photo courtesy of Cam Kramer
After one day of competition, Ohio State sits atop the standings of the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational 88 to 77.5 over Missouri, on the strength of their superstars. Six Buckeyes are sitting in the semifinals after a perfect quarterfinal round. Two OSU wrestlers (Joey McKenna – 141 and Myles Martin – 184) entered the tournament as the top seed in their respective weight classes. Two others (Luke Pletcher – 133 and Micah Jordan -149) were seeded second. Freshman 285 lber Chase Singletary was the lone underdog in the semis for Ohio State. Singletary was unseeded, yet dispatched of 11th ranked Conan Jennings (Northwestern), and #15 ranked Matt Stencel in his journey to the semifinals. Only one Buckeye wrestler, sixth-ranked 157 lber Ke-Shawn Hayes is still alive in the wrestlebacks.
The second place Tigers of Missouri are a bit more balanced as they have placed three wrestlers (John Erneste – 133, Jaydin Eierman – 141, and Daniel Lewis – 174) in the semi’s, but also have five wrestlers alive in the consolations. Nebraska and Northern Iowa round out the top four, the Cornhuskers with 64.5 points and the Panthers 62. Both schools have four wrestlers in the semis and two in the consolations.
The semifinal round began with a pair of shocking upsets of NCAA finalists. At 125 lbs unranked Brent Fleetwood (North Dakota State) dominated two-time NCAA All-American Zeke Moisey (Nebraska) to set up a date with the tournament’s top seed, second-ranked Sebastian Rivera (Northwestern) in the semis. Moving up a weight class to 133 lbs, Pittsburgh’s freshman Micky Phillipi shut out two-time All-American Ethan Lizak (Minnesota) 4-0. Phillipi’s win earns him a meeting with the tournament’s returning champion at the weight class, Pletcher.
There was only one top seed that failed to make the semifinals, and that came at 157 lbs when eighth-seeded Griffin Parriott (Purdue) took down two-time All-American Tyler Berger (Nebraska) 4-2 in sudden victory. 141 and 174 were the only two weight classes where all top four seeds advanced to the semis.
The top two weight classes, 197 and 285 lbs, each saw their brackets explode as upsets occurred early and often. One semifinal matchup at 197 pounds features unseeded Greg Bulsak (Clarion) taking on the 10th seed Eric Schultz (Nebraska). At 285 lbs, Singletary will meet fellow freshman Tate Orndorff (Utah Valley), the sixth-seed. Speaking of freshman heavyweights, blue-chip true freshman Gable Steveson did not disappoint as he scored bonus points in all three of his bouts. His 15-9 major decision victory over 13th ranked AJ Nevills (Fresno State) was his closest match of the tournament, thus far.
These are the semifinal matches that will take place tomorrow morning at 10 am PST.
125 – #2 Sebastian Rivera (Northwestern) vs. Brent Fleetwood (North Dakota State)
125 – #3 Ronnie Bresser (Oregon State) vs. #5 Sean Russell (Minnesota)
133 – #5 Nick Suriano (Rutgers) vs. #8 John Erneste (Missouri)
133 – #4 Luke Pletcher (Ohio State) vs. #14 Micky Phillipi (Pittsburgh)
141 – #2 Joey McKenna (Ohio State) vs. #7 Josh Alber (Northern Iowa)
141 – #3 Jaydin Eierman (Missouri) vs. #10 Mike Carr (Illinois)
149 – #3 Anthony Ashnault (Rutgers) vs. #9 Mitch Finesilver (Duke)
149 – #2 Micah Jordan (Ohio State) vs. #8 Brock Zacherl (Clarion)
157 – #9 Taleb Rahmani (Pittsburgh) vs. Griffin Parriott (Purdue)
157 – #5 Ryan Deakin (Northwestern) vs. #8 Kennedy Monday (North Carolina)
165 – #5 Logan Massa (Michigan) vs. #10 Isaiah White (Nebraska)
165 – #7 Bryce Steiert (Northern Iowa) vs. #15 Mekhi Lewis (Virginia Tech)
174 – #3 Myles Amine (Michigan) vs. #14 Mike Labriola (Nebraska)
174 – #4 Daniel Lewis (Missouri) vs. #9 Taylor Lujan (Northern Iowa)
184 – #1 Myles Martin (Ohio State) vs. #8 Max Dean (Cornell)
184 – #3 Taylor Venz (Nebraska) vs. #9 Drew Foster (Northern Iowa)
197 – #3 Kollin Moore (Ohio State) vs. #12 Christian Brunner (Purdue)
197 – #19 Eric Schultz (Nebraska) vs. Greg Bulsak (Clarion)
285 – #4 Gable Steveson (Minnesota) vs. #14 Cory Daniel (North Carolina)
285 – #17 Tate Orndorff (Utah Valley) vs. Chase Singletary (Ohio State)