December 3, 2021

Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invite – Three Advance to Finals on Day 2


COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State advanced three wrestlers to the finals Saturday in the 2021 Cliff Keen Invitational in Las Vegas. Two others will vie for a third later Saturday afternoon at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Heading into the finals, Ohio State trails Nebraska in the team standings, 116-99.

Kaleb Romero became the third Buckeye to advance to the finals with a 6-3 win by decision over Tate Samuelson of Wyoming in the 184 weight class Saturday at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Romero will take on No. 15 Taylor Venz of Nebraska for the title Saturday afternoon in the 2021 Cliff Keen Invitational.

No. 6 Ethan Smith punched his ticket to the finals at 174 with a 3-2 decision win over Adam Kemp of Cal Poly. He will wrestle for a title later today against No. 3 Mikey Labriola of Nebraska.

No. 2 Sammy Sasso won his semifinal matchup against Northwestern’s Yahya Thomas Saturday morning to set up a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup in the finals of the 149 weight class.

Sasso will meet top-ranked Yianni Diakomihalis of Cornell Saturday evening.

At 165, No. 9 Carson Kharchla fell to No. 4 Shane Griffith of Stanford in a 5-4 decision. Kharchla then defeated Philip Conigliaro of Harvard in the consolation semifinals to advance to the third place bout vs. No. 17 Julian Ramirez of Cornell.

No. 6 Tate Orndorff fell to Yaraslau Slavikouski of Harvard in the heavyweight semifinals, losing by decision, 3-2. Orndorff then won by decision (4-4, TB2) over AJ Nevills of South Dakota State to advance to the third-place match. He will face Christian Lance of Nebraska.

Earlier both Dylan D’Emilio (141) and Gavin Hoffman (197) fell in consolation matches. Malik Heinselman was a scratch in his consolation match (injury).

In the evening session Saturday, Ohio State advanced five-of-eight wrestlers to the semifinals Saturday.

After Heinselman (125) and D’Emilio (141) fell to the consolation bracket in the quarterfinals, Sasso won by major decision at 149 to place the first Buckeye into the semifinals.

Carson Kharchla (165), Ethan Smith (174), Kaleb Romero (184) and Tate Orndorff (HWT) all earned wins for Ohio State to advance to the semifinals.

The Buckeyes entered competition Saturday in second place with 71 points, behind Nebraska (79.5).

Ohio State sent eight-of-10 wrestlers into the quarterfinals after the morning session Friday.

Ohio State won 13-of-15 bouts in the championship bracket to advance eight wrestlers into the quarterfinals Friday evening.

The Buckeyes were a combined 5-0 in the Round of 32 in their respective weight classes with five others receiving first-round byes (Sasso-149, Smith-174, Romero-184, Hoffman-197 and Orndorff-HWT).

Both D’Emilio at 141 and Kharchla at 165 pinned their opponents in the opening round. Bryce Hepner (157) added a technical fall (20-0) in his first round bout. He fell in the Round of 16 but stayed alive with a win in the Consolation Round of 16.

In the Championship Round of 16 bouts, the Buckeyes went 8-2 and led in the overall team standings with 32 points. Nebraska was second heading into the quarterfinals with 28.5 points. The Buckeyes led with eight wrestlers remaining in the championship bracket.

Sasso (149) recorded a major decision with a 12-4 win over Nick Lombard of Binghampton before No. 9 Kharchla (165) won by technical fall (20-5, 6:30) over Emil Soehnien (PUR).

Smith (174) knocked off Max Major (MICH) by technical fall (26-9, 6:52) in front of Romero (184), who pinned (4:18) Sam Deprez (BING) to add bonus points to the Ohio State team score. It was the first bout of the season for Romero, who had missed the early portion of the season with injury.

Orndorff (HWT) also contributed bonus points with a pin (2:32) of Lee Herrington (UNK) after Hoffman (197) earned a win by decision (4-3) over Tanner Sloan (SDSU).

Heinselman (125) and D’Emilio (141) also won by decision in the Round of 16.

Results: 2021 Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational
Dec. 3-4, Las Vegas Convention Center

125 (Heinselman is No. 3 seed/2-1)
Rnd of 32
No. 9 Malik Heinselman (OSU) def. Greg Diakomihalis (CORN) | D, 5-3
Rnd. Of 16
No. 9 Malik Heinselman (OSU) def. Eddie Flores (CSUB) | D, 4-2
No. 26 Brandon Kaylor (ORST) def. No. 9 Malik Heinselman (OSU) | D, 5-4
Consolation (Rnd. of 8 #2/Saturday)
Antonio Lorenzo (CALP) def. No. 9 Malik Heinselman (OSU) | M FF

133 (Koontz/1-2)
Rnd of 32
Dylan Koontz (OSU) def. Dillon Murphy (HARV) | D, 6-1
Rnd of 16
No. 14 Chance Rich (CSUB) def. Dylan Koontz (OSU) | SV, 7-5
Consolation (Rnd. of 16)
Caleb Gross (SDSU) def. Dylan Koontz (OSU) | D, 5-3

141 (D’Emilio is No. 6 seed/2-2)
Rnd of 32
No. 20 Dylan D’Emilio (OSU) def. Christian Nunez (CBU) | Fall, 6:43
Rnd of 16
No. 20 Dylan D’Emilio (OSU) def. Michael Jaffe (HARV) | D, 10-5
No. 11 Chad Red (NEB) def. No. 20 Dylan D’Emilio (OSU) | D, 3-2
Consolation (Rnd. of 8 #2/Saturday)
No. 30 Angelo Martinoni (CSUB) def. No. 20 Dylan D’Emilio (OSU) | D, 4-3

149 (Sasso is No. 2 seed)
Rnd of 32
Rnd of 16
No. 2 Sammy Sasso (OSU) def. Nick Lombard (BING) | MD, 12-4
No. 2 Sammy Sasso (OSU) def. No. 15 Mitch Moore (OKLA) | MD, 12-0
Semifinals (Saturday)
No. 2 Sammy Sasso (OSU) def. No. 4 Yahya Thomas (NW) | D, 5-4
Finals (Saturday)
No. 2 Sammy Sasso (OSU) vs. No. 1 Yianni Diakomihalis (CORN) |

157 (Hepner is No. 10 seed)
Rnd of 32
No. 25 Bryce Hepner (OSU) def. Shaun Williams (SHU) | TF, 20-0 2:19
Rnd of 16
No. 15 Will Lewan (MICH) def. No. 25 Bryce Hepner (OSU) | D, 3-1
Consolation (Rnd. of 16)
No. 25 Bryce Hepner (OSU) def. Nathan Moore (UNCO) | D, 9-3
Consolation (Rnd. of 8)
Kyle Mosher (COL) def. No. 25 Bryce Hepner (OSU) vs. | Fall, 1:55

165 (Kharchla is No. 3 seed)
Rnd of 32
No. 9 Carson Kharchla (OSU) def. Grant Speer (CIT) | F, 1:23
Rnd of 16
No. 9 Carson Kharchla (OSU) def. Emil Soehnien (PUR) | TF, 20-5 6:30
No. 9 Carson Kharchla (OSU) def. No. 17 Julian Ramirez (CORN) | MD, 15-7
Semifinals (Saturday)
No. 4 Shane Griffith (STAN) def. No. 9 Carson Kharchla (OSU) | D, 5-4
Consolation Semifinals
No. 9 Carson Kharchla (OSU) def. No. 12 Philip Conigliaro (HARV) | D, 5-3
Consolation Finals (Third Place)
No. 9 Carson Kharchla (OSU) vs. No. 17 Julian Ramirez (CORN) |

174 (Smith is No. 2 seed)
Rnd of 32
Rnd of 16
No. 6 Ethan Smith (OSU) def. Max Major (MICH) | TF, 26-9 6:52
No. 6 Ethan Smith (OSU) def. No. 20 Gerret Nijenhuis (PUR) | MD, 14-6
Semifinals (Saturday)
No. 6 Ethan Smith (OSU) vs. No. 31 Adam Kemp (CALP) | D, 3-2
No. 6 Ethan Smith (OSU) vs. No. 3 Mikey Labriola (NEB) |

184 (Romero is No. 5 seed)
Rnd of 32
Rnd of 16
Kaleb Romero (OSU) def. Sam Deprez (BING) | Fall, 4:18
Kaleb Romero (OSU) def. No. 18 Darrien Roberts (OKLA) | D, 3-2
Semifinals (Saturday)
Kaleb Romero (OSU) def. No. 11 Tate Samuelson (WYO) | D, 6-3
Kaleb Romero (OSU) vs. No. 15 Taylor Venz (NEB) |

197 (Hoffman is No. 10 seed/1-2)
Rnd of 32
Rnd of 16
No. 21 Gavin Hoffman (OSU) def. Tanner Sloan (SDSU) | D, 4-3
No. 8 Patrick Brucki (MICH) def. No. 21 Gavin Hoffman (OSU) | D, 8-5
Consolation (Rnd. of 8 #2/Saturday)
No. 27 Luke Stout (PU) def. No. 21 Gavin Hoffman (OSU) | D, 7-5

HWT (Orndoff is No. 1 seed)
Rnd of 32
Rnd of 16
No. 6 Tate Orndorff (OSU) def. Lee Herrington (UNK) | Fall, 2:32
No. 6 Tate Orndorff (OSU) vs. No. 30 Joe Doyle (BING) | MD, 10-2
Semifinals (Saturday)
No. 15 Yaraslau Slavikouski (HARV) def. No. 6 Tate Orndorff (OSU) | D, 3-2
Consolation Semifinals
No. 6 Tate Orndorff (OSU) def. No. 22 AJ Nevills (SDSU) | D, 4-4 (TB2)
Consolation Finals (Third Place)
No. 6 Tate Orndorff (OSU) vs. No. 13 Christian Lance (NEB) |

Ohio State was one of 27 teams competing for the 2021 Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational title Dec. 3-4, 2021. Ohio State finished in the No. 2 spot behind Nebraska in the 2019 event, the last to be held. Schools are permitted to enter one wrestler in each weight class, simulating postseason competition.

Of the 27 teams scheduled to participate in the 39th annual event, 10 are ranked among the Top 25. The Buckeyes enter the event as the No. 8 team nationally (InterMat). The other ranked teams: Michigan (6), Nebraska (9), Cornell (11), Wyoming (13), Oklahoma (14), Minnesota (15), Northwestern (16), Purdue (19) and Oregon State (24).

Ohio State has six team titles since 2009 at the CKLVI including three-consecutive (2016, 17, 18). The Buckeyes have placed outside the Top 5 just once in the past decade and own nine Top 3 finishes.

The last time Ohio State traveled to Las Vegas, the Buckeyes had two wrestlers crowed champions, the only school to do so. Luke Pletcher claimed the title at 141 while Kollin Moore took the top spot on the podium at 197.

Brackets: FloArena Brackets
Live video: ($)
Live results: FloArena (free) and on Twitter (@wrestlingbucks).

Friday (Dec. 3)
Noon ET | early rounds
9 p.m. ET | Quarterfinals and consolation rounds

Saturday (Dec. 4)
Noon ET | consolation rounds
1 p.m. ET | Semifinals, consolation and 5th-8th place matches
6 p.m. ET | Finals & 3rd place matches

No. 8 Ohio State CKLV LineupWeight/Place2021-22 Record
No. 9 Malik Heinselman (Sr.)1259-1
Dylan Koontz (r-Sr.)1333-5
No. 20 Dylan D’Emilio (r-So.) 14112-3
No. 2 Sammy Sasso (r-Jr.) 149/2nd10-1
No. 25 Bryce Hepner (So.) 1573-3 (8-1 Unat.)
No. 9 Carson Kharchla (r-So.) 165/3rd12-1
No. 6 Ethan Smith (r-Sr.) 174/2nd8-2
Kaleb Romero (r-Sr.)184/1st3-0
No. 21 Gavin Hoffman (r-Jr.)1976-1
No. 6 Tate Orndorff (r-Sr.)Hwt/4th10-2

• Ohio State has won the team title six times since 2009 (2009, 11, 12, 16, 17, 18). The Buckeyes earned second-place finishes in 2014 and 2019, third in 2013, fifth in 2015 and 12th in 2010. There was no event in 2020 (Covid).
• Ohio State has finished in the Top-5 nine consecutive seasons

Malik Heinselman (4-2), Dylan Koontz (4-4), Dylan D’Emilio (2-2), Sammy Sasso (7-1/2nd in 2019), Bryce Hepner (2-2), Carson Kharchla (3-1), Ethan Smith (4-2 at 165, 4-2 at 174), Kaleb Romero (4-3), Gavin Hoffmann (2-1 at 184, 1-2 at 197), Tate Orndorff (2-1).


The Buckeyes return to dual competition at the Covelli Center Dec. 12 (1 p.m.) vs. No. 22 Pittsburgh. For tickets call 1-800-Go-Bucks or visit:

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