After 19 years of intense workouts, dieting and competing on some of the biggest sporting stages in Ohio and around the country, Cody Magrum has likely wrestled the last match of his young life.
“I’m all done,” said Magrum, a three-time state champion at Oak Harbor and a four-time NCAA Tournament qualifier at Ohio State. “It really hasn’t sunk in yet.”
Magrum, 23, who began wrestling when he was 4, has had to deal with knee and hamstring injuries in the past year, which affected his performance on the mat. He went 17-7 during the regular season for Coach Tom Ryan’s Buckeyes, then went 1-2 at the NCAA Tournament last weekend at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa.
|Ohio State wrestler Cody Magrum (right) gets kicked
by Dan Rinaldi from Rutgers. (Photo by Dan Jaksetic)
“I was hoping to get top six,” Magrum said. “I didn’t wrestle well, but I was nowhere near the wrestler I was the year before that, just because of the injuries. I kind of accepted it. It happens.”
Magrum lost his first-round match to Dan Rinaldi from Rutgers, then won his next match against Casey Newburg from Kent State. He was ousted from the tournament with a loss to Navy senior Mason Bailey in the 184-pound weight class.
“He had a good year,” Ryan said. “He missed about eight months of training last year, between the knee and hamstring. Anytime that happens, as optimistic as hard workers are, there’s always that lost time. At this level, it’s so competitive and it was difficult for him to get back to the place he wanted to be and could be. Overall, he dealt with a lot of things you never plan for but yet can happen in life. I’m extremely proud of him.”
Magrum qualified to the NCAA tourney last year in St. Louis but could not compete due to an ACL injury and a damaged hamstring. He underwent surgery in early April 2012 and did not return to the mat until late October.
“The first tournament I wrestled in, I still wasn’t 100 percent and I partially tore my hamstring (again),” Magrum said. “It was a partial tear, so I took time off and that’s when I decided to cut down to 184 (from 197). I couldn’t weigh in for a month and a half. For a while there I wasn’t wrestling, I was just cutting weight.
“I took three weeks off from wrestling and then I came back. It definitely doesn’t put you in a good spot. I knew I had taken the whole summer off and had a lot of catching up to do. My timing was off, my ‘shots’ were off. Taking this time off in the middle of the year, I knew it was going to be hard for me to catch up. As optimistic as I was to catch up from last year, it started to slip a little bit.”
Magrum, who placed fifth at the Big Ten tournament by winning four of six matches, said his NCAA Tournament goals changed during the season.
“As the season progressed I said, ‘just take top eight,’” he said. “I was pretty optimistic. I felt really good at Big Tens and thought I might have one more tournament in me. I knew with both knees being bad I didn’t have a lot left. Wrestling is so mental, you have to stay positive. I was positive that I could get on the podium, but it is what it is.”
Magrum admitted he isn’t quite sure how he’s going to handle giving up wrestling. He will graduate with a degree in strategic communications from OSU in April.
“I’ve been contemplating grad school,” he said. “I might go into personal training right away and try that for a little bit and see where that goes. Maybe get a job in sales. I could see myself in grad school in a few years.
“I always see myself in the sport. I know I’m going to follow Ohio State because my best friends are on the team. It is nice waking up and not having to report anywhere and be forced to do anything. My body’s going to heal, so finally I’ll start feeling normal again and be able to do the things I used to do.”
Ryan, whose Buckeyes took sixth at the NCAA Tournament, said Magrum is bright enough to figure it out.
“He’s going to be an outstanding alumnus for us,” Ryan said. “He’s got a great mind. He’s a brilliant guy and he works hard. He can do whatever he wants.”