LARAMIE, Wyo. (Nov. 30, 2016) -- The 25th-ranked University of Wyoming wrestling team travels to Las Vegas this Friday and Saturday (Dec. 2-3) for one of the most premier tournaments in the country, the 2016 Cliff Keen Invitational. The 35-team tournament is being held in the Las Vegas Convention Center and is slated to begin at 10 a.m. MT.
The Cowboys are coming off a 19-15 win over Iowa State. The Cyclones were then ranked No. 24 according to InterMat’s Dual Meet rankings. The Pokes picked up five wins in the dual, including a pin by Bryce Meredith at 141 pounds and a major at 149 pounds by Cole Mendenhall. Branson Ashworth (165), Cody Vigoren (197) and Brandon Tribble (285) also registered wins for UW.
Wyoming will compete at the CKLV Invite for the first time since the 2013-14 season. Redshirt senior’s Drew Templeman and Mendenhall each went 1-2 during that visit. The Pokes lineup for this weekend will consist of Ronnie Stevens, Templeman, Meredith, Mendenhall, Archie Colgan, Ashworth, Chaz Polson, Wesley Schultz, Vigoren and Tribble.
Wyoming in the Rankings
After its win over Iowa State at home on Sunday, the Cowboys moved into the top-25 in the InterMat Dual Meet rankings, as they are sitting 25th. UW is also currently receiving votes in the latest USA Today/NWCA Division I Coaches Poll. Additionally, Wyoming owns a share of 27th in the WIN Magazine’s Tournament Power Index and Rankings.
The UW roster features a number of wrestlers throughout the rankings. Meredith checks in a No. 7 in the 141 pound weight class in InterMat’s rankings. He is also No. 8 in TheOpenMat.com NCAA Division I individual college rankings, while Mendenhall is No. 17 in the 149 pound weight class. Meredith is sixth in the WIN Magazine Individual rankings, as Templeman holds the No. 20 spot at 133 pounds. Templeman is also No. 13 in the FloWrestling rankings and the 16th-ranked wrestler according to TrackWrestling. Furthermore, Meredith is 11th in both the TrackWrestling and FloWrestling individual rankings.
The tournament features a number of ranked teams in the NWCA’s top-25, including fourth-ranked Ohio State, No. 6 West Virginia, No. 8 Cornell and Michigan, which is currently ranked tenth. Stanford (15), Wisconsin (17), Minnesota (18) and Arizona State (19) are among the other ranked squads that will be in attendance. InterMat predicts around 70 ranked wrestlers will be in the tournament field, with half of those ranked wrestlers among the top-ten at their respective weights.
He Said It
“It’s obviously a tough tournament with a number of quality teams,” UW head coach Mark Branch said. “We are looking to make a statement and there is no doubt we are excited to go to our first major tournament of the year. We are bringing a different lineup, so we will have an opportunity to evaluate a couple guys in a different setting. Regardless of the lineup, we are still looking for some guys to step up and take advantage of the opportunity to help this team. Not only will we see great competition, but we’ll see opposition that could help us with postseason bids.”
“The way these bigger tournaments work is that there could be crazy things that happen in the brackets that could lead to good things for us," Branch added. "It isn’t always just what we do, it’s what happens in other places in the brackets. Until the brackets come out, it really is unpredictable. We’ve had a number of guys that have wrestled well and I hope to see them continue that. We have plenty of guys on our team that can break through and make a name for themselves at this tournament.”
Friday, Dec. 2, 2016
10 a.m.: Round 1 Pig Tail Championship, Round 2 of (32) Championship, Round 3 Consolation of (32), Round 4 Championship of (16), Consolation 1st of (16) Round 5 Consolation 2nd of (16)
7 p.m.: Round 6 Championship Quarter Finals & Consolation Round 1st of (8)
Saturday, Dec. 3,
10 a.m.: Round 7 Consolation 2nd of (8)
11 a.m.: Round 8 Championship Semi-Finals, Round 9 Consolation Semi-Finals, Consolation Finals 5th & 6th, 7th & 8th Places
4 p.m.: Championship Finals 1st & 2nd, 3rd & 4th Places