Ohio State University

Kaleb Romero


Athlete Profile

D1 Ohio State Wrestler, 6th in the Nation, Two-Time NWCA Scholar All-American (2019, 2020), Academic All-Big Ten (2019, 2020, 2021).


In the aftermath of his winning the state wrestling title last March in the 152 pound division, someone…a coach, perhaps, or one of those wrestling fanatics who tend to speak from an out-of-body experience at times like those…made the boldest of statements about Mechanicsburg sophomore Kaleb Romero.

“Pound for pound Kaleb Romero has to be the best athlete in the state.”

A Mechanicsburg, Ohio native, Kaleb Romero is breaking new ground in one of the top wrestling names in the country — the Ohio State Buckeyes. After redshirting his first year on campus, the Mechanicsburg High School graduate went 11-6 last season, including 3-5 in dual meets and 2-3 in the Big Ten.

As a sophomore this season, Romero has made a leap, notching a 15-4 mark overall so far. That includes a 9-2 dual-match record and a 5-2 mark in the Big Ten.

He’s ranked No. 7 at his weight by FloWrestling and has victories over eight ranked foes.

“I’m feeling pretty good about this season so far,” he said. “I feel like I’m finally showing the skills and just showing my ability of what I’m able to do. Last year, I didn’t really paint a good picture of that. I was dealing with a lot of things, and this year I’m just back on track and wrestling how I want to wrestle.”

Finding a home at 174 pounds has helped, as has building on the lessons of failure that are sometimes elusive for an athlete such as Romero who knew almost nothing but domination at previous levels.

“It’s amazing: You can compete your whole life and not really understand how to compete,” Ohio State wrestling coach Tom Ryan said. “There’s competing and then there’s fighting for every morsel. There’s a learning of how to truly compete, and sometimes when you’re just that much more dominant than everyone, you think you know how to compete, but you really don’t know yet.

“You’ve got a big fish from a small town in Ohio that’s crushed everybody and then, hello, meet this fish. He’s a tough dude, too. The more big fish you get to fight, the better chance you have at figuring out how to really compete and win matches, and I think that’s been the case for Romero as well.”

A four-time individual state champion, he also led the Indians to their first team title in 2017 and was named the state's Most Outstanding Wrestler in Division III.


“It just takes a lot to be elite at this level, and now we’re seeing a guy who’s up a weight, feels strong, not cutting any weight. We knew he was a tremendous athlete and he’s wrestling like the Romero that eventually we expected him to. So we’re really happy with him.” — Tom Ryan, Head Ohio State Wrestling Coach
“The bonds and relationships and the impact that this program has made on me not only in wrestling but just in my everyday life, I mean, I never take it for granted,” he said. “It’s pretty awesome.” — Kaleb Romero

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