Sammy Sasso becomes 35th different Ohio State wrestler to win a Big Ten title
The No. 3 Buckeyes will play Boston College in the NCAA tournament March 16.
Sammy Sasso became Ohio State’s 35th different Big Ten wrestling champion on Sunday when he defeated Ridge Lovett of Nebraska 5-2 in the 149-point title match at the conference tournament in State College, Pennsylvania.
A redshirt sophomore from Nazareth, Pennsylvania, Sasso improved to 12-0 on the season to help the Buckeyes’ program win its 56th individual Big Ten title. He has been ranked No. 2 nationally at 149 pounds all season.
“I love this program and I love everybody in it,” Sasso said after his win. “I'm going to keep trying to do my best to start a new legacy here Ohio State. I want to start winning team titles and I want to try and get young savages from high school to come be a part of this, because we have something special here at Ohio State.”
Sasso will next wrestle in the NCAA meet, on March 18-20 in St. Louis. He will be joined there by four OSU teammates, four of whom placed among the top six in the Big Tens.
Ethan Smith finished second at 165 pounds after a 3-2 loss to Alex Marinelli, ranked first in the Big Ten and nationally in his weight class.
Also, Malik Heinselman finished fourth in the 125-pound class, Kaleb Romero took fifth at 174 and Tate Orndorff was sixth at heavyweight.
Ohio State finished ninth in the team standings with 69.5 points. Iowa won its second straight team title and 37th overall with 159.5 points, 35.5 more than host Penn State.
Ohio State lost 3-2 in overtime to Wisconsin in the WCHA Final Faceoff on Sunday in Minneapolis, then learned a while later it would be the No. 3 overall seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament.
The Buckeyes (12-5-1) open play against sixth-seeded Boston College in a national quarterfinal at 7 p.m. March 16 in Erie, Pennsylvania. If they win, they could get a rematch with second-seeded Wisconsin (14-3-1), which meets Providence in a quarterfinal.
On Sunday against the Badgers, Ohio State twice fell behind, but got tying goals from Jenn Gardiner and Sophie Jaques to force overtime.
Just 42 seconds into the extra session, however, Lacey Eden of Wisconsin scored the game-winner past goaltender Andrea Braendli when Ohio State twice was unable to clear the defensive zone.
"It's a heartbreaker, the way you lose in overtime like that," OSU coach Nadine Muzerall said.
The Buckeyes played most of the game without top-line center Liz Schepers, who was injured in the first period.