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Wrestling: CKLV Preview

Cyclones To Try Their Odds In Vegas

Syndication: The Ames Tribune Nirmalendu Majumdar / USA TODAY NETWORK

WHAT: 2023 Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational

WHERE: Westgate Paradise Event Center, Las Vegas, Nevada

WHEN: 11 AM Friday: Prelims + Consolation

8 PM Friday: Quarterfinals + 2 Rounds of Consolation

12 PM Saturday: Semifinals + All Consolation except 3rd Place Matches

5 PM Saturday: Finals + 3rd Place Matches

HOW TO WATCH: FloWrestling

BRACKETS: FloArena (Free)


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The 2023 CKLV should be the toughest in-season wrestling tournament in years. Of the 36 teams entered, 17 are ranked, including 15 of the top 20. Over half of FloWrestling’s ranked wrestlers are in the field. Iowa State heads there after a disappointing (but maybe stock raising?) loss in the CyHawk dual. Most Cyclones will have a ranked opponent even before Friday night’s quarterfinals. All 10 Cyclones earned a pre-seed, but only David Carr, Evan Frost, and Yonger Bastida are seeded in the top 3. There will be a lot of tests, and a lot of chances to build a resume. Let’s take a look at the competition.

*Rankings listed are (FloWrestling/InterMat)

125 - 17 Ranked Wrestlers

The Top Tier: Matt Ramos, Purdue (#3/2)

Could Make A Run: Brett Ungar, Cornell (#6/8); Michael DeAugustino, Michigan (#8/5); Caleb Smith, Nebraska (#10/9); Kysen Terukina, Iowa State (#15/18); Brandon Kaylor, Oregon State (#21/14)

Potential Landmines: Jore Volk, Wyoming (#16/11); Nick Babin, Columbia (#18/24); Spencer Moore, North Carolina (#20/27); Eddie Ventresca, Virginia Tech (#23/28); Diego Sotelo, Harvard (#24/25); Tucker Owens, Air Force (#25/22); Tanner Jordan, SDSU (#26/16); Brendan McCrone, Ohio State (#29/23); Nico Provo, Stanford (#30/20); Dom Mendez, Cal Poly (#31/31); Troy Spratley, Oklahoma State (#32/21)

  • Ramos shocked the world by pinning Spencer Lee last year. He’s taken some losses this season, but all to tough dudes. DeAugustino and Kaylor are past All-Americans, as is Ventresca. Terukina’s consistency will absolutely be tested. In the round of 16 he’ll likely have NCAA qualifier Nico Provo to set up a match against NCAA finalist Ramos in the quarters. Win that one and his path opens up.

133 - 17 Ranked Wrestlers

The Top Tier: Daton Fix, Oklahoma State (#3/1); Kai Orine, NC State (#5/4)

Could Make A Run: Dom Zaccone, Campbell (#9/14); Julian Chlebove, Arizona State (#10/10); Evan Frost, Iowa State (#11/8)

Potential Landmines: Angelo Rini, Columbia (#13/11); Brendan Ferretti, Navy (#14/12); Braxton Brown, Maryland (#15/16); Nic Bouzakis, Ohio State (#17/15); Derrick Cardinal, SDSU (#18/-); Ethan Oakley, App State (#21/31); Julian Farber, UNI (#22/-); Caden McCrary, North Carolina (#24/25); Gabe Whisenhunt, Oregon State (#25/26); Haiden Drury, Utah Valley (#29/23); Jacob Van Dee, Nebraska (#-/27); Richie Koehler, Rider (#-/29);

  • Evan Frost is on fire after a dominating win over Iowa’s Brody Teske. He’s an absolute menace late in matches and that will surely play a factor in a deep tournament like this. With NCAA champ Vito Arujau not wrestling, 3x NCAA finalist Daton Fix sits alone in the top tier. Orine is an All-American. To get to those guys Frost will have to go through NCAA qualifiers Oakley and Ferretti. Last season Oakley lost to Ramazan Attasauov and Ferretti was pinned by Garrett Grice.

141 - 17 Ranked Wrestlers

Top Tier: Lachlan McNeil, North Carolina (#3/3); Brock Hardy, Nebraska (#4/4); Jesse Mendez, Ohio State (#5/5); Clay Carlson, SDSU (#6/6)

Could Make A Run: Ryan Jack, NC State (#7/7); Vince Cornella, Cornell (#8/14); Kal Miller, Maryland (#9/12); Josh Koderhandt, Navy (#10/18); Cael Happel, UNI (#17/9); Anthony Echemendia, Iowa State (#30/19)

Potential Landmines: Frankie Tal-Shahar, Northwestern (#15/15); Cleveland Belton, Oregon State (#24/21); Gabe Willochell, Wyoming (#25/32); Sergio Lemley, Michigan (#31/32); McKenzie Bell, Rider (#32/33); Tagen Jamison, Oklahoma State (#-/24); Jason Miranda, Stanford (#-/29)

  • The top-tier here are all returning All-Americans, but none as tough as Real Woods, who Echemendia took to sudden victory Sunday. His performance will hinge on executing his gameplan of scoring from neutral. He will be tested on the mat. Keep an eye on freshmen Lemley and Jamison. Echemendia’s path goes through 2x NCAA qualifier Koderhandt in the round of 16 — no easy task, then 3rd ranked Lachlan McNeil in the quarters.

149 - 15 Ranked Wrestlers

Top Tier: Ridge Lovett, Nebraska (#1/1); Kyle Parco, Arizona State (#3/3); Caleb Henson, Virginia Tech (#4/4), Dylan D’Emilio, Ohio State (#7/5);

Could Make A Run: Jackson Arrington, NC State (#5/6); Chance Lamer, Cal Poly (#6/7); Casey Swiderski, Iowa State (#9/13); Jordan Williams, Oklahoma State (#20/14)

Potential Landmines: Quinn Kinner, Rider (#13/12); Ethen Miller, Maryland (#15/11); Sam Cartella, Northwestern (#21/-); Jayden Scott, North Carolina (#25/-); Derek Raike, Ohio (#26-/); Cody Bond, App State (#27/25); Nick Vafiadis, Navy (#-/33); Ty Smith, Utah Valley (#-/-)

  • The top tier at 149 is loaded with All-Americans, headed up by NCAA finalist Ridge Lovett. Swiderski will get a shot to climb once again in the rankings in this stacked weight class. Can he keep his single leg moving? Has his mat wrestling improved? If Swiderski gets through 2x NCAA qualifier Kinner, he will see 2022 NCAA finalist Ridge Lovett in the quarters.

157 - 18 Ranked Wrestlers

Top Tier: Peyton Robb, Nebraska (#3/3); Jacori Teemer, Arizona State (#4/4); Bryce Andonian, Virginia Tech (#5/5); Will Lewan, Michigan (#6/6); Ed Scott, NC State (#8/8)

Could Make A Run: Daniel Cardenas, Stanford (#9/9); Trevor Chumbley, Northwestern (#12/10); Cael Swensen, SDSU (#14/13); Paddy Gallagher, Ohio State (#15/16); Meyer Shapiro, Cornell (#19/21); Cody Chittum, Iowa State (#-/18)

Potential Landmines: Tommy Askey, App State (#16/20); Peyten Kellar, Ohio (#17/19); Joey Blaze, Purdue (#21/15); Legend Lamer, Cal Poly (#27/31); Michael North, Maryland (#28/28); RJ Weston, UNI (#31/32); Isaiah Crosby, Oregon State (#32/-)

  • 5 All-Americans lead the field here, along with Cornell’s superstar freshman Shapiro, who some think may be their next 4x NCAA Champ. I’d love to see Chittum against Scott — who has a notoriously bad gas tank — or Andonian — who is one of the most entertaining wrestlers in the country. If Chittum gets past top 10 Cardenas, he will see the winner of Andonian and Shapiro in the quarters.

165 - 20 Ranked Wrestlers

Top Tier: David Carr, Iowa State (#2/2)

Could Make A Run: Cam Amine, Michigan (#3/3); Izzak Olejnik, Oklahoma State (#4/4); Julian Ramirez, Cornell (#7/7); Matthew Olguin, Oregon State (#8/8); Josh Ogunsanya, Columbia (#10/14); Antrell Taylor, Nebraska (#17/10)

Potential Landmines: Bryce Hepner, Ohio State (#11/18); Tanner Cook, SDSU (#15/28); Maxx Mayfield, Northewestern (#16/17); Garrett Thompson, Ohio (#18/19); Giano Petrucelli, Air Force (#19/25); Connor Brady, Virginia Tech (#21/20); Brevin Cassella, Binghamton (#24/21); Josh Kim, Harvard (#26/23); Andrew Cerniglia, Navy (#27/24); Hunter Garvin, Stanford (#29/29); Will Miller, App State (#31/-); Stoney Buell, Purdue (#-/30); Jack Thomsen, UNI (#-/33)

  • Carr will be a heavy favorite after nearly tech-falling #5 Mikey Caliendo. I expect he’ll get Hepner in the quarters. After that its Ramirez or Olguin in the semis and Olejnik or Amine in the finals. From Amine and Olguin I’d expect a stingy, low scoring match. Ramirez took Carr down last year, but got majored. He’s slick. Olejnik falls somewhere in between stylistically.

174 - 16 Ranked Wrestlers

Top Tier: Shane Griffith, Michigan (#3/3)

Could Make A Run: Carson Kharchla, Ohio State (#4/5); Adam Kemp, Cal Poly (#6/13); Cade DeVos, SDSU (#8/7); Travis Wittlake, Oregon State (#11/12)

Potential Landmines: Lennox Wolak, Columbia (#13/24); Phillip Conigliaro, Harvard (#15/11); Austin Murphy, Campbell (#25/22); Alex Faison, NC State (#26/23); Danny Wask, Navy (#28/30); MJ Gaitan, Iowa State (#29/21); Lance Runyon, UNI (#30/28); Elise Brown Ton, Nebraska (#31/-); Josh Stillings, The Citadel (#32/-); Brody Baumann, Purdue (#-/33); Brayden Thompson, Oklahoma State (#-/)

  • Gaitan seemed to fall back to his 2022 self for two periods on Sunday. If he can gas opponents while limiting those mistakes he will be alright. Griffith has won an NCAA title, but behind him Wittlake and Kharchla are the only All-Americans in the field, and those were both at 165. Getting past Wask will set up a big quarterfinal against SDSU’s DeVos.

184 - 21 Ranked Wrestlers

Top Tier: Parker Keckeisen, UNI (#1/1); Chris Foca, Cornell (#3/4); Trey Munoz, Oregon State (#4/3)

Could Make A Run: Dustin Plott, Oklahoma State (#5/5); Will Feldkamp, Iowa State (#6/9); Gavin Kane, North Carolina (#9/10); Gavin Hoffman, Ohio State (#11/8); Lenny Pinto, Nebraska (#12/7)

Potential Landmines: David Key, Navy (#13/14); Sam Wolf, Air Force (#14/27); Sam Fisher, Virginia Tech (#16/18); Dylan Fishback, NC State (#18/20); Jacob Nolan, Binghamton (#19/21); Troy Fisher, Northwestern (#20/13); Bennett Berge, SDSU (#21/19); Tony Negron, Arizona State (#22/30); Zayne Lehman, Ohio (#24/31); Caleb Hopkins, Campbell (#25/24); Rylan Rogers, Michigan (#29/22); Aaron Ayzerov, Columbia (#31/-); Jacob Armstrong, Utah Valley (#-/33)

  • Unfortunately Iowa State fans didn’t get to see the high-flying offense Feldkamp is capable of on Sunday. Did Iowa put out a gameplan on how to beat the All-American? Keckeisen is the class of the field, but Foca will be an interesting twist as he is moving up from 174. Munoz had a win over Marcus Coleman last year. That’s who Feldkamp will wrestle in the quarters if he gets past Navy’s Key.

197 - 20 Ranked Wrestlers

Top Tier: Tanner Sloan, SDSU (#2/3); Trent Hidlay, NC State (#5/5)

Could Make A Run: Jacob Cardenas, Cornell (#6/6); Jaxon Smith, Maryland (#8/9); Silas Allred, Nebraska (#11/12); Luke Surber, Oklahoma State (#12/8)

Potential Landmines: Nick Stemmet, Stanford (#14/13); Luke Geog, Ohio State (#16/14); Andy Smith, Virginia Tech (#17/16); Evan Bockman, Utah Valley (#18/20); Levi Hopkins, Campbell (#19/25); Max Shaw, North Carolina (#21/18); Evan Bates, Northwestern (#22/21); Anthony Montalvo, Arizona State (#23/31); Julien Broderson, Iowa State (#25/24); Justin Rademacher, Oregon State (#27/-); Wyatt Voelker, UNI (#30/23); Bobby Striggow, Michigan (#32/28); Jack Wehmeyer, Columbia (#33/29); Carson Floyd, App State (#-/27)

  • The good news for Julien Broderson is there’s plenty of ranked wrestlers to pick off. The bad news is he will need to find some offense to do that. Oklahoma State’s Luke Surber likes to push the pace. Broderson will need to counter that to reach the quarters.

285 - 20 Ranked Wrestlers

Top Tier: Wyatt Hendrickson, Air Force (#2/2); Lucas Davison, Michigan (#3/3); Yonger Bastida, Iowa State (#6/7)

Could Make A Run: Tyrell Gordon, UNI (#8/9); Grady Griess, Navy (#10/10); Owen Trephan, NC State (#13/13); Taye Ghadiali, Campbell (#15/15); Lewis Fernandes, Cornell (#16/21); Nick Feldman, Ohio State (#18/17)

Potential Landmines: Boone McDermott, Oregon State (#17/22); Hunter Catka, Virginia Tech (#19/18); Cory Day, Binghamton (#20/23); Konner Doucet, Oklahoma State (#21/16); Trevor Tinker, Cal Poly (#24/24); Seth Nevills, Maryland (#25/19); Keaton Kluever, Hofstra (#27/20); Hayden Copass, Purdue (#28/27); David Szuba, Rider (#30/30); Jonathan Chesser, The Citadel (#-/33); Jayden Woodruff, Utah Valley (#/)

  • Maaaaaan am I excited for this one. We will FINALLY get to see Yonger Bastida test himself against some elite heavyweights. These are big, athletic guys. Assuming he beats Wahlert grad Boone McDermott in the round of 16, he should see NCAA qualifier Trephan. I love his semifinal matchup against Michigan’s Lucas Davison. He was a 2x All-American for Northwestern. Sam Schuyler nearly took him out at NCAAs last season. If Bastida uses smart shot selection, he’ll see Wyatt Hendrickson in the finals. THAT could be the highest scoring heavyweight match of all time.

TEAM TOURNAMENT - 17 Ranked Teams

Top Tier: NC State (#2/2); Michigan (#4/2); Cornell (#4/6); Arizona State (#6/6); Nebraska (#8/5); Virginia Tech (#9/9)

Could Make A Run: Iowa State (#10/12); Oklahoma State (#11/6); Ohio State (#12/11); South Dakota State (#13/13); UNI (#14/16); Oregon State (#16/17)

Has Some Dudes: Cal Poly (#18/28); Air Force (#19/20); North Carolina (#20/22); Purdue (#22/19); Maryland (#29/29)

  • With this tournament being a preview of what NCAAs will hold, the team race will be fascinating to follow. Nebraska has won this tournament the past 3 seasons. Ohio State self-imploded last year. South Dakota State shocked the country with a trophy finish. Can Iowa State’s depth rack up points? I think their finish hinges on two things: their hammers — Carr, Feldkamp and Bastida — have to deliver, and they need the next tier — Terukina, Evan Frost, Echemendia, Swiderski and Chittum — to make a run that announces themselves as legit NCAA podium guys. Throw in some bonus points from Gaitan and the Cyclones are in business.