestled at 174 during the postseason as a freshman and 165 each of the past two seasons. He went 8-2 at 174 to begin this season. Campbell, who fought through a knee injury throughout much of the season, is 9-2 at 165 and had an eight-match winning streak heading into the Big Ten championships, where he took sixth.
“(Wrestling at 165) is not what we thought from the beginning, but it is what it is now, and everyone is on board and everyone is helping me do everything I can to make sure I am getting down and feel good and healthy and everything,” Campbell said. “So I am excited about the opportunity to wrestle at this weight.”
He also is excited about the opportunity to wrestle in his hometown for what is probably the final time on a significant stage.
“Whatever happens, happens,” Campbell said, “and I can look back and smile that I don’t regret coming (to Ohio State). I don’t regret starting at Pitt. I am just thankful for a lot of opportunities and happy I gave myself a chance to wrestle at this level.
“I am definitely looking forward the next chapter of life, working and making money and the adult life.”
Campbell will remain at Ohio State until he completes his communications degree. That has helped him to carry an appropriate level of perspective looking back on his college career as it winds down.
“I got better at wrestling throughout the way,” Campbell said, “and I challenged myself. I put myself in positions to better myself, and that’s probably the biggest thing. I just grew as a man.
“Being at Pitt, I was kind of sheltered at home, and things weren’t too hard for me, and then I made the adjustment to come out here and put myself in a more challenging position and I was able to achieve that. I grew a lot, especially and most importantly as a man. I learned a lot more about myself and figured out what I believe and value in life and things like that, and I think that was probably the biggest step I made.”
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .