Logan Stieber shoots for fourth Cliff Keen Las Vegas title

Updated: December 4, 2014

Ohio State’s three-time NCAA champion Logan Stieber is among seven wrestlers who return to Las Vegas this weekend to defend championships at the 33rd annual Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, held Friday and Saturday at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The 141-pound Stieber has won this event the past three years, including in 2013 when he scored three pins and one technical fall to also capture O.W. honors for a second straight year.

Other returning champions bidding for CKLV titles in 2014 are Cornell’s Nahshon Garrett (125), Ohio State’s Johnni DiJulius (133), Nebraska’s James Green (157), Virginia’s Nick Sulzer (165), Cornell’s Gabe Dean (184) and Michigan’s Adam Coon (Hwt).

Minnesota and Cornell, ranked No. 1 and 3 in WIN’s latest Tournament Power Index (TPI) Rankings, are considered the top-two favorites to win this year’s CKLV team championship.

Other schools entered are: Air Force, American University, Army, Arizona State, Boise State, Brown, Bucknell, Cal Poly, Cal State Bakersfield, California Baptist, Citadel, CSU Pueblo, Columbia, Grand Canyon, Harvard, Hofstra, Indiana, Iowa State, Michigan, Navy, NC State, Nebraska, Nebraska-Kearney, Northern Colorado, Northern Iowa, North Dakota State, North Idaho College, Ohio State, Oregon State, Rutgers, San Francisco State, Utah Valley, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Western State (Colo.), West Virginia and Western Wyoming.

The following is a weight-by-weight look at this year CKLV:


125 pounds

Preseeds and WIN ranks
1. Nahshon Garrett, Cornell – #2
2. Joey Dance, Virginia Tech – #4
3. Dylan Peters, Northern Iowa – #5

4. Josh Martinez, Air Force – #7
5. David Terao, American – #8
6. Nathan Tomasello, Ohio State – #13
7. Josh Rodriguez, North Dakota State – #19
8. Tim Lambert, Nebraska – #10
9. Paul Petrov, Bucknell – #15

Note: In addition to Garrett, who finished second nationally last March, other returning CKLV placewinners are Martinez, who finished third here ahead of Terao last year. Peters finished fifth in last year’s event.

133 pounds

Preseeds and WIN ranks

1. Chris Dardanes, Minnesota – #2
2. Johnni DiJulius, Ohio State – #8
3. Rossi Bruno, Michigan – #10
4. George DiCamillo, Virginia – #12
5. Earl Hall, Iowa State – #16

Note: Dardanes, like his teammate and twin brother Nick (141), dropped down a weight after competing at 141 and 149 pounds last winter. DiJulius won last year’s CKLV by pinning Cody Brewer of Oklahoma in 44 seconds. Bruno finished fifth in last year’s tournament with a 6-4 sudden-victory win over Jose Mendoza of CSU Bakersfield. Hall has moved up a weight class after finishing eighth at 125 in last year’s CKLV.

141 pounds

Preseeds and WIN ranks
1. Logan Stieber, Ohio State – #1
2. Devin Carter, Virginia Tech – #6 at 149
3. Nick Dardanes, Minnesota – #3
4. Joe Spisak, Virginia – #11
5. Mark Grey, Cornell – #18
6. Todd Preston, Harvard – #10
7. Anthony Abidin, Nebraska – #14
8. Anthony Ashnault, Rutgers – #15
9. Jamel Hudson, Hofstra – #19

Note: This is the first time that Carter will wrestle at 141 pounds after beginning the season at 149 pounds. This could also set up a rematch of last year’s NCAA final where Stieber defeated the Hokie for the 141-pound championship. Carter also wrestled in this event last year but was forced to medically forfeit to Abidin in the semifinals after winning a 14-11 quarterfinal over Spisak. Abidin lost a 16-1 technical fall to Stieber in last year’s final. Grey has moved up a weight after claiming fourth in last year’s CKLV.

149 pounds

Preseeds and WIN ranks
1. Chris Villalonga, Cornell – #7
2. Sal Mastriani, Virginia Tech
3. Cody Ruggirello, Hofstra – #11
4. Ken Theobold, Rutgers – #17

Note: Villalonga lost 6-1 in last year’s semifinals to 2013 CKLV champion Kendric Maple and eventually settled for third place last December. Mastriani, a sophomore, has been wrestling at 157 pounds in dual meets for the Hokies but also wrestled at 149 pounds in this year’s Hokie Open where he defeated teammate Carter in the final.

157 pounds

Preseeds and WIN ranks
1. Dylan Ness, Minnesota – #1
2. James Green, Nebraska – #2
3. Brian Realbuto, Cornell – #4
5. Anthony Perrotti, Rutgers – #11
6. Brian Murphy, Michigan – #9

Note: Ness reached his second NCAA final last March when he pinned Green — the top-seeded wrestler in Oklahoma City — in the quarterfinals. Green won last year’s CKLV championship with a 6-5 decision against Realbuto. In the semifinal, the Husker also notched a 7-5 sudden-victory win over Michigan’s Murphy.

165 pounds

Preseeds and WIN ranks
1. Nick Sulzer, Virginia – #2
2. Michael Moreno, Iowa State – #3
3. Dylan Palacio, Cornell – #4
4. Taylor Walsh, Indiana – #6
5. Taylor Massa, Michigan – #8
6. Cooper Moore, Northern Iowa – #13
7. Nick Wanzek, Minnesota – #15
8. Jesse Stafford, Air Force – #16
9. Austin Wilson, Nebraska – #20

Note: Sulzer, who eventually placed fourth in last year’s NCAA tournament, claimed last year’s CKLV championship with a 5-2 win over Moreno, who finished fifth in last year’s NCAAs. To reach last year’s Vegas final, Moreno also scored win over Northern Iowa’s Moore in the semifinals and Cornell’s Palacio in the quarterfinals. Moore and Palacio finished fourth and sixth, respectively, in last year’s CKLV. Indiana’s Walsh has moved up a weight class after winning last year’s Schalles Award as the nation’s top pinner. The Hoosier is coming off a championship at the Keystone Classic, where he pinned four of five victims.

174 pounds

Preseeds and WIN ranks
1. Logan Storley, Minnesota – #1
2. Robert Kokesh, Nebraska – #2
3. Tanner Weatherman, Iowa State – #7
4. Bryce Hammond, CSU Bakersfield – #11
5. Blaise Butler, Virginia – #8
6. Zach Epperly, Virginia Tech – #10
7. Mark Martin, Ohio State – #14
8. Davonte Mahomes, Michigan – #13

Notes: Kokesh finished second in last year’s CKLV by a 3-2 score to Oklahoma’s Andrew Howe, and now will most likely need to beat Minnesota’s Storley, a former South Dakota high school rival and friend of the Husker. Weatherman has dropped down a weight after claiming eighth at 184 pounds in this event. Hammond claimed sixth in last year’s CKLV.

184 pounds

Preseeds and WIN ranks
1. Gabe Dean, Cornell – #1
2. Kenny Courts, Ohio State – #8
3. Blake Stauffer, Arizona State – #13
4. Taylor Meeks, Oregon State – #11
5. Dominic Abounader, Michigan – #16
6. Ophir Bernstein, Brown – #6
7. Hayden Zillmer, North Dakota State – #14
8. Brent Pfarr, Minnesota – #10

Note: Dean scored a 13-3 major decision against Nebraska’s Timothy Dudley in last year’s CKLV final. Courts finished third in last year’s Vegas event with a 4:48 pin against Brown’s Bernstein in the consolation final. Oregon State’s Meeks has dropped down a weight after finishing fourth in last year’s CKLV at 197 pounds.

197 pounds

Preseeds and WIN ranks
1. Scott Schiller, Minnesota – #1
2. Kyven Gadson, Iowa State – #3
3. Kyle Snyder, Ohio State – #6
4. Max Huntley, Michigan – #9
5. Jace Bennett, Cornell – #6

Note: Schiller earned WIN’s top spot with a victory over Missouri’s defending NCAA champ J’den Cox in the 2014 NWCA All-Star Classic in November. The Gopher defeated Gadson twice in last year’s NCAAs where the Gopher won the quarterfinal 6-4 and then 9-6 over the Cyclone in the third-place match. This will be the first chance for national success for Snyder, who is just a freshman. Huntley wrestled at 184 pounds last winter.


Preseeds and WIN ranks
1. Nick Gwiazdowski, North Carolina State – #2
2. Adam Coon, Michigan – #5
3. Billy Smith, Rutgers – #10
4. Ty Walz, Virginia Tech – #15
5. Evan Knutson, North Dakota State – #19
6. Nick Tavanello, Ohio State – #16
7. Adam Fager, Utah Valley – #9
8. Collin Jensen, Nebraska – #18
9. Blaize Cabell, Northern Iowa – #17

Note: Gwiazdowski, last year’s NCAA champion, fell to No. 2 in WIN’s rankings after losing to Northwestern’s Michael McMullan in the NWCA All-Star Classic. The Wolfpack junior settled for third place in last year’s CKLV, after he lost in sudden victory in the quarterfinals to Coon, who won eventually won the 2013 CKLV as a true freshman. Fager finished fourth in last year’s event where Rutgers’ Smith claimed seventh with a 4-2 win over Ohio State’s Tavanello.