Mountaineers to Compete at Cliff Keen Invitational
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (December 4, 2014) – The West Virginia University wrestling team is in Las Vegas, Nevada, to compete at the 33rd Annual Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, hosted at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Friday and Saturday.
The event will start on Friday, Dec. 5, with Pigtails, Round 1, Round 2, Consolation Pigtails and Consolation Round 1 at 9 a.m. It will resume later that evening with Quarterfinals and Consolation Rounds 2 and 3 at 6 p.m. The following day will start at 9 a.m. with Consolation Round 4. Semifinals and Consolation Round 5, Consolation Semifinals and Consolation Finals will follow at 10 a.m. with the event concluding at 3 p.m. with Championship Finals. Flo Wrestling will provide live streaming for the tournament.
“This is the strongest field that I’ve seen at this tournament in eight years,” said WVU head coach Sammie Henson. “We look to gain some confidence and to build up some of the progress we made last weekend.”
Nine of the top 15 finishers at last year’s NCAA Tournament will compete at the Cliff Keen Invitational, including national runner-up Minnesota. A trio of teams the Mountaineers have already seen in head-to-head action this season - Arizona State, Cornell and Rutgers - will compete at the event as well. Also joining the field is Big 12 foe Iowa State, who West Virginia will face on February 7, and Grand Canyon, who the Mountaineers will travel to on January 3. Other participants include: Air Force, Cal Poly, Cal State Bakersfield, N.C. State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Northern Iowa, Virginia, Michigan and Virginia Tech.
Zeke Moisey remains in the top-20 grapplers of the nation, ranking 20th by Intermat and Flo Wrestling. He is 13-5 on the season after going 2-1 at the Northeast Duals, with his lone loss coming to No. 2 Nahshon Garrett of Cornell. Interestingly enough, 12 of the top-20 wrestlers ranked by Flo will compete at Cliff Keen this weekend.
After ranking 14th at 149 prior to the season, Michael Morales has entered the top-20 at his new weight of 141, ranking 19th according to Flo Wrestling and 16th by WIN Magazine. Morales is 12-3 this season and has lost just one of his previous nine bouts. He went 2-1 at last weekend’s Northeast Duals and was 1-1 against ranked opponents at the event. His weight will also be an exciting group to watch at Cliff Keen as 12 of Flo’s top-20 wrestlers will compete at 141 as well.
Morales and Jake A. Smith provided two of the top moments for the Mountaineers as each downed a ranked opponent at the Northeast Duals last weekend. After dropping a 7-2 decision to Anthony Ashnault of Rutgers, Morales rebounded to take an 11-7 decision win over No. 9 Mark Grey of Cornell. He registered four takedowns in the upset victory. Smith followed suit by downing No. 17 Jace Bennett of Cornell, scoring three takedowns in the 6-1 win.
The Mountaineers fell to Northern Illinois (18-17), Rutgers (19-16) and Cornell (26-9) at the Journeymen/Asics Northeast Duals, though there were several solid WVU performances on the day. No. 19 Zeke Moisey went 2-1 on the day, as did Morales and Smith. Bubba Scheffel also went 2-1, scoring a major decision over Quinton Rosser of Northern Illinois before pinning Anthony Pafumi of Rutgers.
After a two-week hiatus, West Virginia will travel to Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, on December 19 to close out the fall semester with a 7 p.m. dual with the Bald Eagles.
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