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Courtesy: Athletics Communications

Iowa State Finishes 8th At The Cliff Keen Invite

Release: 12/07/2013
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. – The Iowa State wrestling team (5-1 overall, 1-0 Big 12) finished the 2013 Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational 8th in the team standings, scoring 62.5 points with five grapplers placing in the tournament.  

All-American Michael Moreno was the lone finalist for the Cyclones at 165 pounds, as he was pitted against No. 3 Nick Sulzer of Virginia in the championship match. Sulzer avenged a 4-2 loss to Moreno last year at the NCAA Championships, defeating Moreno 5-2.

Sulzer scored two takedowns in the opening stanza, racking up over two minutes of riding time. Trailing 4-1 in the second-period, Moreno rode Sulzer for the entire period trimming his riding time to under a minute. Moreno escaped quickly in the third to make it 4-2 but was unable to get the takedown he needed to tie the match.

Moreno, ranked No. 5 in the country by InterMat, went 4-1 en route to his runner-up finish. In the semifinals, Moreno took down fifth-seeded Cooper Moore of UNI 10-5.  He notched two pins in the tournament and improved his season record to 13-2 overall.

Four more Iowa State wrestlers placed in Earl Hall, Gabe Moreno, Lelund Weatherspoon and Tanner Weatherman.

Hall, the No. 12 seed at 125 pounds, finished the tournament 3-3 with two wins over seeded wrestlers en route to an 8th-place finish. Hall went 1-2 on the day, picking up a pin in his opening match over Michigan’s Conor Youtsey with 1:15 remaining in the third period. The Homestead, Fla., native then dropped his final two matches, falling to American’s David Terao 5-4 in overtime and Ohio State’s Nick Roberts 4-3.

Moreno, unseeded in the 141-pound bracket, finished his day 2-1. The Urbandale, Iowa, native won by medical forfeit over No. 3 seed Joey Lazor to take seventh-place. He went 5-2 in the tournament, highlighted by a first period pin over Boise State’s Travis Himmelman and a 5-3 win over No. 11 seed Cole Mendenhall of Wyoming.

Weatherspoon, the No. 7 seed at 174 pounds, ended the day with a 15-5 major decision over the No.  9 seed Bryce Hammond of CSU-Bakersfield to take fifth.

The Jackson, Mich., native went 3-1 Saturday, picking up a win in the consolation quarterfinals over No. 6 seed Austin Gabel of Virginia Tech 3-2 and another win over No. 9 seed Mark Martin of Ohio State 4-2.  Weatherspoon finished the tournament with a 5-2 record.

Weatherman wrestled to his No. 8 seed, taking 8th-place at 184 pounds. He wrestled up a weight class from 174 pounds where he’s nationally ranked No. 8 by InterMat to fill an injury void left by senior Boaz Beard. The Huxley, Iowa, native went 4-3 in the tournament.

A come from behind victory over UNI’s Kyle Lux in his first match highlighted the redshirt sophomore’s day. Weatherman trailed 5-1 in the third period and battled back to tie the match 8-8 at the end of regulation. He went on to win 12-8 in the first sudden victory period after notching a four-point move on the edge of the mat.

Transfer John Nicholson’s tournament was cut short after he was forced to injury default in the consolation bracket at 157-pounds to North Carolina State’s Thomas Gantt after leading 3-2 in the third-period. The Des Moines, Iowa, native finished the tournament 2-2.

For final team standings and brackets from the Cliff-Keen Invite, click here

Iowa State returns to action next weekend, as it travels to Fargo, N.D. to faceoff with North Dakota State. Wrestling begins at 7 p.m. CDT Saturday night. 

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