2023 Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational

2023 Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational Preview: 125-141 Pounds

2023 Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational Preview: 125-141 Pounds

A full preview with predictions for 125-141 pounds at the 2023 Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational.

Nov 29, 2023 by JD Rader
2023 Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational Preview: 125-141 Pounds

The 2023 Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational is set to go down on December 1-2 and will be the best in-season tournament of the year. Check out the below article for a breakdown and predictions of 125-141 at this year’s CKLV.

Check out more 2023 CKLV Content:

Pre-Seeds | Schedule | Ranked Wrestlers | 149-174 Preview

125 POUNDS

The Favorite

#3 Matt Ramos, Purdue

Returning national finalist Matt Ramos got off to a less-than-ideal start this season dropping matches to Marcus Blaze and Jakob Camacho in back-to-back weeks. However, he rebounded with a good win over Anthony Noto at the All-Star Classic. You can’t knock the courage on this guy and these early tests are sure to pay dividends come March time.

Ramos isn’t just good, he’s incredibly fun to watch. Be sure to set your arena alerts because there’s bound to be a couple of times this tournament Ramos will make you go, “What the heck was that?”

null

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In


While Ramos is for sure the odd-on favorite, he’s far from a lock. Any of the guys mentioned below have a shot at knocking him off.


Contenders

#6 Brett Ungar, Cornell

#8 Michael DeAugustino, Michigan

#10 Caleb Smith, Nebraska

#15 Kysen Terukina, Iowa State

#16 Jore Volk, Wyoming

As mentioned above, I feel like any of these five guys are capable of winning this tournament on their best day. ‘On their best day’ is a big roll of the dice, however. While Ramos has been fairly consistent the past year, there has been a lot more variability in the performances of this group. For example, two weeks ago, major decisioned #5 at the time Eric Barnett, but then lost to #21 at the time Drake Ayala on Sunday. That’s part of what makes 125 so much fun in Vegas this weekend and across the country all season long.

That loss to Ayala Terukina suffered on Sunday will be the only loss coming into Vegas this group has suffered this season. Michael DeAugustino is the most credentialed coming in with a fourth-place finish at NCAAs in 2022. Coming off of the scale could be an issue for the Michigan transfer, however. Remember, Jore Volk upset him in the first round of NCAAs last season.

It should be noted that I didn’t include Brandon Kaylor and/or Tanner Jordan in this tier - both of whom are seeded higher than Terukina. While those are capable of beating any guy in this tier, their careers to this point would make it surprising to me if they were able to go on a title run this weekend.


Sleepers & Landmines

#20 Spencer Moore, North Carolina

#23 Eddie Ventresca, Virginia Tech

#30 Nico Provo, Stanford

#32 Troy Spratley, Oklahoma State

With the popularity of the four names above, I’m not sure if you can call them “sleepers”, but the state of 125 has lead these wrestlers to all be ranked 20+. Eddie Ventresca was preseason ranked #4, but limping into Vegas with a season record of 2-5. The other three wrestlers are all coming in undefeated this season, but have yet to face top D1 competition. Of them, I’m most excited to see Troy Spratley. A redshirt freshman, we are going to find out a lot about the #6 overall recruit in the class of 2022.


125 Prediction

  1. Matt Ramos 
  2. Brett Ungar
  3. Michael DeAugustino
  4. Caleb Smith

133 POUNDS

The Favorite

#3 Daton Fix, Oklahoma State

With Cornell’s Vito Arujua opting not to compete this weekend, Daton Fix is probably tied with David Carr as the largest favorite in the field. Fix has only competed in one match so far this season but did win by fall. If seeds hold, Fix could see second-seeded Kai Orine, who he had a very entertaining match in the round of 16 at NCAAs in 2022.

null

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In



Contenders

#5 Kai Orine, NC State

#10 Julian Chlebove, Arizona State

#11 Evan Frost, Iowa State

#13 Angelo Rini, Columbia

An All-American last season, Kai Orine has established himself as the leader of the contender tier. Julian Chlebove has shown flashes of potential, but in year five at Arizona State hasn’t quite developed into what a lot of people thought he would coming out of high school. This could be his chance. Evan Frost is coming off of a huge win over Brody Teske on Sunday in the Cy-Hawk dual, so it will be interesting to see if he can keep the momentum rolling or if he got hot in Hilton. Wrestling for Columbia, Angelo Rini doesn’t quite the national recognition he deserves. A tough out for anyone, he comes to scrap.

Hear from Evan Frost after his big Cy-Hawk win below.

null



Sleepers & Landmines

#17 Nic Bouzakis, Ohio State

Jacob Van Dee, Nebraska

The #4 overall recruit in the nation in 2022 and #17 ranked wrestler in the country currently, it doesn’t seem right to call Nic Bouzakis a sleeper. I feel like a lot of people are writing him off after a 6-3 start to his redshirt freshman year including a 14-8 loss to Rini. I’m not ready to write off Bouzakis yet, though.

Jacob Van Dee is part of the Pennsylvania-to-Nebraska connection that Mark Manning has created.


133 Prediction

  1. Daton Fix
  2. Kai Orine
  3. Angelo Rini
  4. Evan Frost

141 POUNDS

The Favorites

#3 Lachlan McNeil, North Carolina

#4 Brock Hardy, Nebraska

#5 Jesse Mendez, Ohio State

#6 Ryan Jack, NC State

I couldn’t select just one favorite for 141. These four all have an equal chance of winning. The seeds follow the rankings, so semis would look like McNeil vs Jack and Hardy vs Mendez.

Lachlan McNeil is the highest-ranked for a reason. He finished 4th at NCAAs at this weight last year and defeated Brock Hardy in the process. Hardy is tough, though. He won this tournament last year and I wouldn’t count him out to do it again this year. Jesse Mendez is coming up from 133 where he took 6th at NCAAs last year. So far Mendez has had no issue with the move up in weight. He’s 6-0 with all wins coming via tech or pin. Ryan Jack is the lowest-ranked wrestler of the group but went 2-0 against McNeil and was one second away from beating Hardy at this tournament last season. 

Watch Ryan Jack’s crazy and controversial 2022 CKLV semifinal with Brock Hardy below.

null

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In



Contenders

#8 Vince Cornella, Cornell

#9 Kal Miller, Maryland

#10 Josh Koderhandt, Navy

#30 Anthony Echemendia, Iowa State

The big name here is Anthony Echemendia. Cyclone fans will probably say I should have included him in the favorites category after his controversial loss to Real Woods on Sunday, but he hasn’t earned that yet. I expect Echemendia to perform very well, but I don’t think he’s ready to win a tournament like this yet.

I’m giving Cornella the best shot of these four to actually win this tournament. People forget because he went 1-2 at NCAAs, but Cornella was really good last season. And those two losses were being up huge on Casey Swiderski before getting mixered and pinned with 12 seconds to go and a 2-1 tiebreaker loss to McNeil. His one real loss this season was a crazy close match with Beau Bartlett.

Watch Vince Cornella and Beau Bartlett’s razor-thin match from earlier this season.

null

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In



Sleepers & Landmines

Tagen Jamison, Oklahoma State

I really like Tagen Jamison as a sleeper. He’s racked up wins in freestyle like Casey Swiderski and Cody Chittum but has yet to prove himself in folkstyle as he went 0-0 in his redshirt season at Minnesota last year. Now he’s at Oklahoma State and 5-0 on the season with a win over teammate Sammy Alvarez. I expect the broader national college audience to be put on notice this weekend.


141 Prediction

  1. Jesse Mendez
  2. Ryan Jack
  3. Lachlan McNeil
  4. Brock Hardy