College Wrestling News

Facts, Numbers, and Trends from the 2018 Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational


photo courtesy of Richard Immel

The Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational is over and in the books. With such a large tournament there can be an awful lot to digest. Here are some interesting facts, numbers, trends, and general nuggets of information from the tournament that you can use to impress your friends.

This was Northwestern’s first appearance at the CKLV and Sebastian Rivera, and Ryan Deakin both won titles; therefore they won the first titles in school history.

Rutgers has not gone to the CKLV very frequently, and they also crowned their first two champions ever in Nick Suriano and Anthony Ashnault.

Cornell did not have a champion at this tournament for the first time since 2007. During that time nine different wrestlers (Mack Lewnes, Cam Simaz, Steve Bosak, Kyle Dake, Gabe Dean, Nahshon Garrett, Chris Villalonga, Brian Realbuto, and Yianni Diakomihalis) won 16 championships.

With Cornell’s streak being snapped Ohio State now has the longest active streak with a champion. They have had at least one winner every year since 2011. During that time nine different wrestlers (Joey McKenna, Myles Martin, Kollin Moore, Luke Pletcher, Nathan Tomasello, Micah Jordan, Logan Stieber, Johnni DiJulius, and Hunter Stieber) have combined to win 16 titles.

Ohio State has also had multiple CKLV champions in each of the last four years.

Cornell also only had two placewinners this year (Chaz Tucker and Max Dean). The last time they had that fewer than that was 2007 when they did not attend. The prior season 2006 they only had two (Jordan Leen and Jerry Rinaldi).

Joey McKenna became the first wrestler since Andrew Howe to win a title at more than one school. McKenna had previously won a CKLV championship in 2016 for Stanford. Howe won two titles with Wisconsin in 2009 and 2010, then added another with Oklahoma in 2013.

Buckeyes McKenna, Myles Martin, and Kollin Moore all won their second CKLV titles.

Micah Jordan (Ohio State) and Zack Zavatsky (Virginia Tech) are the only seniors who have placed in all four years of the careers. Jordan has gone (2nd, 2nd, 1st, 1st) and Zavatsky (4th, 4th, 2nd, 3rd) from most recent to farthest.

New Jersey natives went 5-1 in the CKLV finals (Sebastian Rivera, Nick Suriano, Joey McKenna, Anthony Ashnault, and Myles Martin won, Mekhi Lewis lost). They also won the first four weight classes.

Micky Phillipi was the first Pittsburgh wrestler to make the finals since 2008 when both Tyler Nauman and Zach Sheaffer did so for the Panthers.

285 lbs featured a finals matchup between freshmen Gable Steveson (Minnesota) and Tate Orndorff (Utah Valley). The last time there was a CKLV final between two freshmen was in 2013 when Gabe Dean (Cornell) defeated TJ Dudley (Nebraska).

Speaking of heavyweight, the top three placewinners Steveson, Orndorff, and Zach Elam (Missouri) are all freshmen. Steveson and Elam are true freshmen.

Gable Steveson became the first freshman to win 285 lbs since Adam Coon (Michigan) did so in 2013.

Our vote for craziest bracket goes to 197 lbs. The top seed Kollin Moore (Ohio State) took home the title, but after that chaos ensued. 10th seeded Eric Schultz (Nebraska) was second. Unseeded Jay Aiello (Virginia) was third. The second seed Nathan Traxler (Stanford) was fourth. Fifth-seeded Christian Brunner (Purdue) wrestled to his seed and took fifth over unseeded Greg Bulsak (Clarion). Sixth-seeded Tom Sleigh (Virginia Tech) was seventh, and unseeded Tanner Orndorff was eighth.

Isaiah White (Nebraska), the champion at 165 lbs, came into the tournament with a 1-3 record.

Ohio State won the team title for a third consecutive season and by the widest margin of the three years (32.5 points, compared to 15.5 in 2017, and 5 in 2016).

Two finals featured rematches from the 2018 NCAA consolation finals. 141 lbs with McKenna and Jaydin Eierman (Missouri) and 174 pounds with Myles Amine (Michigan) and Daniel Lewis (Missouri).

The semifinals hit Northern Iowa the worst. The Panthers had four wrestlers made the semi’s, yet none advanced to the finals.

Four 2017 champions had their teams attend but did not compete due to injury/sickness/redshirt/etc. (Taylor Lamont – Utah Valley, Yianni Diakomihalis – Cornell, Alec Pantaleo – Michigan, David McFadden – Virginia Tech). Justin Oliver (Central Michigan/NC State) and Zahid Valencia’s (Arizona State) teams did not participate in 2018.

A Big Ten wrestler won each and every one of the ten weight classes. My records date back to 2001, and that has not happened in any year during this period.

Chad Red (Nebraska), Grant Leeth (Missouri), and Chip Ness (North Carolina) are 2018 All-Americans that competed and did not make the CKLV medal stand. Tommy Thorn is a 2017 All-American that did not, either.

The “Turning the Tables” award goes to 165 lber Demetrius Romero (Utah Valley) who was lost by tech fall 18-0 to Logan Massa (Michigan) in the quarterfinals, then proceeded to beat Massa for third place by the score of 9-6.

To Top