ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Three Ohio State wrestlers advanced to the quarterfinals and the Buckeyes notched a total of 11 wins on day one of the 2021 NCAA Wrestling Championships in St. Louis.
Top-seeded Sammy Sasso as well as 7-seeds Ethan Smith and Kaleb Romero all won their first two matches and will wrestle in Friday morning’s quarterfinals. Dylan D’Emilio also won a pair of matches and all seven Buckeyes are still alive after the first day.
As a team, Ohio State register 11 wins and currently sit in 11th place.
At 125 pounds, Malik Heinselman got stuck after a reversal and Robert Howard was able to get four near-fall points. That put Heinselman in a hole that he wasn’t quite able to get out of in a 6-4 opening round loss. He rebounded with a 10-3 win over Stanford’s Jackson DiSario.
Dylan D’Emilio was beaten 8-1 in the opening round by No. 3-seed Sebastian Rivera of Rutgers. He then dropped to the prelim round of the consolations where he topped Hofstra’s Vinny Vespa 8-0. D’Emilio capped the night with a pair of first-period takedowns against Army’s Lane Peters and led from start to finish in a 10-4 victory.
Sasso started his run with a pin of Utah Valley’s Cameron Hunsaker in the third period. His second-round match with Fresno State’s Kyle Parco was just a little closer. Sasso led 5-2 after a couple of takedowns in the first. But a takedown and two near-fall points for Parco in the second flipped the score and Parco led 8-7 headed to the third. In the deciding period, Parco got an escape with :40 left to grab a 10-9 lead but Sasso scored a late takedown to steal the match 11-10.
Ethan Smith had a nice opening win over Chattanooga’s Andrew Nicholson, winning 12-5. Like Sasso, he had a much closer second-round bout. An escape and late takedown in the second period gave Smith a 4-2 advantage over Oklahoma State’s Travis Wittlake. In the third, Wittlake was only able to muster an escape and Smith held on for the 4-3 win.
Kaleb Romero looked extremely focused in his first match against Jackson Turley of Rutgers. He advanced with a solid 7-2 win. In the second round against Missouri’s Peyton Mocco, Romero scored takedowns in the first and second periods and then added an escape point in the third for a 5-1 victory.
Rocky Jordan rebounded from an opening fall to dominate Chattanooga’s Matthew Waddell 10-1 in the first round of the consolation bracket.
Tate Orndorff opened his NCAA Championship with a 2-1 win over Nebraska’s Christian Lance. He ran into Iowa’s Tony Cassioppi in the second round and Cassioppi has had his number this season. The 11-0 in Thursday’s evening sessions was Cassioppi’s third win over Orndorff this year.
125 | Malik Heinselman
141 | Dylan D’Emilio
149 | Sammy Sasso
165 | Ethan Smith
174 | Kaleb Romero
184 | Rocky Jordan
285 | Tate Orndorff