Photos: There was plenty of buzz between Penn State (left) and Iowa...
Oklahoma sends six to semifinals; leads Vegas field after Day 1
LAS VEGAS — Six Oklahoma wrestlers, including top ranked Andrew Howe at 174 pounds, reached the semifinals of the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational to propel the Sooners to first place following the first day of the 32nd annual event that was held in the Las Vegas Convention Center on Friday.
The Sooners scored 84.5 points to move ahead of second-place Nebraska, who saw five wrestlers reach the semifinals with 75 points. The Huskers are three points ahead of Michigan, which saw true freshman heavyweight Adam Coon score the biggest upset of the tournament.
The following is a weight-by-weight review of tournament, which begins Saturday morning at 10 a.m local time with the semifinals. The championship matches are set to start at 3 p.m. (Vegas time).
125 pounds — The top four seeds all reached the semifinals and the most noticeable of the performances came from Northern Iowa’s Dylan Peters, who not only won all three bouts on Friday, but pinned every foe: Brenn Schless of Western Wyoming (2:00), Pat Rollins of Oregon State (2:10) and Earl Hall of Iowa State (6:30). Peters, a redshirt freshman from Denver, Iowa, is 9-0 on the season with nine falls.
Peters will advance to Saturday’s semifinals where he will meet Cornell’s Nahshon Garrett, ranked second nationally, who advanced with a 5-0 victory over EIWA rival David Terao of American U.
On the bottom of the bracket, No. 2 seed Jarrod Patterson advanced to the semis after blanking Hofstra’s Jamie Franco, 2-0, and will meet Wyoming’s Tyler Cox, who pinned Ohio State’s unseeded Nick Roberts in 6:09. Roberts had reached the quarters with a 5-4 win over Nebraska’s Tim Lambert in the first round.
133 pounds — The top four seeds also advanced to Saturday’s semis, including Northern Iowa’s Joe Colon, who earned the top seed after beating Wisconsin’s three-time All-American Tyler Graff one week earlier in a dual. Colon reached the semifinals with a 1-0 win over Vincent Dellafave of Rutgers. The Panther will now face Ohio State’s Johnni DiJulius, who also advanced with a one-point margin, 6-5, over Michigan’s Rosario Bruno.
Meanwhile No. 2 Cody Brewer scored a pin and two techs, the last an 18-1 win over Hofstra’s Jamel Hudson. The Sooner will meet Cornell’s Mark Grey, who defeated Navy’s Colton Rasche, 2-0, in the quarters.
141 pounds — Ohio State’s Logan Stieber, who has two Las Vegas Invite championships at 133 pounds the past years, reached the semifinals as the No. 1 seed at 141; pinning Purdue’s Danny Sabatello in 44 seconds in the quarters. The Buckeye will meet Oklahoma’s No. 5 seed Nick Lester, who pinned No. 4 seed Luke Vaith of Hofstra in 5:36.
Also reaching the semifinals was No. 2 seed Devin Carter, who pinned two foes before outscoring Virginia’s Joe Spisak, 14-11, in the quarters. The Hokie will meet Nebraska’s No. 6 Anthony Abidin, who defeated Harvard’s Todd Preston, 7-4. Preston entered the tournament unseeded but upset Northern Iowa’s No. 3 seed Joey Lazor in the first round.
149 pounds — Oklahoma’s Kendric Maple, the defending NCAA champ at 141 pounds but had already lost twice this season at 149, regained his stature as the No. 1 seed in Vegas when he majored Cal Poly’s Blake Kastl, 16-0, in the quarterfinals. The Sooner will meet Cornell’s Chris Villalonga, a 3-2 victory over Oregon State’s Scott Sakaguchi in the quarters.
On the bottom of the bracket, both No. 2 Jake Sueflohn of Nebraska and No. 3 Eric Grajales of Michigan advanced. The Husker majored Ohio State’s Ian Paddock, 10-2, while the Wolverine pinned NC State’s Brian Hamann in 2:47.
157 pounds — Both Michigan’s unseeded Brian Murphy and Virginia’s No. 7 seed Blaise Butler turned in the surprising performances at this weight at opposite ends of the bracket.
Murphy first scored a 7-5 sudden victory in the second round against No. 4 seed Andy McCulley, then advanced to the semis with a 3-1 win over Cal Poly’s Max Schneider. Murphy will now meets Nebraska’s No. 1 seed James Green, a 7-3 victor over Iowa State’s John Nicholson.
Butler, meanwhile, reached the semis with a 10-4 win over Oregon State’s No. 2 seed R.J. Pena, and now will take on Cornell’s No. 3 Brian Realbuto, an 11-3 major winner over Oklahoma’s Justin DeAngelis.
165 pounds — One of Saturday’s semifinals will match up Iowa State’s No. 1 seed Michael Moreno against instate rival Cooper Moore of Northern Iowa. Moreno pinned his first two foes before defeating Cornell’s unseeded Dylan Palacio, 9-4. Moore reached the semifinals with a 3-1 over Hofstra’s No. 4 Joe Booth.
Meanwhile, Virginia’s No. 2 seed Nick Sulzer scored a 15-3 major against Nebraska’s Austin Wilson, to advance to the semifinals where the Cavalier will take on Michigan’s Dan Yates, who pinned Purdue’s Chad Welch in 1:19 of their quarterfinal bout.
174 pounds — Oklahoma’s Andrew Howe, who earned WIN’s No. 1 ranking after beating 2013 NCAA champ Chris Perry of Oklahoma State one week earlier, maintain his domination this season when he pinned two of three victims, including Bakersfield’s Bryce Hammond in the quarterfinals. Howe will now take on Citadel’s No. 5 seed Turtogtokh Lusandorj, who won by injury default over Navy’s Matt Miller.
The other semifinal will match up Nebraska’s No. 2 seed Robert Kokesh and Virginia’s No. 3 Stephen Doty. Kokesh advanced with a 14-2 quarterfinal win over Iowa State’s Lelund Weatherspoon, and Doty blanked Virginia Tech’s Austin Gabel, 4-0.
184 pounds — The top half of the bracket was chalk for both Boise State’s No. 1 seed Jacob Swartz and No. 4 seed Gabe Dean of Cornell who will now face each other in the semifinals.
The bottom half of the bracket was just the opposite as the No. 7 seed Timothy Dudley of Nebraska reached the semifinals when he edged Ohio State’s No. 2 seed Kenny Courts in the quarterfinals. The Husker will face Wyoming’s No. 6 Ben Stroh, who defeated Northern Iowa’s Kyle Lux, 17-3. Lux reached the quarters after winning by default over Michigan’s No. 3 seed Max Huntley.
197 pounds — The top four seeds were undefeated on Day 1, including No. 1 Taylor Meeks of Oregon State, who defeated Wyoming’s Shane Woods, 5-1, in the quarterfinals. The Beaver will now wrestle American’s No. 4 seed Dan Mitchell, a 10-2 winner over Navy’s Paul Rands.
Meanwhile, the lower part of the bracket will match a pair of wrestlers, who each earned All-American honors at lighter weights before moving up to 197 this season. That includes Oklahoma’s No. 2 Travis Rutt, who advanced with an 8-5 win over Virginia Tech’s Chris Penny. The Sooner will now face Ohio State’s Nick Heflin, who is seeing his first action of the season and defeated Purdue’s Braden Atwood, 6-3, in the quarterfinals.
Hwt — Adam Coon, a true freshman from Michigan, turned in the tournament’s biggest surprise when the heavyweight upset NC State’s No. 1 seed Nick Gwiazdowski, 3-1, in sudden victory over their quarterfinal. The Wolverine will now face No. 12 seed Adam Facer of Utah Valley who first upset No. 5 Ross Larsen of Oklahoma in the second round and then American’s No. 4 seed Blake Herrin, 3-2, in the quarterfinals.
Meanwhile, No. 2 seed J.T. Felix of Boise State advanced to the semifinals, where he will meet Virginia’s unseeded Ethan Hayes, a 3-2 victor against Ohio State’s No. 11 Nick Tavanello. Hayes earlier upset Virginia Tech’s No. 3 seed Ty Walz, 4-3, in the second round.