WVU Wrestling Heads to Cliff Keen Invitational

By Ira Green
WVU Sports Information Office

PRIMM, Nev. (December 3, 2009) – Following a 12-day layoff, the West Virginia University wrestling team returns to action on Friday, Dec. 4, at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational in Primm, Nev. The prestigious tournament, which starts at noon ET on Friday, concludes on Saturday and will be held at the Star of the Desert Arena.

Attracting some of the best talent in the nation, the tournament features more than 40 programs, including Nebraska, which won the team championship last year, Arizona State, Michigan, Ohio State and Oklahoma.

“We're going to see people who we often don't see,” coach Craig Turnbull says. “We'll see a lot of West Coast and Midwestern teams. We're going to face a lot of wrestlers that we don't face often, and that's valuable because when you go to the NCAA Tournament, we will have seen a lot of this competition before. You get a good idea of what to expect. The more we can give the guys a broader and more diverse base across the country, it gives them a little more poise. Anytime you put yourself into a national tournament, you come away with a lot of intangibles that you're not even aware of. This tournament has served us well over the past and that's why we're going back.”

Former Mountaineers Kurt Brenner (174) and Dustin Rogers (HWT) each placed last year, as Brenner earned fourth and Rogers took seventh in their respective weight classes. Redshirt sophomore Ryan Goodman defeated UC Davis’ Joey Wilson, 3-1, at 157 pounds. As a team, the Mountaineers finished 23rd.

First time competitors at this year’s event include freshman Anthony Curcio (125) and juniors Kyle Rooney (197) and Brandon Williamson (HWT), who owns a 7-0 overall record this season.

“Brandon is really excited about the opportunity,” Turnbull adds. “He's been training and preparing as if he was going to the NCAA Tournament. You can just watch his nonverbals and his actions. He's excited about the opportunity. The junior colleges will see a few Division I wrestlers here and there, but this is his first real Division I national tournament.”

WVU’s tournament point total will be based on individual matchups in the 10 different weight classes. At 6 p.m. ET today, the tournament committee will meet to decide the seedings of the respective weight classes.

WVU (0-2) is coming off a pair of losses at the Sprawl & Brawl duals on Nov. 22. The Mountaineers were edged by Wyoming, 19-18, and then fell to then-No. 17 Illinois, 23-15. Redshirt senior Chance Litton and Williamson each went 2-0 at their respective weight classes.

Return to the WV-Mat front page