Wrestling: Four Buckeyes Advance to Quarterfinals As Gavin Hoffman Goes Off

By Andy Vance on March 17, 2022 at 11:18 pm
Gavin Hoffman
Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

It was a mixed bag for Ohio State on Day One of the NCAA Wrestling Championships.

Opening round losses by Malik Heinselman and Dylan D'Emilio in the first two Ohio State matches of the day didn't bode well for the Buckeyes, but the men in scarlet singlets would go on to win seven of eight matches Thursday evening in Session II.

Sammy Sasso, Carson Kharchla, Kaleb Romero, Gavin Hoffman and Tate Orndorff each won their opening matches, with Hoffman notching a major upset as the 21 seed in the tournament at 197 pounds. Ethan Smith dropped his first match of the day in a stunner, as the returning All American appeared to be in good shape to make a deep run in the tournament, which he'll now attempt from the consolation bracket.

All three Buckeyes who dropped first-round matches Thursday morning, including Heinselman at 125, D’Emilio at 141, and Smith at 174, won in the consolation round Thursday night, and remain in the hunt for All America honors. Tate Orndorff lost his Round of 32 bout against one-time Buckeye commit Greg Kerkvliet, and will continue in the wrestlebacks Friday.

Hoffman was the story of the day, as both of his wins came against highly-seeded wrestlers: No. 12 Tanner Sloan of South Dakota State, and No. 5 Nino Bonaccorsi of Pitt. For a first-time NCAA tournament qualifier, he wrestled like a savvy veteran, making the most of his opportunity and showing why he was such a sought-after recruit in high school.

All eight Buckeyes are in contention for All America honors, but there are a few tough matches in Friday morning's offering. D'Emilio faces No. 2 Jaydin Eierman of Iowa, Kharchla will meet No. 2 Keegan O’Toole of Missouri, and Romero draws No. 2 Aaron Brooks of Penn State.

The third session of the 2022 NCAA Championships begins Friday at 11 a.m. The quarterfinals and wrestlebacks are televised on ESPNU and WatchESPN. 

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