InterMat named Ohio State 149-pounder Sammy Sasso its Freshman of the Year after the Nazareth, Penn., native finished the season with an impressive 24-3 record and No. 3 in the country.
Considered a legitimate title contender as the No. 3 seed in the coronavirus-cancelled NCAA tournament, Sasso spent the latter weeks of the season as the top-ranked wrestler in the class after upending Iowa's then-top-ranked Pat Lugo in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
By the Numbers
- 24-3 Overall Record
- 9-0 in Big Ten duals
- 10-3 vs. Top 25
- 5 wins by FALL
- 4 Tech Falls
- 4 Major Decisions
Sasso edged two Stanford wrestlers and former Ohio high school wrestler David Carr in InterMat's voting.
Sasso received four first-place votes (out of ten) from the InterMat staff, for a total of 60 points to put him No. 1 in this year's InterMat Freshman of the Year voting. In second place was Shane Griffith of Stanford, who was the top choice among three InterMat staffers, earning a total of 53 points. Two other freshmen who earned at least one first-place vote: David Carr of Iowa State, taking fourth place with 45 points, including two first-place votes ... while Stanford's Real Woods received one first-place vote, for a total of 25 points.
During his shortened 2019-20 season, Sasso built an impressive overall record of 24-3. In the win category, Sasso notched 13 regular-season victories and a 9-0 record in Big Ten competition. The Buckeye 149-pounder scored five pins, four wins by major decision, and four technical fall victories. He defeated Iowa's Pat Lugo on Jan. 24 in a dual meet, giving the Hawkeye All-American his only loss of the season.
.As for Sasso's losses ... two were during the regular season (to Minnesota's Brayton Lee by decision and Virginia Tech's Brent Moore by fall) with the third loss coming in the 2020 Big Ten finals to Lugo, 2-1.
The win over Brayton Lee came the same weekend as his victory over Lugo in Iowa City. The back-to-back road wins over two of the best in the class propelled Sasso to No. 1 in the rankings.
Sasso came to Columbus with high expectations as one of the top recruits in the country, and delivered in a big way. While one of his matches versus Lugo and two of his Big Ten tournament bouts went to extra innings, nearly half of his matches ended a major decision or better in his favor.
He is the second Buckeye to be named Freshman of the Year by InterMat in the 15-year history of the award. Living legend Logan Stieber received the award in 2012 after winning the first of his four NCAA titles.