Top wrestler opens up about his journey to Rider

By Logan VanDine

Redshirt sophomore Quinn Kinner has made a big name for himself since arriving at Rider after transferring from Ohio State. As the No. 25 ranked wrestler in the nation at 141 pounds, Kinner opened up to The Rider News about how he first got into wrestling and his journey into becoming a Bronc.  

“It’s like a family sport to me. My dad and his whole family always wrestled, so my family has always done it. Ever since I can remember, me, my brothers were on the wrestling mat, my dad was taking us to tournaments and it was always something we did,” the 141-pound wrestler said.

Kinner played other sports, like baseball and football, but always felt that wrestling was the right sport for him.

“It was always mostly wrestling. I always kind of knew that was the sport that I was going to stick with,” he said.

Kinner attended Kingsway High School in Woolwich Township and compiled a very impressive record of 167-8.

“I was a two-time state champion and won some other tournaments like Beast of The East and Escape The Rock, and I ended up being No. 1 in my senior year in the country,” said Kinner of his decorated high school career. 

Kinner started his collegiate wrestling career as an Ohio State Buckeye, spending two years in their wrestling program with a record of 38-10. 

“I was a freshman, and I remember Coach [Tim] Ryan, Coach [J] Jaggers, Nathan Tomasello came in and did a camp at one of my clubs and Myles Martin went there.  He was a South Jersey guy I grew up with and knew really well, so I had a lot of connections over there. And obviously there was that Big Ten school dream so it was a dream come true,” said Kinner.

Kinner then opened up on why he decided to leave Ohio State and how hard the decision was to leave his teammates that he considered family.

“The whole experience there was fun; it was amazing, I took a lot out of it, but it kind of fell apart. And it wasn’t my coach’s fault, it wasn’t my teammates’ fault. I love those guys; I look at all of them like family,” he said.

Kinner then added, “I just kinda fell into the big school environment and I was having fun and doing stupid things and I fell away from something that was important to me. I’m very God-oriented, and the transfer was really hard because it was leaving my best friends and people who I’ve grown and loved so much and I was in a place that I was so comfortable in.”

After leaving Ohio State, Kinner did not know what he wanted to do with himself. He didn’t imagine getting back into wrestling until Rider Wrestling Head Coach John Hangey convinced him to come to a much smaller college environment.

“I just remember Hangey and [Nic] Bedelyon calling me one day saying like ‘Hey man, one year from now you’re going to be an NCAA champion and a MAC champion,’ and during that time I was doing nothing. I dropped out of Ohio State, I was chilling on my couch doing nothing with myself, going nowhere …  Rider was the exact environment that was needed for me,” Kinner said. 

Hangey, who’s been coaching wrestling for the Broncs for six seasons, raved about the person Kinner is.

“He’s got an infectious personality that you want to be around, he’s always happy, he’s always engaging, he tells hilarious stories and if you get him wound up he just keeps going and he’s fun to be around and he has a great personality,” the former All American said.

Hangey also spoke about how much he has grown as a wrestler at Rider as he is set to head to the NCAA tournament.

“If you ask me and Quinn that if we expected him to be at the NCAA Tournament, the answer is absolutely 100% without question,” Hangey said. “That’s not the part I’m impressed with; the part I’m impressed with is that he’s a sponge when it comes to wrestling. He wants to learn as much as he can, he wants to grow, he wants to help his teammates and you can see him invested into his success and the team’s success and that’s the growth you’re looking for.”

This past weekend, along with redshirt junior Richie Koehler, Kinner made history for the Broncs. It was be the first time since joining the MAC conference in 2019 that Rider has two MAC champions.

“It’s crazy, it’s awesome,” Kinner said. “Obviously the expectations and the goal is to be an NCAA Champion, so at the end of the day I have 24 spots to move up and I want to end up being the No. 1 guy in the country.” 

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