The South Dakota State wrestling team is slated to compete in the premier early season tournament of the college wrestling campaign this weekend as it heads to the desert for the 2022 Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational.
Nearly 150 ranked wrestlers from teams entered in the tournament are expected to compete in the two-day event, Friday and Saturday at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Action begins at 9 a.m. Pacific Time (11 a.m. Central) each day. Coverage of the event will be available through FloWrestling.org (subscription required).
Among the ranked wrestlers are six from South Dakota State. All six of those Jackrabbits are pre-seeded among the top 12 in their respective weight classes, including top-seeded Tanner Sloan (197 pounds) and second-seeded Clay Carlson (141). Other SDSU wrestlers expected to be seeded when brackets are finalized include: Tanner Cook, eighth at 165 pounds; Cade DeVos, eighth at 174 pounds; Cade King, 10th in the 184-pound weight class, and A.J. Nevills, eighth in the heavyweight division.
2021 CKLV RECAP: South Dakota State’s Clay Carlson lived up to his top billing at the 2021 Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, winning the 141-pound title in dramatic fashion.
Carlson trailed 6-3 to second-seeded Andrew Alirez of Northern Colorado entering the final period of their championship bout. Carlson worked an escape early in the period to pull to within 6-4 before posting two takedowns in the final minute, the second of which he turned into a pin of Alirez on the edge of the mat with five seconds remaining.
Carlson, who stayed undefeated on the season at 10-0, moved into the title bout with a 6-1 decision over fifth-seeded Parker Filius of Purdue earlier in the day.
Two other Jackrabbits advanced to placing matches Saturday. At 174 pounds, Cade DeVos finished fourth after going 1-2 on the day. DeVos dropped a 6-2 decision to top-seeded Mikey Labriola of Nebraska in his first bout of the day, then scored a 5-1 decision over No. 6 Troy Fisher of Northwestern.
In the third-place match, DeVos fell 8-2 to third-seeded Christopher Foca of Cornell.
At heavyweight, A.J. Nevills completed a 4-3 record on the weekend with a sixth-place finish. In Saturday action, Nevills posted wins over Jayden Woodruff of Utah Valley (fall) and Michael McAleavey of The Citadel (decision) before being edged by top-seeded Tate Orndorff of Ohio State in the consolation semifinals.
RABBITS RANKED: The South Dakota State wrestling team began the season ranked in the top 25 after being included in a pair of national polls.
The Jackrabbits checked in at No. 22 in the preseason poll conducted by Intermat and were ranked 25th in the initial National Wrestling Coaches Association survey. SDSU was one of five Big 12 Conference programs ranked in the NWCA top 25, joining No. 4 Missouri, No. 10 Oklahoma State, No. 14 Iowa State and No. 20 Northern Iowa.
In this latest rankings, the Jackrabbits checked in at No. 24 in the Intermat dual poll and returned to the NWCA poll at No. 25.
SDSU also has seven wrestlers ranked individually, with Clay Carlson (141 pounds) and Tanner Sloan (197 pounds) leading the way with No. 11 rankings. from Intermat.
Fellow returning NCAA qualifiers A.J. Nevills (heavyweight) and Cade DeVos (174 pounds) are ranked 14th and 19th, respectively, by Intermat, with 2020 national qualifier Tanner Cook ranked 21st by FloWrestling. Other ranked wrestlers include Cade King (27th at 184 pounds by Intermat) and Gabriel Tagg (33rd by Intermat at 133 pounds).
A LOOK AHEAD: The Jackrabbits close out the calendar year by hosting Nebraska in dual action Dec. 18 at Frost Arena. Start time is set for 2 p.m.