December 3, 2022

Sasso Earns Cliff Keen Title with 5-0 Record

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Team Standings | Final Brackets

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Sammy Sasso, a redshirt senior, won 149-pound bracket the 2022 Cliff Keen Invitational Saturday at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Sasso, ranked No. 3 nationally in his weight class, won five matches over two days to claim the title. He defeated Kyle Parco of Arizona State in the title match, 6-2. Parco is ranked No. 5.

Sasso, the No. 1 seed at 149 in Las Vegas, scored first with a late takedown in the title match to end the opening three-minute period. Starting on top in the second, Sasso did not allow Parco to escape, building a full two minutes of riding time.

A reversal in the third put Sasso up 4-0. Parco countered with a reversal followed by a Sasso escape for a 5-2 OSU lead and a 6-2 Sasso win by decision.

Kaleb Romero, a redshirt senior, took fourth in 184-pound bracket. He was the No. 3 seed at the event and faced No. 6 seed Hunter Bolen of Virginia Tech in the third-place match. It was the third time this season the pair faced off vs. one another.

Romero defeated Bolen (4-2) in Columbus to open the 2022 dual season and then met Friday during early competition in the 184-pound bracket in Vegas. Romero won 3-2 Friday.

In the Saturday match, neither wrestler scored in the first period. Bolen escaped early in the second for a 1-0 lead and the only scoring in the period. Romero quickly tied the match at 1-all with an escape in the third. The match went into sudden victory tied at 1-all before Bolden scored a takedown to win by decision, 3-1.

Sasso and Romero advanced to wrestle in the semifinals of their respective brackets Friday. Sasso moved on to the finals with an 8-2 win by decision over No. 4 seed Yahya Thomas of Northwestern Saturday morning.

Romero fell in the semifinals Saturday to No. 2 seed Trent Hidlay of North Carolina State (D, 4-1) and then won by major decision (12-3) over No. 11 seed Cade King of South Dakota State in the Consolation semifinals to advance to the third-place match.

Malik Heinselman (125), Dylan D’Emilio (141)  and Carson Kharchla (165) also remained in contention for third-place finishes when competition resumed Saturday at the 40th annual event.

Heinselman wrestled to a fifth-place finish while D’Emilio ended the event in eighth place. Kharchla also finished eighth but did not wrestle Saturday after a medical forfeit of his morning match.

Ohio State advanced five wrestlers to the quarterfinals in the first session Friday.

No. 1 seeds Sasso (149) and Kharchla (165) easily moved on in their respective brackets before No. 4 seed Ethan Smith (174) and No. 3 seeds Romero (184) and Gavin Hoffman (197) followed suit, all with 2-0 records in the morning session.

In eight of the 10 bouts involving the Buckeyes who advanced to the evening quarterfinals OSU wrestlers scored bonus points in the team competition.

Overall, eight of the nine Buckeyes competing in the event advanced to the evening session of Day 1. Heinselman (125), D’Emilio (141) and Tate Orndorff (HWT) lost bouts in their championships brackets before advancing to the consolation round of eight.

Ohio State was one of 34 teams competing for the 2022 Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational. The Buckeyes finished in the No. 2 spot behind Nebraska in the 2021 event.

Of the 34 teams participating, 10 are ranked among the Top 25 (Intermat). The Buckeyes entered the event as the No. 3 team nationally. The other ranked teams are: Michigan (6), Northwestern (8), North Carolina State (11), Cornell (13), Virginia Tech (14), Nebraska (16), Northern Iowa (17), North Dakota State (19) and South Dakota State (24). Oregon State (26), Cal Poly (28) and Purdue (30) also were in the field.

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 twice in the past decade and own 10 Top 3 finishes. The Buckeyes finished tied for 8th this year with 82.5 points.

No. 3 Ohio State CKLV LineupWeight2022 CKLV Finish2022-23 Record
No. 11 Malik Heinselman (r-Sr.)1256-2/5th13-2
Dylan Koontz (r-Sr.)1331-25-5
No. 7* Dylan D’Emilio (r-Jr.) 1414-3/8th5-5
No. 3 Sammy Sasso (r-Sr.) 1495-0/1st10-2
No. 6 Carson Kharchla (r-Jr.) 1653-2/8th6-2
No. 7 Ethan Smith (r-Sr.) 1742-28-4
No. 4 Kaleb Romero (r-Sr.)1844-2/4th11-2
No. 16 Gavin Hoffman (r-Sr.)1972-28-3
No. 7 Tate Orndorff (r-Sr.)HWT3-26-2
* Preseason ranking

VEGAS WINNINGS
• 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, 2019 and 2021, third in 2013, fifth in 2015 and 12th in 2010. There was no event in 2020 (Covid).

CKLVI CAREER RECORDS
Malik Heinselman (10-4/5th in 2022), Dylan Koontz (5-6), Dylan D’Emilio (6-5/8th in 2022), Sammy Sasso (11-2/2nd in 2019, 2021, 1st in 2022), Carson Kharchla (7-3/8th in 2022), Ethan Smith (6-4 at 165, 4-3 at 174), Kaleb Romero (8-4/1st in 2021, fourth in 2022), Gavin Hoffmann (4-3 at 184, 1-2 at 197), Tate Orndorff (5-4).

Final Results

Malik Heinselman (6-2/5th)
125 | Brett Ungar (COR) def. (4) Malik Heinselman (OSU) | D, 4-0
125 | (4) Malik Heinselman (OSU) def. Devin Garcia (CBU) | Fall, 2:18
125 | (4) Malik Heinselman (OSU) def. Joey Fischer (CLAR) | MD, 12-4
125 | (4) Malik Heinselman (OSU) def. (11) Kase Mauger (UVU) | D, 6-3
125 | (4) Malik Heinselman (OSU) def. (7) Caleb Smith (APP) | D, 14-9
125 | (4) Malik Heinselman (OSU) def. Brett Ungar (CORN) | D, SV-1, 3-1
125 | Brandon Kaylaor (ORST) def. (4) Malik Heinselman (OSU) | D, 3-1
125 | (4) Malik Heinselman (OSU) def. Tanner Jordan (SDSU) | D, 11-5

Dylan Koontz (1-2)
133 | (11) Kai Orine (NCST) def. Dylan Koontz (OSU) | D, 11-4
133 | Dylan Koontz (OSU) def. (7) Boo Dryden (NEB) | D, 6-2
133 | (10) Sean Carter (APP) def. Dylan Koontz (OSU) | D, 7-3

Dylan D’Emilio (4-3/8th)
141 | (6) Dylan D’Emilio (OSU) def. Joseph Cangro (HARV) | D, 8-1
141 | (11) Cael Happel (UNI) def. (6) Dylan D’Emilio (OSU) | D, SV-1 4-2
141 | (6) Dylan D’Emilio (OSU) def. Nick James (UNK) | D, 9-4
141 | (6) Dylan D’Emilio (OSU) def. Kyran Hagan (OHIO) | D, 5-3
141 | (6) Dylan D’Emilio (OSU) def. (1) Cole Mattin (MICH) | D, 6-2
141 | Joshua Koderhandt (NAVY) def. (6) Dylan D’Emilio (OSU) | D, 7-5
141 | (12) Parker Filius (PUR) def. (6) Dylan D’Emilio (OSU) | D, 12-6

Sammy Sasso (5-0/1st)
149 | (1) Sammy Sasso (OSU) def. Kaemen Smith (NAVY) | TF, 23-7 (5:57)
149 | (1) Sammy Sasso (OSU) def. Noah Tolentino (ORST) | Fall, 5:58
149 | (1) Sammy Sasso (OSU) def. (8) Alec Hagan (Ohio) | Fall, 2:51
149 | (1) Sammy Sasso (OSU) def. (4) Yahya Thomas (NW) | D, 8-2
149 | (1) Sammy Sasso (OSU) def. (3) Kyle Parco (ASU) | D, 6-2

Carson Kharchla (3-2/8th)
165 | (1) Carson Kharchla (OSU) def. Bubba Wilson (NEB) | D, 8-2
165 | (1) Carson Kharchla (OSU) def. Aidan Zarrella (SHU) | TF, 17-2
165 | (9) Tanner Cook (SDSU) def. (1) Carson Kharchla (OSU) | Fall, 0:37
165 | (1) Carson Kharchla (OSU) def. (6) Enrique Munguia (Kent) | MD, 17-6
165 | Bubba Wilson (NEB) def. (1) Carson Kharchla (OSU) | MFF

Ethan Smith (2-2)
174 | (4) Ethan Smith (OSU) def. Albert Urias (CSUB) | MD, 12-3
174 | (4) Ethan Smith (OSU) def. Lennox Wolak (COL) | D, 8-6
174 | (5) Christopher Foca (CORN) def. (4) Ethan Smith (OSU) | D, 8-4
174 | Alexander Faison (NCST) def. (4) Ethan Smith (OSU) | MFF

Kaleb Romero (4-2/4th)
184 | (3) Kaleb Romero (OSU) def. Billy Higgins (UNK) | MD, 18-5
184 | (3) Kaleb Romero (OSU) def. Brett McIntosh (WYO) | Fall, 1:36
184 | (3) Kaleb Romero (OSU) def. (6) Hunter Bolen (VT) | D, 3-2
184 | (2) Trent Hidlay (NCST) def. (3) Kaleb Romero (OSU) | D, 4-1
184 | (3) Kaleb Romero (OSU) def. (11) Cade King (SDSU) | MD, 12-3
184 | (6) Hunter Bolen (VT) def. (3) Kaleb Romero (OSU)  | D, SV-1, 3-1

Gavin Hoffman (2-2)
197 | (3) Gavin Hoffman (OSU) def. Tristan Carman (WYO) | Fall, 3:25
197 | (3) Gavin Hoffman (OSU) def. Brendin Yatooma (MICH) | MD, 12-4
197 | (6) Silas Allred (NEB) def. (3) Gavin Hoffman (OSU) | D. 5-2
197 | (8) Evan Bockman (UVU) def. (3) Gavin Hoffman (OSU) | D, 3-2

Tate Orndorff (3-2)
HWT | (5) Tate Orndorff (OSU) def. Tristan Ruhlman (PUR) | Fall, 6:03
HWT | (12) Tyrell Gordon ( UNIA) def. (5) Tate Orndorff (OSU) | D, 3-2
HWT | (5) Tate Orndorff (OSU) def. Jacob Cover (KENT) | Fall, 0:16
HWT | (5) Tate Orndorff (OSU) def. Mason Fiscella (APP) | D, 7-1
HWT | Owen Trephan (NCST) def. (5) Tate Orndorff (OSU) | MFF

UP NEXT
The Buckeyes return to dual competition at the Covelli Center Dec. 11 (1 p.m.) vs. Kent State.

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