Cliff Keen Invitational (Seeds, not rankings, in parentheses)
Kind of...: Six B1G schools participated and I can’t do justice to every wrestler, so, just assume anybody not mentioned pretty much wrestled to seed and focus on the following:
125: #3 Malik Heinselman (OSU) suffered a minor upset in quarters and MFF’d out; #2 Devin Schroder (PUR) reached finals, but was annihilated by Patrick Glory (Princeton) 13-0. #4 Jack Medley (Mich) took 4th and is headed to the bench as soon as Nick Suriano is ready to go.
133: #3 Dylan Ragusin (Mich) upset #1 Chris Cannon (NW) for the title. Ragusin has a ton of potential and, pending Stevan Micic’s status, no guaranteed spot in the lineup. Weak weight for B1G schools at CKLV.
141: Top two seeds made finals, neither from B1G school. #1 Carlson (S. Dakota State) knocked off #2 Alirez (N. Colorado). #3 Chad Red (Neb) gave up a late takedown to Alirez in the semis, and took 3rd, defeating unseeded Cole Mattin (Mich), who made a nice run through the consolation bracket. #6 Dylan D’Emilio (OSU) gave Red a tough match in the quarters, but then ended up not placing.
149: #1 Yianni Diakomihalis (Cornell) defeated #2 Sammy Sasso (OSU) in the title match to win what was probably the most anticipated weight. Yianni actually got a tougher challenge from #5 Ridge Lovett (Neb) in the semis, with each scoring a reversal in the 3rd period, and Yianni pulling out a takedown in a scramble situation in sudden victory. Sasso was also pushed in his semi, by #3 Yahya Thomas (NW). 149 is a live weight in the B1G this year.
157: #1 Ryan Deakin (NW) looked really sharp in winning the title, defeating #2 Quincy Monday (Princeton) 8-3 after pinning #4 Kendall Coleman (PUR) in the semis. #7 Will Lewan (Mich) took 4th and #3 Peyton Robb (Neb) MFF’d out after dropping his semi to Monday.
165: #1 Evan Wick (Cal Poly) knocked off defending national champ #2 Shane Griffith (Stanford) to take the title. #4 Cameron Amine (Michigan) made the semis before settling for 5th. #3 Carson Kharchla (OSU) took 3rd place and gave Griffith all he could handle in the semis, grabbing a first period takedown. However, Griffith rode Kharchla for almost the entire third period and the riding time point made the difference.
174: Pretty chalky, but still exciting. #1 Mikey Labriola (Neb) won the title over #2 Ethan Smith (OSU) 7-5 in sudden victory. Smith took a 5-3 lead on a reversal in the second, but two Labriola escapes were the only scores from there until SV. Labriola won on a takedown about 30 seconds into extra time.
184: #5 Kaleb Romero (OSU) upset #1 Tate Samuelson (Wyo) in the semis and then knocked off #2 Taylor Venz (Neb) to win the title. Romero bumped up from 174, and is not your typical 5-seed (indeed, at Intermat he went from unranked to #10 this week).
197: #4 Eric Schultz (Neb) scored the minor upset of #1 Jake Woodley of Oklahoma to make the finals, but was tripped up by #3 Stephen Buchanan (Wyo) in the title match as a late second period takedown seemed to destroy Schultz's momentum. Buchanan made the final by beating #2 Patrick Brucki (Mich) 2-1 in the semis with all the scoring coming on escapes, including one in the first period coming out of injury time. Scintillating. Shoutout to #6 Thomas Penola for snagging 3rd place. Trailing Woodley 5-1 in the second, he got a late takedown and two NF points. A third period escape provided the margin of victory.
HWT: “Gas tank” Gary Traub, the #10-seed, won the whole damn thing. The championship match was anticlimactic as Harvard’s Yaraslav Slavikouski injury defaulted nine seconds in. Traub upset #3 Christian Lance (Neb) in the semis and #1 Tate Orndorff (OSU) fell in the other semi.
Nebraska won the team competition, outpacing Ohio State and Michigan. Northwestern tied for fourth, and Purdue took sixth. Minnesota, who only sent a partial squad, was way back and didn’t have anybody place higher than sixth.
Michigan State Spartans defeat Lock Haven, Bucknell
Atinat: Okay, I’m going to try to review this as succinctly as I previewed it. There was one ranked bout between the two duals, where #22 Chase Saldate defeated #33 Ben Barton of Lock Haven 8-5. Michigan State won just five matches against Lock Haven, taking the dual 19-17 thanks to a Layne Malczewski pin (and majors by Caffey and heavyweight Brad Wilton). Nathan Jimenez lost by tech fall at 174 to Tyler Stoltzfus to give the Eagles their only bonus points (and a 17-8 lead), but then the aforementioned bonus points rolled in for the Spartans to give them victory. They suffered tossup or minor upset losses at 125, 141, 149, and 165, so this dual should not have been so close. They also lost a team point at 149.
Michigan State rolled against Bucknell, never trailing in their 23-10 dual victory. Only Peyton Omania and Nathan Jimenez went 0-2 on the weekend, with Omania losing 6-5 to Lock Haven and 16-12 to Bucknell. Caleb Fish followed his 3-0 loss the day prior with a 9-5 win over eighth-ranked Zach Hartman, and Michigan State got major decisions from Chase Saldate and Cam Caffey.
Needless to say, Michigan State is going to need a lot more of what they saw in the latter dual if they want to compete in the Big Ten this year. Otherwise, they could be joining Indiana and Maryland in sucks-ville.
#2 Penn State Nittany Lions survives Penn, Lehigh
HWAHSQB: Penn State’s lineup was ravaged by the flu this weekend and made these duals tougher than they might’ve been otherwise. Both duals, the Nittany Lions fell behind and each time, they won 4/5 final bouts to take the dual. Against Lehigh, the match of the night was NC State transfer Tony Negron taking on the visiting #10 ranked Josh Humphreys. Three challenges made what was otherwise an exciting and competitive match drag on and Humphreys ended up on top 5-4. Final scores were 20-16 against Penn and 23-16 against Lehigh.
#12 Rutgers 41, American University 3
HWAHSQB: In the preview, I said if it wasn’t 39-3 or better, Rutgers should be ashamed so they cleared that threshold. #24 Dylan Shawver required a late escape to gain a 5-4 victory. With a whopping 11 ranked little guys in the B1G, he’s going to need to be better. All the other ranked wrestlers fared better as they all ended their matches early with four techs, one pin, and on DQ. Rutgers only loss was at 133, where #12 ranked Sammy Alvarez sat this one out.
Maryland Terrapins sweeps Drexel, Duke
Kind of...: I just spent a lot of time recapping CKLV above, so let’s keep this short. Here’s me last week:
“I will definitely look to see how Kyle Cochran (184) and Jaron Smith (197) do for the Terps. They strike me as Maryland’s likeliest (which is to say, not all that likely) NCAA qualifiers.”
Trailing 19-9 to Drexel, Cochran won a decision at 184, Smith got a TF at 197 and #32 Zach Schrader got a MD to swing the match to the Terps 21-19.
Trailing Duke 17-12, it went: Cochran MD, Smith MD, Schrader dec (SV), and Maryland won 23-17.
Also deserving recognition is King Sandoval (133), who recorded two pins on the day for Maryland, and Danny Bertoni (141) who went 2-0
Only Sandoval is ranked, and that’s just barely, so Maryland is not guaranteed anything in the postseason. But these are wins you can build on, and the program is pointing in the right direction.
Atinat: Maryland is now on their longest winning streak in four years, and have matched their highest win total of the last three seasons (they went 2-12 in 2019, 2-17 in 2020, and 0-8 last year). That’s pretty cool! Also, King Sandoval dropped out of Intermat’s rankings despite winning both matches by fall this week (and five of his six wins this year by fall, as well).
#1 Iowa Hawkeyes 22, #25 Iowa State 11
Atinat: Well that was fun. The Hawkeyes got their 17th Cy-Hawk win in a row, and something like their 56th in the last 60, and it came with fireworks. The dual started with Ybarra facing Kysen Terukina of Iowa State. Terukina was simply the better wrestler here, and while Ybarra didn’t shy away from anything, his lack of offense hurt him as Terukina found several takedowns en route to a 8-2 decision. The next match was the first spark in this heated dual, as Austin DeSanto met a tough stylistic match against Ramazan Attasauov. The Russian wrestled like one, using a lot of ties and head snaps to control pace, but DeSanto was able to convert on two of his many, many shots to get to a 6-4 victory. There was a moment where DeSanto was trying to finish a shot as the wrestlers went out of bounds and Attasauov took exception, throwing his left elbow into DeSanto’s upper body. Earlier, the ref had called a double stall in a position where Attasauov had a firm grip on DeSanto’s headgear, and DeSanto had some words with the referee before the restart. This match was a mess, to say the least. While I don’t like the style matchup here for DeSanto, this would be a fun rematch at NCAAs.
#19 Zach Redding got the start for the Cyclones at 141, and was able to take Eierman down once, but Eierman used some double-leg attacks and a cradle en route to a 15-7 major decision. Max Murin made his season debut against Ian Parker, who was also wrestling his first match of the season. Murin looked aggressive and well-conditioned, two of his weaker points, and controlled the low-scoring match, winning by decision 3-2. Kaleb Young looked no match for defending national champ David Carr, but was able to keep the deficit small in a 6-10 defeat.
Marinelli did what he does, bullying Gant Stotts progressively thoughout his major decision victory, and Nelson Brands looked good again in a 3-1 sudden victory win over Joel Devine (formerly Shaprio). Myles Wilson was unable to keep up with Macus Coleman, as the three-time national qualifier won 4-1, then Yonger Bastida, a Cuban freshman, had the biggest victory of the night, upsetting #3 Jacob Warner 4-3 in a match that was not as close as the score suggests. Bastida spiked his headgear following the victory, costing the Cyclones a team point, while Warner kept his cool on the mat but reportedly was less kind to the host’s tunnel. Tony Cassioppi ended the dual when he drew a fifth stall call, disqualifying Sam Schuyler, his opponent.
The fun did not stop when the wrestling did, as shortly after a scuffle began on the Cyclone bench. The camera did not catch much of it, but I’m willing to say there are few scenarios where Terry Brands should be at the opposing sideline. The Hawkeyes were deducted a team point at the end, and the final score was 22-11. I think both sides are probably walking away from this dual encouraged, as the Cyclones showed themselves up to the challenge, but the Hawkeyes held firm. Larger than these teams, though, I think the rivalry got a little bit better on Sunday. This is not a competitive one, but it is a fun one. I also don’t think moments like this are bad for the sport. Wrestling in America is closely tied with entertainment value, and while I don’t think we need steel cages in college wrestling, rivalries, grudges, and scuffles are what fans love.
As for the Hawkeyes, there were some bright spots and some places to improve. Murin looked good. Brands looked good. Eierman, Marinelli, and Cassioppi always look good. But Young looks broken, and Warner is having the same problems he always has. Also, I’m not gonna preview the national duals this week, but we’re going to need Spencer Lee back if we want a title.
#12 Rutgers Scarlet Knights host Army Black Knights, Friday at 6PM on BTN+
Atinat: Army sure is getting their Big Ten duals in. This will be their fourth and final non-conference duals, and their third against a Big Ten opponent. They scored seven points against Penn State and Iowa each, conceding 32 and 36 points respectively. So how do they line up against the Scarlet Knights?
Rutgers has nine ranked wrestlers, with a gap only at 165 pounds and top five guys in #4 Sebastian Rivera and #5 John Poznanski. Army has six of their own, at 141, 149, 157, 174, 184, and 197 pounds.
At 141, SeaBass has #29 Corey Shie, who was pinned by Jaydin Eierman and who beat Penn State backup Brandon Meredith 5-2. At 149, #21 Mike Van Brill draws #24 PJ Ogunsanya, whose only loss was a sudden victory one to Penn State’s Beau Bartlett. Army has the advantage at 157, where #29 Markus Hartman has #32 Robert Kanniard. Hartman is 2-4 on the year, but with losses to three top 25 guys. Rutgers has heavy advantages on the heavyweights, where they have #16 Jackson Turley, #18 John Poznanski, and #13 Greg Bulsak to face #25 Ben Pasiuk, #30 Brad Laughlin, and #27 JT Brown. Army will need to to score victories at 149, 157, 165, 174, and 197, as well as an upset at 125 or heavyweight (or anywhere else) in order to secure a dual victory. Rutgers, on the other hand, does not have a match they cannot win. I’ll say 25-9 Red Knights.
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Indiana Hoosiers at Cleveland State Open, Saturday
Atinat: Okay, so who’s going to this... I don’t know, man, these small tournaments are hard to track. Registered currently is the entire Indiana roster. Also listed are heavyweight all-Americans Matt Stencel and Mason Parris, for whom this would be a season debut. Ohio State will send last year’s 184-pound starter Rocky Jordan, among some backups. Michigan State is also sending a few backups. Spencer Lee’s high school backup Colton Camacho is going, and is evidently unrelated to NC State’s Jakob Camacho, who is from Connecticut. Michigan will also send Drew Mattin and Robert Striggow, among others.
#18 Illinois Fighting Illini at SIU-Edwardsville, UT-Chattanooga, Saturday at noon
HWAHSQB: Why is Illinois travelling TO Edwardsville for a tri-dual? Seriously, I’m asking. I have no clue. Trying to play in front of St. Louis fans and alumni? It’s weird, but these are two teams that have never wrestled Illinois close in the past and that’s not going to change Saturday. If the starters go, Illinois should shut out SIU-E. Chattanooga has a couple of decent guys that could challenge Illinois. Fabian Guttierez at 125 can hang with Cardani who isn’t real great at putting people away. Taking a spin on the Random Wheel of Chaos that is 184, UTC’s Matthew Waddell beat Zac Braunagel two years ago, but Braunagel will be a heavy favorite. Illinois wrestling hasn’t bothered to poat a preview so I have no clue if all the starters will participate. I’m going to guess they don’t all wrestle two matches and Illinois won’t shut anyone out, but will still win handily.
Michigan State hosts Gardner-Webb, Saturday at 5PM on ESPN+
Atinat: Gardner-Webb... isn’t good. They’re 1-2 on the season, losing to Virginia Tech and NC State by a combined score of 80-6. Their win was over Belmont... Abbey. The Belmont Abbey College Crusaders. Wrestlestat doesn’t project a win for the Runnin’ Bulldogs, and has them conceding bonus points in six matches. I would expect Michigan State to throw some backups out there, but, as noted above, quite a few are going to the Cleveland State Open. So, let’s say 35-3 Spartans. You shouldn’t watch this. But as a product of the fact that I can, I probably will. I’m sick, send help.
Maryland hosts Navy, Saturday at 5PM
Kind of...: This will be Navy’s first dual meet of the season. Can Maryland ring up a third consecutive win? Won’t be easy. Several matches are strength on strength, and Navy is favored in most of them: 133, King Sandoval (MD) vs. #27 Josh Koderhandt (Navy); 184, Kyle Cochran (MD) vs. #25 David Key (Navy); 197, Jaron Smith (MD) vs. #24 Jake Koser (Navy); and HWT, #32 Zach Schrader (MD) vs. #33 Riley Smith (Navy). Wrestlestat has it 21-13 Navy, which sounds fair, but Maryland has a chance.
Three in a row for the Terps?
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#15 Minnesota, #17 Wisconsin at the UNI Open, Saturday
Kind of...: Wisconsin sent pretty much their full lineup to the Cougar Clash last weekend, which featured minimal competition (UW grabbed seven titles and should’ve had eight). So, I’m not sure what to expect. UW has a really young lineup overall, and it wouldn’t surprise me if Bono is focused on slowly building the teams confidence which might mean only a skeleton crew and/or backups make the trip. As a Badger fan, I’ll keep my eyes open and see what seems to be unfolding.
Given that Minnesota held most everybody back from Cliff Keen Las Vegas, I would expect the Gophers to send most of their lineup. It’s not always easy to track down info in advance, but I have to expect there will be some worthwhile matches to be had if UNI, Minnesota and a couple other teams send their starters.
#7 Ohio State Buckeyes host #22 Pittsburgh, Sunday at noon on BTN+
Atinat: Ohio State is coming off a good performance at CKLV, and is 2-0 against ACC foes this year, with wins over #20 North Carolina and #9 Virginia Tech. Pittsburgh had the last week off, and their last dual was a 26-7 victory over Maryland. They’re 3-1 on the year, with their loss coming to #21 Lehigh. I really wish this dual was on BTN instead of Indiana vs Merrimack basketball.
The dual will start with a pair of ranked wrestlers, as Ohio State’s #14 Malik Heinselman will get either senior #25 Gage Curry (an American University transfer) or freshman Colton Camacho. The Panthers are favored in the next match, where #6 Micky Phillippi will likely see unranked Dylan Koontz and look for bonus points. Ohio State has #24 Dylan D’Emilio at 141 pounds, and Pittsburgh has #16 Cole Matthews. You can get your refreshments during 149, where #2 Sammy Sasso has an unranked opponent who he will defeat 8-0. 157 could be fun, where Ohio State has #26 Bryce Hepner and Pittsburgh has #30 Elijah Cleary, an Ohio State transfer.
The match of the day should be at 165 pounds, where freshman phenom Carson Kharchla, up to #8 in the country, will see #9 Jake Wentzel, last year’s runner-up. #6 Ethan Smith gets an unranked opponent at 174 pounds, then #10 Kaleb Romero will look for bonus points against #31 Gregg Harvey. Romero debuted at the CKLV, winning 184 pounds over Taylor Venz. At this point, I have the team score as something like 17-10 Ohio State, so Pittsburgh is going to need bonus points from #2 Nino Bonaccorsi (a top-5 p4p name imo) as he faces #21 Gavin Hoffman. Assuming they get it, this will come down to #13 Tate Orndorff for the Buckeyes vs #31 Jake Slinger for the Panthers. I’ll give the Buckeyes the edge here and in the dual, 20-14. Well, that’s just the dual score. The heavyweight match will be like 3-1.
This poll is closed