Young Bucks: A Season With Ohio State

Young Bucks: A Season With Ohio State (Ep. 6: NCAA Championships)

Young Bucks: A Season With Ohio State (Ep. 6: NCAA Championships)

The final installment of the series following the Ohio State Buckeye wrestling team through the 2022-2023 season, following them in the NCAA Championships.

Nov 27, 2023 by Mark Bader
Young Bucks: A Season With Ohio State (Ep. 6: NCAA Championships)

This final episode of the series culminates with the Buckeyes traveling to Tulsa, OK to compete in the NCAA Championships. 

The 2022-2023 season was a roller-coaster ride for Ohio State as they battled injuries through out the entire season. But they were fully charged headed into the final competition of the season.

After winning NCAA trophies for five straight years, 

Heading into this season, after winning NCAA team trophies for five straight years, Ohio State had not earned one in the last four. Head coach Tom Ryan called out the seniors at the beginning of the season, challenging them to carry their weight in the Buckeye tradition. This would be their final opportunity.

The stakes are always high at the NCAA Wrestling Championships where the success of an entire season is judged based upon the results of one three-day span.

In the ever critical Friday night session, Ohio State moved from 9th place to 4th, a place they kept to the end, earning them a team trophy.

Team leader Sammy Sasso advanced to the championship finals and lost in a match that came down to wire against Yianni Diakomihalis who became just the fifth person ever to win four NCAA titles.

Senior Kaleb Romero also had the best performance of his career and capped his season off with a third place finish.

Freshman sensation Jesse Mendez had a fantastic regular season but suffered three straight losses to finish sixth at the Big Ten Championships, resulting in a 13th seed at NCAA's, much lower than Ohio State had anticipated. But he dug deep and rebounded to earn All-American honors.

Dylan D'Emilio entered the tournament seeded 17th after a hot-and-cold season but wrestled his best when it mattered the most and finished with All-American honors.

Senior Ethan Smith earned a 7th place finish at 174, completing his career as a three time All-American for Ohio State.