Wrestling: Buckeyes look for 3-peat at Cliff Keen Las Vegas Wrestling Invitational - A Preview

Curt Heinrichs's picture
December 5, 2013 at 1:02p
8 Comments

Preview by Curt Heinrichs

 

Ian Paddock will represent the Buckeyes at 149 lbs this weekend for the Buckeyes

 

The Buckeyes travel west this week to take on some of the toughest competition in the country at this weekend’s Cliff Keen Las Vegas Wrestling Invitational. The Buckeyes return as two-time defending champs of the tournament, but will be hard-pressed to win this year as there are a number of elite teams in the hunt, including an Oklahoma squad that is loaded for bear and should be among the favorites to hoist the NCAA team championship in March. The seed meeting is taking place on Thursday evening, so I’m just going to preview the tournament with my best guesses as to who is going to be at what weight. Additionally, I should let you know that I quickly looked at Intermat’s rankings and noted which ranked wrestlers will be in each weight class. If I missed anyone, I’ll offer the necessary apologies (which are probably none). 

 

125 lbs

Representing the Buckeyes at 125 lbs will be redshirt freshman Nick Roberts, who’s currently riding a 6 match winning streak. With a record of 14-2, I was a bit surprised to note that Roberts isn’t currently ranked in the top 25, but a strong showing this weekend may change that. Roberts isn’t likely to find the top of the podium this weekend as the competition at 125 is probably the deepest in the tournament with 9 ranked wrestlers in the field, with 5 of them in the top 10. Cornell’s Nahshon Garrett is the prohibitive favorite, but Jarrod Patterson of Oklahoma and Tyler Cox of Wyoming should also place high.

133 lbs

At 133 lbs, #16 ranked Johnni DiJulius will look to improve upon his 4th place finish from 2 years ago. 133 is a fairly wide-open weight with only 6 ranked wrestlers and none really with much dominance over the field. Joe Colon of Northern Iowa is the top ranked wrestler in the field at #4, but he will likely be challenged by Mark Grey of Cornell (my darkhorse pick to win), Cody Brewer of Oklahoma, and JDJ himself. Johnni is on a bit of a tear, having won 6 straight.

141 lbs

At 141 lbs, Logan Stieber returns to Vegas having won the tournament twice before. He’ll face a stiff test, primarily from Devin Carter of Virginia Tech, who is currently ranked #3 in the country. Carter is coming off of a redshirt season and has only one win this season that isn’t by bonus points. Carter is 9-0 on the year and has 6 falls, a tech fall, and a major decision to go with his latest decision victory. Joey Lazor (great wrestling name greatest wrestling name?) of Northern Iowa and Mike Nevinger of Cornell should also contest for the title, but in all honesty this is a two horse race between Stieber and the powerful Carter.

149 lbs

Ian Paddock of the Buckeyes will take on another unbelievably deep field when he wrestles at 149 lbs. At a glance, this is probably the most unpredictable weight class in the field with at least 4 leading candidates to win the tournament. Kendric Maple of Oklahoma slipped up earlier in the season and has fallen to #5 in the rankings. He should be the favorite, but has lost a pair of matches this year after going undefeated last season and hasn’t looked quite like himself at times this season. Other favorites include Jake Sueflohn of Nebraska, who at #6 in the rankings has been a thorn in the side of Buckeye wrestlers. Eric Grajales of Michigan is ranked #7 and is absolutely unpredictable when he steps on the mat; he has proven to be among the best wrestlers in the country, but often loses winnable matches, including one to Paddock at last year’s Big Ten tournament. Also a candidate for being a finalist is Oregon State’s Scott Sakaguchi, who is currently ranked #8. Of note in the tournament and likely to place are Ohioans Gus Sako of Virginia (St. Edward HS) and Zach Neibert of Virginia Tech (Graham HS).

157 lbs

At 157 lbs, Randy Languis totes his 7-3 record into action in what is another race without a clear favorite. James Green of Nebraska is ranked #4, but is a streaky wrestler at times despite a pair of All-American finishes at the NCAA tournament. RJ Pena of Oregon State, ranked #6 is also unpredictable and has a loss to an unranked wrestler for his only defeat of the season. In an anticipated field with 7 ranked wrestlers, no real top candidate for a title stands out, so Languis could find himself on the podium on Saturday if he wrestles well.

165 lbs

At 165 lbs, junior Joe Grandominico finds himself in another Wild West weight class. #3 Nick Sulzer of Virginia (and St. Ed’s for his high school career) and Michael Moreno of Iowa State find themselves with the best chances of winning the tournament, but some favorable seeding could give Grandominico some hope at placing. Dan Yates of Michigan is also in the field and is ranked at #8.

174 lbs

Buckeye Mark Martin finds himself in a weight class with former two time NCAA finalist and Olympic hopeful, so the odds of him walking away with the CKLV title are not great. In addition to the aforementioned Andrew Howe, Robert Kokesh of Nebraska is also in the weight class and is ranked #4 in the country. Beyond those two, Martin is among 7 other ranked wrestlers and will need to wrestle his best to find the podium.

184 lbs

#9 Kenny Courts is the 3rd Buckeye wrestler to this point that is ranked by Intermat, and could make some waves at 184 lbs this weekend. Also wrestling at 184 lbs are Ryan Loder (#4 from Northern Iowa), Jake Swartz of Boise State (#5), and Boaz Beard of Iowa State (#7). Max Huntley of Michigan rounds out the top ten and is wrestling well this season. Courts has proven to be an explosive wrestler and creates a great deal of problems for many wrestlers, so he has an outstanding chance at placement this weekend.

197 lbs

Senior Nick Heflin faces a tough field, which is nothing new to Heflin, who fought off some of the top competition in the country last year at 174 lbs in the Big Ten. Taylor Meeks of Oregon State was recently overtaken for the #1 spot, but still has the ability to win the tournament, as does Kyven Gadson of Iowa State (#3). Former Wisconsin Badger Travis Rutt (#6, Oklahoma) finds himself again in the top 10 and owns a major decision over Blake Rosholt of Oklahoma State. Heflin’s style negates the offense of most opponents, so his matches are always tough to predict. Regardless of his unpredictable finish, it’s almost a certainty that Heflin will place based on his wealth of experience in finding a way to win with the match on the line.

Heavyweight

Heavyweight Nick Tavanello faces some stiff competition when he locks horns with the heavyweights at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Wrestling Invitational. Tavanello has won his last 3 heading into the tournament and boasts a record of 12-4 on the year. The odds on favorite at a glance would have to be NC State’s Nick Gwiazdowski, who is currently ranked #3 in the country. Gwiazdowski placed 8th at the NCAA tournament as a freshman and has a 9-0 win over 2 time NCAA champ Tony Nelson and a 6-4 win later in the day this summer at the Senior Nationals freestyle tournament. JT Felix of Boise State (#5) and Ohio native Ty Walz (#12 from St. Ed’s) from Virginia Tech should also be in the running for the title. Back in the pack is highly-touted recruit Adam Coon (#19) of Michigan, who was one of the most sought-after wrestlers in the country a year ago. If Coon lives up to the hype surrounding him, he ought to perform well here. While unranked, Tavanello stands a chance at placement because of the unpredictable nature of heavyweight bouts. Often ending with a low score, heavyweight matches can often be decided by a takedown on the edge or a rideout late in the match, two things that Tavanello does well.


Team Outlook

The Buckeyes will need lots of secondary points if they hope to win a 3rd straight title. Coach Ryan will look to guys like Logan Stieber and Nick Heflin to score consistently in the championship bracket, and other Buckeyes will need to score points if they hope to finish well as a team. Stieber is likely a finalist and should take 1st place. He’s usually good for lots of bonus points, which could factor into the team score. Heflin, DiJulius, and Courts all look like place winners on paper, but will need to win consistently. Nick Roberts can really make a name for himself with a good showing as the competition is tough at 125.

Outside of the Buckeyes, Oklahoma looks to be the heavy favorite. Maple and Howe ought to win the title and guys like Patterson, Brewer, and Rutt should place in the top 4 or so. Virginia Tech, Cornell, and Nebraska could each have multiple finalists and all have strong teams.

The action will begin tomorrow afternoon and will wrap up on Saturday evening. Those interested can watch the action (for a fee) on FloWrestling. Stay tuned to Eleven Warriors and follow me on Twitter for updates on the action this weekend.

Comments

Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

It may not generate a lot of discussion but there a number of former wrestlers (and other fans) here who appreciate your updates on the team. Thank you!

Defiance J's picture

Agree with Scarlet. Thanks.

DeuceOSU78's picture

Thanks Curt - always appreciated!

DeuceOSU78

Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

Results as of this afternoon (the numbers are the seed):
 
125
Nick Roberts over 6 Tim Lambert (Neb) 5-4
Nick Roberts over 11 Camden Eppert (Purdue) 4-1
Nick Roberts vs 3 Tyler Cox (Wyo)
133
4 Johnni DiJulius over Isaiah Hurtado (SF St) 8-5
4 Johnni DiJulius over Jose Mendoza (CS Bakersfield) 6-2
4 Johnni DiJulius vs 5 Rosario Bruno (TSUN)
141
1 Logan Stieber over Ian Nickell (CS Bakersfield) 13-3
1 Logan Stieber over Bradford Gerl (Cal Baptist) F 2:00
1 Logan Stieber vs 8 Danny Sabatello (Purdue)
149
7 Ian Paddock over Mark Marchetti (Army) 14-5
7 Ian Paddock over 10 Brandon Nelson (Purdue) 13-8
7 Ian Paddoc vs 2 Jake Sueflohn (Neb)
157
Randall Languis over Brady Bersano (Cal Baptist) 4-3
1 James Green (Neb) over Randall Languis 21-8
Randall Languis over Nick Terdick (Hof) 3-2
Randall Languis vs 8 Anthony Perotti (Rut)
165
Joe Grandominico over Giuseppi Lanzi (Brown) F 4:38
2 Nicholas Sulzer (Virginia) over Joe Grandominico 5-2
Coleman Gracey (Army) over Joe Grandominico 8-2
174
Mark Martin over David Irish (Cal Baptist) F 6:14
1 Andrew Howe (OK) over Mark Martin 16-6
Mark Martin over Patrick Kissel (Purdue) med
Mark Martin vs 8 Dominic Kastl (Cal Poly)
184
2 Kenny Courts over Zachariah Jimenez (SF St) 16-1 5:00
2 Kenny Courts over Ryan Tompkins (Army) 10-2
2 Kenny Courts vs 7 Timothy Dudley (Neb)
197
3 Nick Heflin over Ruben Franklin (CS Bakersfield) 8-1
3 Nick Heflin over Hayden Hrymack (Rutgers) 6-0
3 Nick Heflin vs 6 Braden Atwood (Purdue)
285
11 Nick Tavanello over Sam Cervantes (CS Bakersfield) 8-5; sv
11 Nick Tavanello over 6 Daniel Gusev (ASU) 8-0
11 Nick Tavanello vs Ethan Hayes (Virgnia)
Team Scores:
1  TSUN  37.5  5, 3
2  Northern Iowa  36.0  4, 5
3  Nebraska  35.5  7, 1
4  Ohio State  32.5  7, 2
5  Cornell  32.0  6, 2
6  Oklahoma  31.5  7, 2
7  Virginia Tech  28.5  4, 3
8  Navy  28.0  3, 3
9  Hofstra  27.0  4, 3
10  Virginia  26.5  5, 2
The numbers after the team scores represent how many wrestlers each school has still active in the championship & consolation brackets. For example 7, 2 means Ohio State still has 7 wrestlers in the championship bracket & 2 alive in the consolations.

Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

After Friday's late session:
 
125
3 Tyler Cox (Wyo) over Nick Roberts F 6:09
Nick Roberts vs 8 Joey Dance (VPI)
133
4 Johnni DiJulius over 5 Rosario Bruno (TSUN) 6-5
4 Johnni DiJulius vs 1 Joe Colon (N. Iowa)
141
1 Logan Stieber over 8 Danny Sabatello (Purdue) F 0:44
1 Logan Stieber vs 5 Nick Lester (Okl)
149
2 Jake Sueflohn (Neb) over 7 Ian Paddock 10-2
7 Ian Paddock vs 11 Brandon Richardson (Wyo)
157
Randall Languis over 8 Anthony Perotti (Rut) 5-1
Randall Languis vs 6 Justin DeAngelis (Okl)
165
-
174
Mark Martin over 8 Dominic Kastl (Cal Poly) 3-1
Mark Martin vs 7 Lelund Weatherspoon (ISU)
184
7 Timothy Dudley (Neb) over 2 Kenny Courts 9-8
2 Kenny Courts vs Devin Hightower (Air Force)
197
3 Nick Heflin over 6 Braden Atwood (Purdue) 6-3
3 Nick Heflin vs 2 Travis Rutt (Okl)
285
Ethan Hayes (Virgnia) over 11 Nick Tavanello 3-2
11 Nick Tavanello vs 9 Stryker Lane (Cornell)
1  Oklahoma  84.5  6, 3
2  Nebraska  75.0  5, 3
3  Michigan  72.5  4, 3
4  Cornell  68.5  5, 2
5  Northern Iowa  61.5  3, 4
6  Ohio State  55.5  3, 6
6  Virginia  55.5  4, 2
8  Wyoming  45.0  2, 4
9  Virginia Tech  37.5  1, 6
10  Boise State  33.5  2, 1
 

Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

Morning sessions results as of 11:40 AM
 
125
Nick Roberts over 8 Joey Dance (VPI) 4-0
5 Josh Martinez (Air Force) over Nick Roberts 7-3
Nick Roberts vs 12 Earl Hall (ISU) - for 7th place
133
4 Johnni DiJulius over 1 Joe Colon (N. Iowa) 6-2 - HUGE win for Johnni
4 Johnni DiJulius vs 2 Cody Brewer (Okl)
141
1 Logan Stieber over 5 Nick Lester (Okl) F 2:22
1 Logan Stieber vs 6 Anthony Abidin (Neb) - Abidin advanced over #2 Devin Carter due to medical default
149
7 Ian Paddock over 11 Brandon Richardson (Wyo) 6-1
7 Ian Paddock over Brian Hamann (NC St) 7-0
7 Ian Paddock vs 5 Christopher Villalonga (Cornell)
157
Randall Languis over 6 Justin DeAngelis (Okl) 5-3
2 Roger Pena (Oregon St) over Randall Languis F 2:59
Randall Naguis vs 10 Roberty Burg (Navy) - for 7th place
165
-
174
7 Lelund Weatherspoon (ISU) over Mark Martin 4-2
184
2 Kenny Courts over Devin Hightower (Air Force) 16-0; 5:59
2 Kenny Courts over 8 Tanner Weatherman (ISU) 13-6
2 Kenny Courts vs 1 Jacob Swartz (BSU)
197
2 Travis Rutt (Okl) over 3 Nick Heflin medical default
3 Nick Heflin vs Cody Dixon (BSU)
285
11 Nick Tavanello over 9 Stryker Lane (Cornell) 5-2
5 Ross Larson (Okl) over 11 Nick Tavanello F 3:26
11 Nick Tavanello vs 7 William Smith (Rutgers) - for 7th place

1  Oklahoma  133.5  5, 2
2  Nebraska  125.5  5, 2
3  Cornell  98.5  3, 3
4  Ohio State  97.5  2, 6
5  Michigan  86.0  1, 5
6  Northern Iowa  65.0  -  4
7  Virginia  62.5  2, 2
8  Iowa State  57.5  1, 4
9  Virginia Tech  51.5  -  4
10  North Carolina State  50.0  -  3

Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

DiJulius is the 133lb champion with a fall over 2 seed Cody Brewer in 44 sec!

Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

Logan Stieber is the 141lb champ.
The match was stopped at 2:06 with a technical fall 16-1 over 6 seed Tony Abidin from Nebreska.