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Wrestlers look to improve their fortunes in Vegas

No whammy, no whammy, no whammy, no whammy

Strategy Minimum

Coming off the heels of a 33-6 beatdown by Iowa, the Cyclone wrestling team is in Las Vegas this weekend for the premier in season tournament of the wrestling season.  With 87 ranked wrestlers expected to be spread throughout the brackets, no win will come easy.   For a down Cyclone team there won't be much to lose this weekend.  But there is a whole lot to gain if they can rebound with a strong tournament.

Where: Las Vegas, Nevada
When: December 4th & 5th, All day
Livestream: Flowrestling (subscription required)

Projected lineup:

Weight Iowa State Wrestler Record
125 Kyle Larson 11-3
133 7/4 Earl Hall 8-1
141 Dante Rodriguez 7-1
149 16/15 Gabe Moreno 1-1
157 Logan Breitenbach 4-3
165 12/13 Tanner Weatherman 7-2
174 11/11 Lelund Weatherspoon 7-2
184 Dane Pestano 8-3
197 Duke Egli 1-2
HWT Joe Scanlon 10-8

Rankings are Intermat/Flowrestling

A full list of expected participants can be seen on WrestleStats

Weight by weight breakdown: (Rankings from Intermat)


As I wrote in the preview for Cliff Keen last year, Larson is a guy who tends to beat unranked opponents and lose to ranked ones.  And yowzer, is this bracket going to have a lot of ranked wrestlers.  With seven wrestlers ranked in the top ten and twelve of the top twenty, this is the toughest bracket of the tournament, and Larson could easily end up facing a top ten opponent in the first round followed by a top twenty in the first round of consolations.  With that in mind, just getting a win to go 1-2 on the weekend would be a good outing for Larson.  And if he can go 2-2 or better that would be a great sign for the season to come.

Expected ranked participants at 125:
Rank Wrestler School
1 Nathan Tomasello Ohio State
3 Joey Dance Virginia Tech
6 David Terao American
7 Dylan Peters Northern Iowa
8 Chasen Tolbert Utah Valley
9 Ronnie Bresser Oregon State
10 Zeke Moisey West Virginia
11 Conor Youtsey Michigan
13 Barlow McGhee Missouri
17 Ryan Millhof Oklahoma
18 Josh Rodriguez North Dakota State
19 Dalton Macri Cornell


While 125 is the toughest bracket in Las Vegas this weekend, 133 isn't all that far behind with half of the top ten in attendance and eleven representatives of the top twenty.  If the pre-seeds hold, Hall will be looking at a quarterfinals matchup against three time All American, and one time NCAA finalist, Nahshon Garrett in the quarterfinals.  Despite the depth of this bracket, a place in the top eight should be expected from Hall.  And Earl could help himself greatly in the seedings at Big XIIs and NCAAs with a top four finish, something past results have shown he is very capable of.

Expected ranked participants at 133:
Rank Wrestler School
1 Cody Brewer Oklahoma
4 Nahshon Garrett Cornell
5 Johnni DiJulius Ohio State
6 Rossi Bruno Michigan
7 Earl Hall Iowa State
9 George DiCamillo Virginia
12 Josh Martinez Air Force
13 Mack McGuire Kent State
15 Zach Synon Missouri
16 Josh Alber Northern Iowa
20 Joey Palmer Oregon State


Teams appear to have run out of ranked wrestlers by the time they got to 141 and Dante Rodriguez will enjoy the weakest bracket in the entire tournament.  With a bracket that not only lacks depth, but also lacks any elite talent in the top seeds, Dante has an excellent chance to make a statement this weekend and push himself into the rankings with a deep run.  Given the level of competition in this bracket, anything outside of the top 8 would be a disappointing tournament for Rodriguez and a spot in at least the semi-finals shouldn't be out of the question.

Expected ranked participants at 141:
Rank Wrestler School
8 Solomon Chishko Virginia Tech
9 Tommy Thorn Minnesota
13 Todd Preston Harvard
15 Jamel Hudson Hofstra
16 Micah Jordan Ohio State


This bracket is perfect for Gabe Moreno to build some confidence as he gets his shoulder healthy and heads into the meat of the season.   Only two top ten wrestlers headlining this weight, but lots of quality wrestlers that sit outside the top ten will be in attendance, giving Moreno a chance to pick up several quality wins that would help him come seeding time in March.    Anything outside the top 8 would be a bad tournament for Gabe, top 6 should be expected, and a top 3 finish would help Gabe get himself back into where he was in the rankings before his shoulder injury last season.

Expected ranked participants at 149:
Rank Wrestler School
5 Lavion Mayes Missouri
9 Michael DePalma Kent State
13 Sal Mastriani Virginia Tech
14 Davion Jeffries Oklahoma
15 Alec Pantaleo Michigan
16 Gabe Moreno Iowa State
18 Geordan Martinez Boise State
19 Alex Griffin Purdue


This tournament sets up excellently for us to learn a lot about Brietenbach.  He's likely to get at least one wrestler ranked in the low teens no matter where he draws into the bracket and might get more than one even if he is unable to pick up any wins.  As a freshman he is a big question mark so depending on his performance this weekend we'll know how much can be expected out of him this season.  Since he's an unknown right know going 1-2 or better would be a good weekend for Logan.

Expected ranked participants at 157:
Rank Wrestler School
2 Ian Miller Kent State
4 Nick Brascetta Virginia Tech
5 Brian Murphy Michigan
10 Joey Lavallee Missouri
12 Doug Welch Purdue
13 Aaron Walker The Citadel
14 Dylan Cottrell West Virginia
15 Jake Ryan Ohio State
17 Eleazar DeLuca Northern Colorado
18 John Boyle American
19 Russell Parsons Army West Point
20 Brandon Kingsley Minnesota


Weatherman has stumbled out of the gate to start this season and Vegas will get him the chance to right himself.  With eight top twenty wrestlers pretty evenly spread out through the rankings, no matter what the result is we'll get a sounding on whether Tanner's struggles since last year's Big XII tournament have been overcome or if he's heading into a burnt out, disappointing senior season.  Anything in the top 6 would be an okay outing for Weatherman and a spot in the top 3 would be a great sign for the season to come.

Expected ranked participants at 165:
Rank Wrestler School
2 Bo Jordan Ohio State
4 Cooper Moore Northern Iowa
9 Clark Glass Oklahoma
11 Duke Pickett Cornell
12 Tanner Weatherman Iowa State
13 Seth Thomas Oregon State
16 Garrett Sutton Michigan
19 David McFadden Virginia Tech


Like 165, this weight class is expected to be moderately deep with wrestlers spread out all through the top twenty rankings.  So we will gain a much better feel about what can be expected from Weatherspoon with the drop to 174.  Anything outside of the top 5 would be disappointing for Lelund and top 4 should be the goal.

Expected ranked participants at 174:
Rank Wrestler School
1 Brian Realbuto Cornell
4 Zach Epperly Virginia Tech
5 Blaise Butler Missouri
11 Lelund Weatherspoon Iowa State
12 Matt Reed Oklahoma
15 Bryce Hammond CSU Bakersfield
17 Jadaen Bernstein Navy
19 Davonte Mahomes Michigan


It wouldn't be good to expect a whole lot out of Pestano this weekend.  His results so far this season have shown he can take care of business against bad wrestlers, but isn't on the level to even really compete against top 20 guys.  Anything other than going 0-2 is a win at this weight.

Expected ranked participants at 184:
Rank Wrestler School
1 Gabe Dean Cornell
4 Kenny Courts Ohio State
5 Hayden Zillmer North Dakota State
9 Willie Miklus Missouri
12 Dominic Abounader Michigan
17 Dylan Gabel Northern Colorado
19 Mathew Miller Navy


Duke Egli deserves credit for his effort against Iowa, if the rest of the team had fought as hard as he did the Cyclones might have won a few more matches.  But until Harrington takes the lineup this weight will continue to be undermanned.  Any win here would be a good one.

Expected ranked participants at 197:
Rank Wrestler School
2 J'den Cox Missouri
5 Max Huntley Michigan
6 Brett Pfarr Minnesota
7 Jake Smith West Virginia
8 Zach Nye Virginia
13 Jared Haught Virginia Tech
16 Mark Martin Ohio State
19 Derek Thomas Utah Valley
20 Brad Johnson Oklahoma


Not sure why we're seeing Scanlon here rather than Smith.  Like Pestano, Scanlon has shown himself to be a guy who can beat non D-1 guys, but struggles against good competition.  As with 184 and 197, any win is a positive.

Expected ranked participants at HWT:
Rank Wrestler School
2 Ty Walz Virginia Tech
3 Adam Coon Michigan
5 Amarveer Dhesi Oregon State
6 Blaize Cabell Northern Iowa
8 Ross Larson Oklahoma
9 Michael Kroells Minnesota
18 Nick Tavanello Ohio State


Expect the Cyclones to look a lot better than they did last Saturday against Iowa, but still short of pre-season expectations at a few weights.  Reaching the podium at 133, 141, 149, 165, and 174 plus a few wins elsewhere is the most likely outcome, with the holes at the other five weights as well as the general strength of the tournament leading to an underwhelming team finish.

Next up:

The Cyclones will host Big XII opponent Wyoming at 2PM on Saturday, Dec 12th in Hilton.