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)
|Weight||Iowa State Wrestler||Record|
|133||7/4 Earl Hall||8-1|
|149||16/15 Gabe Moreno||1-1|
|165||12/13 Tanner Weatherman||7-2|
|174||11/11 Lelund Weatherspoon||7-2|
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:
|1||Nathan Tomasello||Ohio State|
|3||Joey Dance||Virginia Tech|
|7||Dylan Peters||Northern Iowa|
|8||Chasen Tolbert||Utah Valley|
|9||Ronnie Bresser||Oregon State|
|10||Zeke Moisey||West Virginia|
|18||Josh Rodriguez||North Dakota State|
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:
|5||Johnni DiJulius||Ohio State|
|7||Earl Hall||Iowa State|
|12||Josh Martinez||Air Force|
|13||Mack McGuire||Kent State|
|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:
|8||Solomon Chishko||Virginia Tech|
|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:
|9||Michael DePalma||Kent State|
|13||Sal Mastriani||Virginia Tech|
|16||Gabe Moreno||Iowa State|
|18||Geordan Martinez||Boise State|
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:
|2||Ian Miller||Kent State|
|4||Nick Brascetta||Virginia Tech|
|13||Aaron Walker||The Citadel|
|14||Dylan Cottrell||West Virginia|
|15||Jake Ryan||Ohio State|
|17||Eleazar DeLuca||Northern Colorado|
|19||Russell Parsons||Army West Point|
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:
|2||Bo Jordan||Ohio State|
|4||Cooper Moore||Northern Iowa|
|12||Tanner Weatherman||Iowa State|
|13||Seth Thomas||Oregon State|
|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:
|4||Zach Epperly||Virginia Tech|
|11||Lelund Weatherspoon||Iowa State|
|15||Bryce Hammond||CSU Bakersfield|
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:
|4||Kenny Courts||Ohio State|
|5||Hayden Zillmer||North Dakota State|
|17||Dylan Gabel||Northern Colorado|
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:
|7||Jake Smith||West Virginia|
|13||Jared Haught||Virginia Tech|
|16||Mark Martin||Ohio State|
|19||Derek Thomas||Utah Valley|
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:
|2||Ty Walz||Virginia Tech|
|5||Amarveer Dhesi||Oregon State|
|6||Blaize Cabell||Northern Iowa|
|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.
The Cyclones will host Big XII opponent Wyoming at 2PM on Saturday, Dec 12th in Hilton.