March 18, 2021

Three Buckeyes on to the NCAA Quarterfinals

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NCAA Championship Site

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

  • R1 | Lost to Robert Howard (Penn State) | D, 6-4
  • R1 | Def. Jackson DiSario (Stanford) | D, 10-3
  • R2 | RayVon Foley (Michigan State) |

141 | Dylan D’Emilio

  • R1 | Lost to Sebastian Rivera (Rutgers) | D, 8-1
  • Con Prelim | Def. Vinny Vespa (Hofstra) | MD, 8-0
  • R1 | Def. Lane Peters (Army West Point) | D, 10-4
  • R2 | Brian Courtney (Virginia) |

149 | Sammy Sasso

  • R1 | Def. Cameron Hunsaker (Utah Valley) | PIN 6:34
  • R2 | Def. Kyle Parco (Fresno State) | D, 11-10
  • QF | Yahya Thomas (Northwestern) |

165 | Ethan Smith

  • R1 | Def. Andrew Nicholson (Chattanooga) | D, 12-5
  • R2 | Def. Travis Wittlake (Oklahoma State) | D, 4-3
  • QF | Anthony Valencia (Arizona State) |

174 | Kaleb Romero

  • R1 | Def. Jackson Turley (Rutgers) | D, 7-2
  • R2 | Def. Peyton Mocco (Missouri) | D, 5-1
  • QF | Demetrius Romero (Utah Valley) |

184 | Rocky Jordan

  • R1 | Lost to Jeremiah Kent (Mizzouri) | PIN 2:15
  • R1 | Def. Matthew Waddell (Chattanooga) | MD, 10-1
  • R2 | Charles Small (Hofstra) |

285 | Tate Orndorff

  • R1 | Def. Christian Lance (Nebraska) | D, 2-1
  • R2 | Lost to Tony Cassioppi (Iowa) | MD, 11-0
  • R2 | Zachary Knighton-Ward (Hofstra) |