Five Ohio State Wrestlers Earn All-American Status, Sammy Sasso to Wrestle for National Title at NCAA Championships

By Chase Brown on March 17, 2023 at 10:52 pm
Sammy Sasso
Ohio State Dept. of Athletics

Update: Sammy Sasso finished as the NCAA runner-up at 149 pounds as he fell to Cornell’s Yianni Diakomihalis, 4-2, in Saturday’s night national championship match. Ohio State finished fourth in the overall team standings behind Penn State, Iowa and Cornell as Ohio State’s Kaleb Romero finished third at 184 pounds, Jesse Mendez finished sixth at 133, Ethan Smith finished seventh at 174 and Dylan D’Emilo finished eighth at 141.

Five Ohio State wrestlers earned All-American status at the NCAA Championships this weekend.

Big Ten champion Sammy Sasso headlined the list of Buckeyes, as the 149-pound wrestler is the lone representative for Ohio State in the championship bracket. Sasso has dominated the field in 2023 and defeated No. 3 Kyle Parco of Arizona State, 14-2, in the semifinal bout. In the finals, he will face No. 1 Yianni Diakomihalis of Cornell, an opponent the Nazareth, Pennsylvania, native has never beaten (0-2) in his decorated college career.

Jesse Mendez (133 pounds), Dylan D'Emilio (141), Ethan Smith (174) and Kaleb Romero (184) also became All-Americans this weekend. Unlike Sasso, however, they accomplished that feat with a blemish on their résumé, as each wrestler suffered a loss in the championship bracket and worked their way back toward the top in consolation matches.

Mendez claimed a victory over Brendan Ferretti of Navy in his initial matchup before losing to No. 4 Michael McGee of Arizona State in the second round. From there, Mendez defeated No. 19 Domenic Zaccone of Campbell, No. 11 Dylan Ragusin of Michigan and No. 10 Lucas Byrd of Illinois to earn All-American status in his true freshman season at Ohio State.

D'Emilio also started his tournament with a victory against a Navy wrestler, with his win coming over Josh Koderhandt. He then lost a narrow 7-5 decision to top-seeded Real Woods of Iowa in the second round. In the consolation bracket, the Curtice, Ohio, native beat No. 15 Tom Crook of Virginia Tech, No. 23 Cole Mattin of Michigan and No. 3 Cole Matthews of Pitt to claim his first All-American honor in his fourth year with the Buckeyes.

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