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Wrestlers To Try Their Luck In Vegas The Frontier Hotel is one of Las Vegas’ oldest hotels on the strip. Photo by Gary Friedman/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

After a one year absence the Cyclones are returning to Las Vegas this weekend to take part in the toughest and deepest tournament of the regular season. The Cliff Keen Invitational is always a large tournament, but this year the attendees are especially well regarded. Six of the ten weight classes include either the #1 or #2 ranked wrestler in the country. Two of them (141 and 157) have both #1 and #2 in the brackets. And overall there are 43 top ten ranked wrestlers spread out among the brackets. This is as close as you get to the NCAA Tournament before the postseason.

Where: Las Vegas, Nevada

When: All Day, Friday December 6th & Saturday December 7th

Stream: FloWrestling ($$)

Live Brackets & Results: FloArena (Free)

Results and later round matchups will be posted in the comments below.

Detailed Schedule

Friday, Dec 6th

11AM CST: Championship Pigtails, Championship Round of 32, Consolation Round of 32, Championship Round of 16, 1st Consolation Round of 16, 2nd Consolation Round of 16

8PM CST: Championship Quarterfinals and Consolation Round of 8

Saturday, Dec 7th

11AM CST: 2nd Consolation Round of 8

12PM CST: Championship semifinals, Consolation Semifinals, 5th and 7th place matches

5PM CST: Championship and 3rd place matches

ISU Lineup

CKLV Entrants

Weight ISU Wrestler Record
Weight ISU Wrestler Record
125 7/6 Alex Mackall 4-1
133 Todd Small 3-2
141 13/13 Ian Parker 2-0
149 6/6 Jarrett Degen 4-2
157 2/3 David Carr 2-0
165 Chase Straw 3-2
174 Marcus Coleman 2-2
184 7/11Sam Colbray 3-2
197 Joel Shapiro 3-3
HWT 14/16 Gannon Gremmel 2-2

Weight By Weight Breakdown


Top 8 Pre-Seeds

1. #2 Jack Mueller - Virginia
1. #2 Jack Mueller - Virginia
2. #6 Alex Mackall - Iowa State
3. #9 Devin Schroeder - Purdue
4. #15 Jakob Camacho - NC State
5. #16 Jacob Schwarm - Northern Iowa
6. #19 Brandon Courtney - Arizona State
7. Jace Koelzer - Northern Colorado
8. Cole Verner - Wyoming

What’s A Good Tournament for Mackall?

It’s weird to say this about a weight class with three top ten wrestlers and six in the top twenty, but this is one of the weaker weight classes in the tournament. Mackall should be able to roll through the opening rounds in to a semifinal matchup against #9 Schroeder of Purdue. And that’s where things will get interesting. Mackall’s ranking right now is still based primarily off of the ranking services taking where everyone finished last season, removing all the graduating seniors, and placing Mackall in the top ten based off of that. There’s no question Mackall is a top 20 wrestler at 125, and his resume gives him a pretty good argument that he belongs in at least the top twelve. But so far Mackall hasn’t had a shot at picking up a marquee win to prove that he belongs in the top ten. He’ll get an opportunity in the semifinals against Schroeder. A win in that match and a trip to the finals is a good tournament for Mackall. Losing that match but coming back for 3rd still means he’s solidly in the top 12 and makes for an okay tournament. Anything less than 3rd would be a disappointing weekend.


Top 8 Pre-Seeds

1. #7 Chas Tucker - Cornell
1. #7 Chas Tucker - Cornell
2. #8 Montorie Bridges - Wyoming
3. #9 Taylor Lamont - Utah Valley
4. #13 Jarrett Trombley - NC State
5. #14 Josh Kramer - Arizona State
6. #15 Anthony Madrigal - Oklahoma
7. #20 Tim Rooney - Kent State
8. Chance Rich - CSU Bakersfield

What’s A Good Tournament for Small?

This is a great bracket for Small to prove whether or not he is a top twenty wrestler. I don’t expect him to get any wins over the top three seeds and if he draws one of them early he might have to do most of his work on the backside of the bracket. But outside of those three you have #13, #14, #15, and #20. Which means that Small will most likely get at least one opportunity to prove himself against a guy ranked in the mid teens. If Small can get a win or two there he’ll see himself in the rankings next Tuesday.

Based on this I’d say that a good tournament for Small is 5th or 6th place. Either of those would push him solidly in to the rankings. An okay tournament would be 7th place - that would indicate that Small is at least likely to be an NCAA qualifier in March. But 8th place, or failing to reach the podium at all, might mean it’s going to be a long year at 133 if Gomez is unable to return.


Top 8 Pre-Seeds

1. #1 Luke Pletcher - Ohio State
1. #1 Luke Pletcher - Ohio State
2. #2 Dom Demas - Oklahoma
3. #4 Mitch McKee - Minnesota
4. #6 Chad Red - Nebraska
5. #12 Tariq Wilson - NC State
6. #13 Ian Parker - Iowa State
7. #18 Mitch Moore - Virginia Tech
8. Cole Mattin - Michigan

What’s A Good Tournament for Parker?

If Parker wants to make a move in to the top ten he’s going to get one or two chances in Vegas. 141 is a very top heavy bracket with the #1, #2, #4, and #6 wrestlers looming over everyone else. The upside of this though is Parker doesn’t have a whole lot to lose - he should be able to advance through the early rounds to a quarterfinal against #4 Mitch McKee where he’ll get his first shot. If he takes a loss there he should be able to advance on the backside to a consolation semifinals revenge match against (probably) #6 Chad Red of Nebraska, who beat him by fall at NCAAs last season. And depending on how things go he could even get a rubber match against #2 Demas of Oklahoma, who he split with last season. There’s lots of opportunity here for Ian.

A good tournament for Parker would be if he’s able to take advantage of one of those chances and get a win, either in to the semifinals or in to the 3rd place match. An okay tournament would be if he falls there and ends up in the 5th place match against #12 Wilson of NC State. A bad tournament would be 7th place or worse.


Top 8 Pre-Seeds

1. #5 Max Thomsen - Northern Iowa
1. #5 Max Thomsen - Northern Iowa
2. #6 Jarrett Degen - Iowa State
3. #7 Griffin Parriott - Purdue
4. #8 Brock Zacherl - Clarion
5. #9 Brayton Lee - Minnesota
6. #12 Sammy Sasso - Ohio State
7. #13 Collin Purinton - Nebraska
8. #19 Yahya Thomas - Northwestern

What’s A Good Tournament for Degen?

At any other regular season tournament a bracket like this, with five guys in the top ten and another three in the top 20, would be remarkable. But at Vegas, it’s middle of the pack. This is a big early season test for Degan to show if he’s going to be a favorite to repeat as an All American.

For Our Tall Boy I’d say a good tournament would be finishing in the top 3 - that’d keep him in the “mid range AA” area that he’s currently in. 4th or 5th would be okay and drop him in to the “low AA” range. Anything lower than 5th would be a bad tournament and have a negative impact on his seeding come next March.


Top 8 Pre-Seeds

1. #1 Hayden Hidlay - NC State
1. #1 Hayden Hidlay - NC State
2. #2 Ryan Deakin - Northwestern
3. #3 David Carr - Iowa State
4. #8 Kendall Coleman - Purdue
5. #11 Will Lewan - Michigan
6. #14 Justin Thomas - Oklahoma
7. Ke-Shawn Hayes - Ohio State
8. Jacori Teemer - Arizona State

What’s A Good Tournament for Carr?

Carr passed his first test as a Cyclone with a win two weeks ago against then #2 Young of Iowa. And he has a great opportunity to pass another one this weekend in a likely semifinal matchup against the new #2, Deakin of Northwestern. His win last weekend put him in the conversation for the NCAA finals, a win over Deakin would make him a favorite to reach Saturday night in March and also give him a shot against the current #1 Hidlay of NC State. I’m not going to jinx anything by writing about the possibility of a win there but... oof, if he somehow were to get one the hype train will go off the rails.

I’d say that making the finals would be a good tournament for Carr. Taking 3rd would be an okay tournament, and 4th or lower would be a bad showing and put a damper on expectations for the season.


Top 8 Pre-Seeds

1. #4 Isaiah White - Nebraska
1. #4 Isaiah White - Nebraska
2. #5 Josh Shields - Arizona State
3. #6 David McFadden - Virginia Tech
4. #8 Andrew Fogarty - North Dakota State
5. #12 Ethan Smith - Ohio State
6. #13 Thomas Bullard - NC State
7. #14 Phillip Conigliaro - Harvard
8. Emil Soehnlen - Purdue

What’s A Good Tournament for Straw?

I think Straw is probably a guy that’s going to hang around the edge of the top twenty all season. So the fact that there are “only” seven ranked guys in this bracket gives him a real chance to end up on the podium this weekend. He just needs to put together another solid, workmanlike performance like he did at Big XIIs this spring.

I’d say that a good tournament for Straw would be to finish 8th. An okay tournament would be to reach the Round of 12, and falling short of the R12 would be a bad weekend.


Top 12 Pre-Seeds

1. #4 Bryce Steiert - Northern Iowa
1. #4 Bryce Steiert - Northern Iowa
2. #5 Mikey Labriola - Nebraska
3. #7 Dylan Lydy - Purdue
4. #8 Anthony Valencia - Arizona State
5. #9 Devin Skatzka - Minnesota
6. #13 Daniel Bullard - NC State
7. #14 Kaleb Romero - Ohio State
8. #15 Brandon Womack - Cornell
9. #16 Jackson Hemauer - Fresno State
10. #19 Hayden Hastings - Wyoming
11. Anthony Mantanona (Oklahoma)
12. Marcus Coleman - Iowa State

What’s A Good Tournament for Coleman?

No, this isn’t the only weight that was seeded past 8 - the pre-seeds went out as far as 14 for some weights. This was just the only weight where an ISU wrestler earned a seed but had it be lower than 8th. Coleman actually owns wins from last season over the #10 and #11 seeds and his two losses this season are to #3 ranked Kemerer of Iowa and #4 ranked (#1 seed) Steiert of UNI. So I’m actually a little surprised that the pre-seeds don’t have him higher and it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility for him to move up a couple of spots when seeds are finalized. It’s a little hard to say what would be considered a good tournament for Coleman because depending on where he gets dropped in to the consolation side of the bracket on Friday he might run in to a second top ten opponent early on in the consolations. So I’ll hedge a little bit and say that a good tournament would be for him to have no losses to unranked opponents and, if he gets the opportunity, one win over one of the five guys in the bracket that are ranked in the teens. An okay tournament would be no losses to unranked opponents but also no ranked wins. And a bad tournament would be if Coleman eats any losses to unranked guys.


Top 8 Pre-Seeds

1. #1 Zahid Valencia - Arizona State
1. #1 Zahid Valencia - Arizona State
2. #3 Taylor Lujan - Northern Iowa
3. #4 Trent Hidlay - NC State
4. #5 Lou DePrez - Binghamton
5. #6 Taylor Venz - Nebraska
6. #7 Ben Darmstadt - Cornell
7. #9 Hunter Bolen - Virginia Tech
8. #11 Sammy Colbray - Iowa State

What’s a Good Tournament for Colbray?

To say that this is a stacked weight is an understatement. Eight of the top 11 ranked wrestlers are in Vegas this weekend. If Colbray wants to prove that his performance at NCAAs in March of this year was no fluke, he’ll get the opportunity on the mats this weekend. There isn’t a whole lot of analysis to be done at this weight. It’s going to be tough and Colbray has to be consistent in every match if he wants to end up on the podium.

I’d say that a good tournament for Colbray would be if he can end up in the 5th place match. Win or lose, if he can get there he’s made a statement that he is a favorite to be an All American this coming March. An okay tournament would be getting to the 7th place match. Win or lose that one and he’s made a statement that he’s at least seriously in the AA conversation. A bad tournament would be if he fails to make the podium at all, as that would drop him down in to the mid teens when the next rankings come out and put a real dent in his likely NCAA seed.


Top 8 Pre-Seeds

1. #1 Kollin Moore - Ohio State
1. #1 Kollin Moore - Ohio State
2. #7 Jay Aiello - Virginia
3. #8 Tanner Sloan - South Dakota State
4. #10 Eric Shultz - Nebraska
5. #12 Thomas Lane - Cal Poly
6. #16 Jake Woodley - Oklahoma
7. #17 Christian Brunner - Purdue
8. #18 Tanner Orndorff - Utah Valley

What’s a Good Tournament for Shapiro?

Shapiro has had a rough start adjusting up to 197 after spending his redshirt season last year at 184 pounds. But he’ll get the chance to right the ship in Vegas. The #16, #17, #18, and #19 ranked wrestlers are all in this bracket and as long as he avoids an early elimination to an unranked opponent Joel should get a match or two against one of those guys. A win against someone in that range would be a great early season boost to give both Shapiro and the fans confidence that he can settle in to the starting lineup and maybe be counted on to score a point or two in March.

I’d say a good tournament for Shapiro would be getting a win over one of the low teens ranked guys mentioned above. An okay tournament would be taking no unranked losses but failing to get a ranked win. And a bad tournament would be if Shapiro is eliminated via a loss to an unranked opponent.


Top 8 Pre-Seeds

1. #2 Mason Parris - Michigan
1. #2 Mason Parris - Michigan
2. #5 Tate Orndorff - Utah Valley
3. #6 Tanner Hall - Arizona State
4. #7 Chase Singletary - Ohio State
5. #13 Christian Lance - Nebraska
6. #14 Brian Andrews - Wyoming
7. #16 Gannon Gremmel - Iowa State
8. #19 Brandon Metz - North Dakota State

What’s a Good Tournament for Gremmel?

I don’t want to get ahead of things before anybody takes the mat, but as long as Gremmel avoids any upsets in the early rounds he’ll be looking at a Friday night matchup against #2 seeded (#5 ranked) Tate Orndorff of Utah Valley, who he pinned when UVU came to Ames last February. Gremmel usually struggles against top ten guys so getting a quarterfinal matchup that he knows he is capable of taking advantage of could end up being huge for his finish this weekend. Outside of that one matchup issue though this seems like a pretty well seeded bracket and what I’m really interested in is how Gremmel does in the later rounds of consolations if he gets a shot against #13 Lance of Nebraska or #14 Andrews of Wyoming. Picking up a win over one of those guys would solidify his spot in the top twenty and provide him with a quality win for NCAA qualification.

I’d say a good tournament for Gremmel would be if he can make the 5th place match, even better if he wins it. An okay tournament would be if he wrestled to seed and took 7th. And a poor tournament would be if he takes 8th or fails to place.


I don’t put a whole lot of stock in team finishes at tournaments like this since they are easily distorted by some weights being a lot more stacked than others. That said, I expect ISU to finish somewhere around 6th and it might end up being a very close race between the Cyclones and UNI for that spot. Individually, I think ISU ends up with 2 guys in the finals and seven guys on the podium. But this an insanely deep tournament so I could easily end up totally wrong on that depending on how upsets in non Cyclone matches end up impacting the brackets. Tournaments like this require that you re-adjust expectations between each round as you take a look at upcoming matchups.

Next Up

The Cyclones will host Tennessee-Chattanooga in Hilton at 7PM on Sunday, December 14th before breaking for the holidays.


Which Iowa State Wrestler will finish highest on the podium in Vegas?

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    Axel Mackell
    (4 votes)
  • 0%
    Ian Parker
    (0 votes)
  • 5%
    Jarrett Degen
    (2 votes)
  • 80%
    David Carr
    (28 votes)
  • 2%
    Sam Colbray
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    Other (Let us know in the comments who you think will end up on top)
    (0 votes)
35 votes total Vote Now