Hogan Swenski isn’t one to wait around for things to happen on the wrestling mat.
He’s rather proactive away from it, as well. Which has served the Bermudian Springs senior quite nicely.
In the fall, Swenski emailed the Ohio State University coaching staff to express his interest in joining the Buckeyes. Landing a spot with one of the premier programs in the country was a longshot, but Swenski took a swing.
And hit the mark.
The imposing Eagle, who placed third at 285 pounds at the PIAA Wrestling Championships in March, recently announced his commitment to Ohio State, where he will be a preferred walk-on. A Zoom meeting with the Ohio State staff, including head coach Tom Ryan and top assistants J Jaggers, Anthony Ralph and Bo Jordan, cemented the deal.
“They saw something in me which I didn’t even see in myself,” said Swenski of the Buckeye brass. “They are down to earth guys and it’s the best training you can get. The college speaks for itself.”
As for the Ohio State campus, Swenski has yet to step foot on it. In fact, he’s never even been to the state of Ohio.
That Swenski took an unusual path to Columbus – and his recruitment in general – should come as no surprise. After wrestling at 132 pounds as a freshman, and 138 in an injury-shortened sophomore season, Swenski began bulking up. He rocketed to 182 pounds as a junior, posting a 35-9 record. As a senior he tipped the scales at nearly 230 pounds as he went 25-4.
Still possessing the agility and quickness of a middleweight wrestler, Swenski dominated at heavyweight where his level of athleticism was rare. He was second at the district, regional and super regional tournaments before reaching Hershey for states. There, the senior ran through the field for bronze, his lone setback a 5-1 loss to eventual champion Nathan Taylor of Brookville.
That big finish at states wasn’t a determining factor for his suitors, however, who had been in touch prior to the big postseason finish. Swenski listed Lock Haven, West Virginia, Bucknell, George Mason and Clarion as possible destinations, but when the Buckeyes called, he wasn’t about to say no.
“I want to become the best I can be with the best coaches,” he said. “It’s so awesome that they see something in me, it’s a huge compliment that is really hard to explain. They’re the best there is and I’ll do my best and hopefully have a good career.”
The Buckeyes have been a model of success, enjoying top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championships in 12 of the last 13 years, including seven inside the top-3. Ryan led the Columbus crew to a national title in 2015.
At this year’s championship tourney, three Buckeyes earned All-American status including redshirt junior Tate Orndorff, who placed seventh at heavyweight, and PA native Sammy Sasso who was a runner-up at 149.
Swenski realizes steep challenges lie ahead but is eager to begin the journey.
“I have to start somewhere, and it will be at the bottom,” he said, laughing. “When you’re wrestling the best guys in the country you expect to get beat up a little bit. Everyone has been there. I’ll do my best to enjoy it because high school went by so fast and I know college will go by even faster.”
Swenski anticipates pursuing a degree in health sciences or possibly athletic administration. He’ll get a jump on his academic and athletic careers by taking a summer course in Columbus and hitting the mats at Ohio State as soon as possible.
“Their coaches congratulated me and told me they wanted me to be part of the program,” he said. “It was a clear choice.”