SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Cal Poly will take its No. 15 national ranking (Intermat) and five nationally ranked wrestlers to the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational this weekend
The two-day event, which runs Friday and Saturday in Hall N4 of the Las Vegas Convention Center on Paradise Road, resumes after a one-year interruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Seven of the nation's top 15 teams, including Cal Poly at No. 15, are scheduled to compete. The others are No. 5 Michigan, No. 8 Ohio State, No. 9 Northwestern, No. 10 Cornell, No. 11 Minnesota, and No. 13 Nebraska.
“This is a great milestone, to break into the Top 15," said sixth-year Mustang head coach Jon Sioredas. "We will use this as positive feedback as we continue our efforts to develop individually and as a program. Growth is one of our core values and we are particularly proud of our continuous improvement.
“We are eager to get out to Vegas this weekend to face some of the toughest competition in the country,” Sioredas added.
The 39th annual event could feature two weight classes where the top two wrestlers could meet.
No. 1 Yianni Diakomihalis of Cornell and No. 2 Sammy Sasso of Ohio State are entered at 149 pounds while No. 1 Gable Steveson of Minnesota and No. 2 Mason Parris of Michigan could meet in a rematch of their 2021 NCAA final at 285 pounds.
There are three other weights where top-5 wrestlers could meet in Las Vegas, including Cal Poly's Evan Wick at 165 pounds. Wick is ranked No. 2 by WIN Magazine and Intermat while Stanford's Shane Griffith is ranked No. 4.
The other weight classes with the potential for a top-five matchup are 125 (Princeton’s No. 2 Pat Glory and Utah Valley’s No. 4 Taylor Lamont) and 157 (Northwestern’s No. 2 Ryan Deakin, Minnesota’s No. 4 Brayton Lee and Nebraska’s No. 5 Peyton Robb).
In addition to Wick, Cal Poly's other ranked wrestlers are No. 6 Bernie Truax at 184 pounds, No. 13 Legend Lamer at 149, No. 24 Lawrence Saenz at 141 and No. 31 Adam Kemp at 174.
Wick currently owns a 4-0 mark after claiming first place in the Michigan State Invitational on Nov. 6. Truax is 2-0 following a second-place finish while Saenz is 4-1 after a second-place finish as well. Kemp (7-1) was third at 174 while LegendLamer (3-0) placed sixth at 149.
The quintet of ranked Mustangs will be joined by Antonio Lorenzo at 125 pounds, Abe Hinrichsen at 133, Brawley Lamer at 157, Trent Tracy at 197 and Samuel Aguilar at 285.
Hinrichsen sports an 8-4 record, going 4-2 at the Michigan State Open as well as in the Roadrunner Open, placing fifth in the latter tournament. Tracy is 2-2, Brawley Lamer 2-3 and Lorenzo 1-2. Aguilar will wrestle for the first time this season at Las Vegas.
In addition to Cal Poly, other Pac-12 schools entered in the tournament include CSU Bakersfield, Oregon State and Stanford. California Baptist also will compete along with future Mustang opponent Northern Colorado.
Competition on Friday begins at 9 a.m., with the quarterfinals slated to start at 6 p.m. Semifinals will be contested Saturday at 10 a.m. with the championship and consolation finals at 3 p.m.
Tickets at $40 for an all-session pass, $15 for single-session preliminary rounds and $20 for the championship finals can be purchased (cash only) on the day of the event. All matches will be video streamed at https://www.flowrestling.org.
Cal Poly's home dual meets are Jan. 7 against Northern Colorado, Jan. 21 versus Arizona State and Feb. 13 against both Air Force and CSU Bakersfield. Arizona State will host the Pac-12 Championships on March 5, with the NCAA Division I National Championships set for March 17-19 in Detroit.