Sasso named InterMat Freshman of the Year

Sammy Sasso compiled a record of 24-3 as a freshman (Photo/Sam Janicki,

Sammy Sasso, Ohio State redshirt freshman originally from Pennsylvania, has been named 2020 InterMat Freshman of the Year, the amateur wrestling website announced on Thursday.

This award, presented each year since 2006 to the best college freshman wrestler in all divisions for his/her college wrestling performance during the 2019-2020 season, is based exclusively on the balloting of writers at InterMat. Each writer is asked to select five freshman wrestlers and rank them from first to fifth. Point values are assigned to each placement, ranging from one point to a wrestler listed fifth on a voter's ballot, up to nine points for a first-place vote.

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.

Thanks to his performance as a redshirt freshman during 2019-20 season, Sasso found himself in the upper reaches of the InterMat college rankings at 149 pounds for much of the season, most recently residing in the top spot for a number of weeks, then concluding the shortened season ranked No. 3 immediately after the 2020 Big Ten Championships.

Prior to coming to Ohio State, the native of Nazareth, Pa was a two-time Pennsylvania AAA state champion for the Nazareth Blue Eagles, placing within the top three all four seasons. Sasso compiled an overall prep record of 180-11.

In the 15-year history of InterMat Freshman of the Year balloting, Sammy Sasso is the second Ohio State wrestler to have earned the honor, joining Buckeye mat great Logan Stieber, who received the award in 2012.

2020 InterMat Freshman of the Year Voting Results
1st-5th Place Votes: 9-7-5-3-1
Total Votes/(First-Place Votes)

1. Sammy Sasso, Ohio State 60 (4)
2. Shane Griffith, Stanford 53 (3)
3. Aaron Brooks, Penn State 48
4. David Carr, Iowa State 45 (2)
5. Real Woods, Stanford 25 (1)
6. Tony Cassioppi, Iowa 14
7. Travis Wittlake, Oklahoma State 3
8. Brayton Lee, Minnesota 2

InterMat Freshman of the Year Past Winners

2019: Mekhi Lewis, Virginia Tech
2018: Spencer Lee, Iowa
2017: Mark Hall, Penn State
2016: Jason Nolf, Penn State
2015: Isaiah Martinez, Illinois
2014: Jason Tsirtsis, Northwestern
2013: Alex Dieringer, Oklahoma State
2012: Logan Stieber, Ohio State
2011: David Taylor, Penn State
2010: Kyle Dake, Cornell
2009: Andrew Howe, Wisconsin
2008: Mike Grey, Cornell
2007: Jake Varner, Iowa State
2006: Dustin Schlatter, Minnesota


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dbestsport (2) about 8 months ago
Should have been Griffith.
What more could you do this year than be an undefeated Conference champ.
Big 10 bias.
DHeidtke (2) about 8 months ago
I believe it should have been Brooks. I'm a huge tOSU fan but Sasso did not win the BIG 10 title. Brooks was 15-1, and he revenged his loss by pinning Venz and then he was PSU's first true freshman to win a BIG 10 title.
ban basketball (1) about 8 months ago
Only problem with Brooks as the choice would be that the rassslin world knew that he was going to get a good ol' fashioned spanking from Taylor Lujan at the Big Dance. The powers that be foresaw that, which is why he didn't even make the final choices on ballots.
DannyClarke (2) about 8 months ago
Has 3 losses and didnt win his conference. Wins Intermat Freshman of the year.

Griffin goes undefeated and win's Pac-12s
Brooks goes 15-1 avenges his only loss and wins Big10s.
I believe Carr and Woods won their conferences as well?
Sasso had a great season but I don't understand anyone's vote for Sasso over some of the other candidates.
DannyClarke (2) about 8 months ago
The more I think about this the more it makes 0 sense to give it to sasso.

Sasso: 3 losses. Big10 runner up. 1 loss to unranked Brent Moore. Moore might've been ranked at the time but outside the top 15 definitely outside top 10. 149 weight class at Big10s wasn't that deep. Lugo is the only returning All American (1x AA) and he lost to him and didnt win his conf.

Griffin: 0 losses. Pac12 champ. Beat a top 8 ranked, returning All American in the finals.

Brooks: 1 loss (All American Venz). Big10 champ. Avenges his only loss.

Woods: 1 loss (#1 Pletcher), Pac 12 champ

Carr: 1 loss (#1 Deakin) Big12 Champ

They all have wins over opponents ranked in the top 8. Only one of them has a loss to an unranked opponent. They all have less losses than Sasso. And they all won their conferences.. which Sasso did not. SO if we are basing this on record, strength of schedule or conference placement... Sasso aint the guy.
mzendars (2) about 8 months ago
Totally agree with dannyclark. Didn't see the pac-12 kids this year but their records look good. Brooks and Carr in much better conferences. These two should have been 1 and 2.