He’s knocked off a three-time world champion.
He was a member of American squads that won team titles at the World Championships and World Cup.
And he reached one of his lifelong dreams by winning a world title.
Even with all that he has accomplished, the best may be yet to come for the driven 27-year-old Stieber.
The national winner of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame’s Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award in 2010 will look to make his third straight world team when he competes at USA Wrestling’s Final X on Saturday night in State College, Pennsylvania.
“I’m really excited,” Stieber said. “Any time you have a chance to make a world team it is a great opportunity to compete. I’m looking forward to it.”
Stieber, who won four NCAA titles for Ohio State, will battle current Buckeye All-American Joey McKenna in a best-of-three series in freestyle at 65 kilograms.
The winner advances to October’s World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
Stieber will face a familiar foe in McKenna. They trained together frequently during the college season and they traveled together to Pennsylvania this week.
Like Stieber, McKenna won a Junior world silver medal for the United States.
McKenna placed third at the 2018 NCAA tournament for Ohio State before winning the U.S. Open in late April to clinch a Final X berth.
“It should be a good matchup,” Stieber said. “We have a lot of similar skills. We’ve trained together quite a bit and we’ve helped each other a lot.”
Wrestling someone who trains in the same room with so much at stake is something Stieber has experienced before.
“I’ve been in this situation before with Reece Humphrey, so it’s nothing new,” Stieber said. “It’s a good problem for us to have with two guys who train in the same room battling for the world team. We just have to treat it as professionals. He is a very good wrestler and I know I will have to be ready to go.”
Stieber made his first world team in 2016 and took full advantage, capturing a world title at 61 kilograms in Budapest.
Stieber made the world team again in 2017 and was a member of the American squad that won it all. But the weight cut to 61 took too much of a toll on him. He fell short of medaling in Paris.
Stieber moved back up to the Olympic weight class of 65 kilograms this season.
“Ultimately, it was just too hard. It made my life miserable,” he said of competing at 61. “My wrestling wasn’t getting better. I didn’t feel good and I didn’t enjoy wrestling. Now I can focus on wrestling and enjoy life and live normally.
“And I can lift weights now. I couldn’t lift for a year and a half when I was wrestling at 61.”
Stieber earned a huge win at 65 kilos at April’s World Cup in Iowa City, Iowa. He scored a 6-3 win over three-time world champion and Olympic bronze medalist Haji Aliyev of Azerbaijan as Carver-Hawkeye Arena fans stood and cheered.
“Aliyev is an awesome wrestler who has done well at numerous weight classes,” Stieber said. “It’s always good to have big wins over guys who are stars in your weight class.”
Stieber was then upset by Jaydin Eierman at the U.S. Open in Las Vegas before finishing third. But Stieber bounced back to sweep Eierman 10-5 and 7-1 to win the World Team Trials Challenge Tournament last month in Rochester, Minn.
“I didn’t finish a couple of my shots and I let him keep it close,” Stieber said of the setback in Vegas. “The match in Rochester, I finished all of my attacks and my defense was better. I wrestled smarter and more controlled.”
The event in State College on Saturday is the second of three Final X events that will determine the 2018 U.S. world team in men’s freestyle wrestling.