Former Batavia star seeks to revive UC mat program

John Steiner is anxiously looking forward to returning to his favorite sport, wrestling. He and present Hughes High School wrestling coach Randolph Smith will be at the helm of the University of Cincinnati’s wrestling program.

On the UC main campus wrestling today is relegated to the level of club sport. For many years (beginning in the 1910s) the sport was regarded as one of the premier Bearcat varsity sports. That status was dropped in the early 1980s.

The last Clermont countian to be a member of the Bearcat varsity wrestling program was Chris Distler. The 1979 Clermont Northeastern High School graduate was a Class AA state qualifier and a Clermont County League champion at 138 pounds.

Steiner, himself, was a grappling star at Batavia High School from where he graduated in 1992. He qualified for the Division III state championship tournament three years and earned third place in Columbus twice – his junior year at 119 pounds and his senior year at 112 pounds. It was his senior year that the Bulldogs finished seventh in the state having qualified five individuals that included his twin brother Mark and BJ Sauter, Bill Peace, and Terry Shinkle.

“We’ll be practicing at Hughes this year and we hope to move soon to the new UC Recreational Center,” he said.

“I learned UC had at wrestling club level from conversations. I work near there at Children’s Hospital,” said Steiner who is the Network Engineer at Children’s.

“Our goal is to get a good number of kids out for the team, but it’s tough getting kids to stay out for wrestling because there are no scholarships for the kids and they get no recognition.

“I am definitely looking forward to getting things started this year. I want to get things going again at UC.

There is a national wrestling organization called the National Collegiate Wrestling Association that is trying to get wrestling going again. It has been dying on the collegiate level.

Steiner, a resident of Milford, has two former standout Clermont County grappling gladiators on his present squad’s roster – Andy Minor of New Richmond and Dan Snell of Batavia, both having been Southern Buckeye Conference all-stars.

If anyone is interested in becoming a member of the UC wrestling club, please contact Steiner at 240-9739 (cell) or