No. 24 WVU to Compete at Cliff Keen
LAS VEGAS (December 3, 2015) – The No. 24 West Virginia University wrestling team will travel to Las Vegas for the 2015 Cliff Keen Las Vegas Collegiate Invitational, held at the Cashman Center on Dec. 4 and 5. The two-day tournament will kick off at Noon ET on Friday and will be broadcast live on Flo Wrestling.
Action will start on Friday at Noon ET with the first round of championship matches and will resume at 9 p.m. ET with championship round quarterfinals and the first round of consolation matches. Saturday's matches will start at Noon ET with the seven round of consolation bouts. Championship and consolation semifinals will start at 1 p.m. ET, and championship finals will start at 6 p.m. ET. A probable lineup for the Mountaineers can be found on page one of the match notes.
“We look forward to competing in the Cliff Keen Invitational this weekend in Las Vegas. It looks to be the best field in years,” said WVU coach Sammie Henson. “Our goal will be to battle each match and continue to build off of the previous matches. We will have some changes, and this should provide us with a solid gauge on where we are as individuals and a team. We look to embrace this competition.”
One of the most competitive tournaments in the nation, the field at Cliff Keen boasts 12 nationally ranked programs. Defending national champion and No. 3-ranked Ohio State headlines the field, while No. 19 Virginia, No. 15 Wisconsin, No. 18 Minnesota, No. 8 Missouri, No. 25 Northern Iowa and No. 14 Cornell will also be in attendance. Fellow Big 12 schools Air Force, Utah Valley, No. 17 Iowa State, North Dakota State and No. 7 Oklahoma will also compete, while familiar foes Arizona State and No. 9 Michigan, and future foe No. 6 Virginia Tech will also wrestle at the tournament.
Three Mountaineers have earned pre-seeds at Cliff Keen. No. 9/10 Zeke Moisey, who boasts a 9-1 overall mark with four bonus-point victories, enters as the No. 7 seed at 125 pounds. No. 14/17 Dylan Cottrell is slated to be the No. 6 seed at 157 pounds. Cottrell leads the Mountaineers with a 10-1 record and boasts a team-best four major decisions. No. 7/8 Jacob A. Smith will be the No. 4 seed at 197 after posting a 9-2 mark with a team-high three falls thus far.
The Mountaineers posted on of their best showings in years at the 2014 Cliff Keen Las Vegas Open, taking 16th place overall. A trio of grapplers earned podium honors with Michael Morales taking sixth at 141 pounds and Smith and Moisey finishing eighth at 197 and 125 pounds, respectively. It marked the first time since 2006 WVU had put more than two wrestlers on the podium and was the best team finish since the team took 12th in 2007. Though he did not place at the event, Bubba Scheffel upset No. 6/8 Kenny Courts of Ohio State at the tournament.
West Virginia comes in at No. 24 in the most recent NWCA/USA Today Coaches Poll, released Dec. 1. Three individuals appear in the national rankings as well with Moisey at No. 9 (Flo Wrestling) and No. 10 (InterMat) at 125. Cottrell is at No. 14 (Intermat) and No. 17 (Flo Wrestling) at 157 pounds and Smith is ranked No. 7 (InterMat) and No. 8 (Flo Wrestling) at 197 pounds. The Mountaineers have ranked as high as No. 21 as a team this season.
Bubba Scheffel is coming off a championship run at the Joe Parisi Open on Nov. 21. Scheffel went 3-0 at 184 pounds with a fall in the finals to take home the title. His run moves his season mark to 6-3.
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