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Cliff Keen Invitational Preview

It's December! We have already had some great action in what is going to be a very memorable season. It's hard to believe we have barely begun. This week the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Collegiate Wrestling Invitational will be held on Friday & Saturday giving us some amazing matchups. It's truly the best tournament of the year so far, and the teams represented promise some great wrestling and loaded brackets. Sure there will be some guys held out with early season injuries, but there will be enough teams for awesome action led by Minnesota, Ohio State, Michigan, Cornell, Nebraska, Virginia, Virginia Tech, West Virginia and many more. 

125- #2 Nashon Garrett (Cornell) leads a talented field. #4 Joey Dance (Virginia Tech) and #11 Nathan Tomasello (Ohio State) could have a rematch already. Nobody should sleep on #8 Josh Martinez (Air Force). Also throw in funky #20 Zeke Moisey (West Virginia), #10 Tim Lambert (Nebraska) and who knows what the heck #16 Sam Brancale (Minnesota) will do. 

133- #2 Chris Dardanes (Minnesota) will have great competition from #6 Johnni DiJulius (Ohio State), #9 Rossi Bruno (Michigan), #11 Earl Hall (Iowa State), and #13 George DiCamillo (Virginia).

141- This could actually be 4 out of the top 5 ranked guys! #1 Logan Stieber (Ohio State), #3 Devin Carter (Virginia Tech), #4 Nick Dardanes (Minnesota), and #5 Stephen Dutton (Michigan). We could also see #8 Joe Spisak (Virginia), #10 Mark Grey (Cornell), #11 Todd Preston (Harvard),  #13 Anthony Abidin (Nebraska),  #14 Anthony Ashnault (Rutgers), and #15 Jamel Hudson (Hofstra). Talk about loaded. 

149- Without #2 Hunter Stieber (Ohio State) this bracket could be rather wide open. #6 Chris Villalonga (Cornell), #8 Gus Sako (Virginia), and #10 Sal Mastriani (Virginia Tech) lead the field.

157- Duck and cover! This is where the fur will fly. #1 Dylan Ness (Minnesota) and #2 James Green (Nebraska) could be in the same bracket since the fateful roll in the NCAA quarterfinals. As exciting as this is, let's throw in #4 Brian Realbuto (Cornell), #5 Nick Brascetta (Virginia Tech), #6 Josh Demas (Ohio State) , #8 Anthony Perrotti (Rutgers), and #9 Brian Murphy (Michigan). 

165- This weight also looks loaded, but what else is new. #2 Nick Sulzer (Virginia) could really make a big statement about his ranking by surviving a bracket of #3 Michael Moreno (Iowa State) fresh off a big win over Nick Moore (Iowa), #4 Dylan Palacio (Cornell), #8 Taylor Massa (Michigan) and pinning machine #9 Taylor Walsh (Indiana). I really love this bracket since all these guys mentioned have a lot to prove, and the ability to essentially win the #2 ranking in a weight class that graduated a lot last year. (note that Ohio State's Bo Jordan is not expected back from injury yet) 


174- #1 Logan Storley (Minnesota) beat #2 Robert Kokesh (Nebraska) in the 3rd and 4th place match last year in the NCAA's. Even though #6 Tanner Weatherman (Iowa State), #7 Blaise Butler (Virginia), and #8 Zach Epperly (Virginia Tech) are expected to compete, but all eyes will be on the top 2 in the land to collide. It'll be interesting to see how #18 Davonte Mahomes (Michigan) will do since he hasn't lost yet in his college career. 

184- I remember texting each other about how Gabe Dean (Cornell) had won this tournament last year. It was really Dean's 1st big splash last year. He looks to defend his title and #1 ranking from #7 Domenic Abounader (Michigan), #8 Kenny Courts (Ohio State), #9 Blake Stauffer (Arizona State), #10 Taylor Meeks (Oregon State), and #14 TJ Dudley (Nebraska).

197- #1 Scott Schiller (Minnesota) was the only person to beat #3 Kyven Gadson (Iowa State) last season. Can Gadson solve the riddle? Perhaps, but he may not get the chance. Freshman phenom #7 Kyle Snyder (Ohio State) has yet to lose in college and looks to pass his biggest test so far. Coming out on top of this bracket would be a gigantic statement. Also involved will be #8 Zach Nye (Virginia) and #14 Max Huntley (Michigan).

285- Last year Adam Coon (Michigan) defeated Nick Gwiazdowski (NC State) in overtime in this tournament as the 8 seed beating the 1 seed. Coon won the tournament and only lost once in the regular season. Of course, Gwiazdowski went on to win the National Championship. This could be an interesting rematch. The bracket could also feature #9 Billy Smith (Rutgers), #10 Adam Fager (Utah Valley), #12 Ty Walz, #13 Nick Tavanello (Ohio State), and #15 Joe Stolfi (Bucknell). 

Teams attending this year:

Air Force
American University
Arizona State University
Boise State University
Brown University
Cal Poly
Cal State Bakersfield
California Baptist University
Colorado State University Pueblo
Cornell University
Grand Canyon University
Harvard University
Iowa State
University of Michigan
NC State
Northern Colorado
Northern Iowa
North Dakota State
North Idaho College
Ohio State University
Oregon State
Rutgers University
San Francisco State University
Utah Valley University
Virginia Tech
Western State Colorado University
West Virginia
Western Wyoming