2017 Cliff Keen Las Vegas Collegiate Wrestling Invitational

2017 CKLV Middleweight Preview: 149-174

2017 CKLV Middleweight Preview: 149-174

Previews and predictions for 149lbs, 157lbs, 165lbs and 174lbs at the this weekend's Cliff Keen Las Vegas.

Nov 29, 2017 by Wrestling Nomad
2017 CKLV Middleweight Preview: 149-174

The 2017 Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational is once again shaping up to be an incredible tournament.

Over half of the nation's ranked wrestlers will be competing this weekend as well as nine of the top 20 teams.

The 2017 edition of the CKLV kicks off at 9 AM Pacific time, so be sure you're tuned in to watch LIVE on Flo. Brackets will be on FloArena and we will be sure to post those as soon as they become available.

Lightweight Preview + Predictions | Upperweight Preview + Predictions | Projected Team Scores

149 Pounds

Ranked Wrestlers

No. 3 Max Thomsen (Northern Iowa), SO: 6-0

No. 5 Colton McCrystal (Nebraska), SR: 6-0

No. 6 Troy Heilmman (North Carolina), SR: 8-0

No. 8 Solomon Chishko (Virginia Tech), JR: 5-2

No. 9 Justin Oliver (Central Michigan), JR: 5-1

No. 11 Ke-Shawn Hayes (Ohio State), SO: 8-0

No. 14 Josh Maruca (Arizona State), SO: 8-2

No. 18 Jarrett Degen (Iowa State), FR: 5-1

No. 19 Davion Jeffries (Oklahoma), JR: 7-5

Commentary: Four men enter undefeated, so something's gotta give. Max Thomsen has climbed to No. 3 in the rankings but will get his first legitimate test since the All-Star Classic. He has never wrestled Colton McCrystal or Troy Heilmann but has the most recent wins against Solomon Chishko and Justin Oliver. However, Thomsen did lose to Davon Jeffries in their only meeting last year.

McCrystal started his sophomore year at 133, wrestled all of last year at 141, and is now a top five guy at 149. Both he and the sixth-ranked Heilmann made big jumps after pinning highly ranked opponents, and I for one hope they match up this weekend.

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The last undefeated wrestler is Ke-Shawn Hayes, also up a weight this year. Hayes did not compete in this event last year due to a season-ending injury, so there may be some extra incentive for him to show out this weekend.

Chishko was the top seed last year, only to drop to sixth after losing a razor-thin match to Pat Lugo and then getting pinned by Cole Mendenhall. The two-time All American has looked underwhelming so far this season, with all five of his wins coming by either one or two points, though one of those was over No. 9 Justin Oliver, who was third last year and is the highest returning placer.

Nomad's Picks

1. Max Thomsen 2. Ke-Shawn Hayes 3. Colton McCrystal 4. Troy Heilmann


Pre-seeds Released


157 Pounds

Ranked Wrestlers

No. 4 Tyler Berger (Nebraska), JR: 5-0

No. 5 Josh Shields (Arizona State), SO: 6-0

No. 6 Micah Jordan (Ohio State), JR: 6-1

No. 9 Mitch Finesilver (Duke), JR: 10-0

No. 10 Clay Ream (North Dakota State), SR: 5-1

No. 12 Alec Pantaleo (Michigan), JR: 0-2

No. 13 Jake Short (Minnesota), SR: 4-3

No. 14 Collin Heffernan (Central Michigan), SR; 4-2

No. 15 Paul Fox (Stanford), JR: 4-1

No. 17 Archie Colgan (Wyoming), SR: 9-2

No. 18 Andrew Crone (Wisconsin), SR: 8-3

No. 19 Taleb Rahmani (Pittsburgh), SO: 5-2

No. 20 Justin Staudenmayer (Brown), SR: 9-1

Commentary: Josh Shields is on absolute tear this year, with six of his eight wins coming against top 20 opponents. I've mentioned for other weights my concerns with guys winning close, but that narrative changes a bit when the guys you're wrestling are NCAA qualifier or even All-American caliber.

Next on his hit list may be a revenge match against Tyler Berger, who beat Shields in overtime at Midlands last year by spinning out of a single. Berger's early-season schedule has been no cakewalk either, with three wins against ranked opponents, all of whom will be in Vegas.

We also have to of course talk about the only weight with two returning champs, as No. 6 Micah Jordan is up from 149 and No. 13 Jake Short returns for the Gophers. In fact, this bracket returns the most placers in general, with six overall (seven if Alex Mossing of Air Force makes his season debut).

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This is the tournament in which I really learned a lot about Paul Fox after a great match he had with Brian Murphy, and as we all know, Fox would go on to be an All-American. Collin Heffernan was Short's finals opponent last year, beating Shields in the semis.

Nomad's Picks

1. Josh Shields 2. Tyler Berger 3. Micah Jordan 4. Mitch Finesilver


Top Tier Freshmen


165 Pounds

Ranked Wrestlers

No. 3 Logan Massa (Michigan), SO: 6-0

No. 4 David McFadden (Virginia Tech), SO: 11-0

No. 7 Te'Shan Campbell (Ohio State), JR: 7-0

No. 8 Anthony Valencia (Arizona State), SO: 6-3

No. 9 Nick Wanzek (Minnesota), SR: 6-1

No. 11 Isaiah White (Nebraska), FR: 5-1

No. 12 Branson Ashworth (Wyoming), JR: 7-1

No. 13 Keilan Torres (Northern Colorado), SR: 3-1

No. 15 Evan Wick (Wisconsin), FR: 9-1

No. 17 Jake Wentzel (Pittsburgh), FR: 6-3

No. 18 Lorenze De La Riva (CSUB), SO: 6-4

No. 19 Andrew Fogarty (North Dakota State), SO: 10-3

No. 20 Demetrius Romero (Utah Valley), SO: 14-2

Commentary: Oh boy, this one will be fun. I said I was very intrigued about a David McFadden/Logan Massa final, but that was before considering how good Te'Shan Campbell is on top. Massa is one of the most complete wrestlers in the country from all three positions, and never takes a match off. One of my favorite guys to watch right now. McFadden is rangy and hard to finish on from neutral, but Campbell's top game should concern the Virginia Tech coaches.

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Last year, we saw Anthony Valencia beat Branson Ashworth to make the semis but then lose to him on the backside. Add in a guy such as Isaiah White, who has already beaten Ashworth and Andrew Forgarty but lost to Wanzek, and we'll have some great arguments once the seeds come out.

Evan Wick has done excellent so far this year, particularly for a freshman. He has five bonus-point wins and also has beaten DaWaylon Barnes and Jake Wentzel. Keilan Torres has not wrestled since the Cowboy Open, so hopefully we see him to add some good depth.

Nomad's Picks

1. Logan Massa 2. Te'Shan Campbell 3. David McFadden 4. Isaiah White


9 Can't Miss, Gotta See Matches


174 Pounds

Ranked Wrestlers

No. 1 Zahid Valencia (Arizona State), SO: 4-0

No. 3 Bo Jordan (Ohio State), SR: 7-1

No. 5 Myles Amine (Michigan), SO: 3-2

No. 7 Taylor Lujan (Northern Iowa), SO: 9-0

No. 8 Brandon Womack (Cornell), JR: 5-1

No. 9 Jadaen Bernstein (Navy), SR: 6-0

No. 11 Yoanse Mejias (Oklahoma), SR: 9-2

No. 12 Drew Hughes (Michigan State), SO: 4-2

No. 13 Ethan Ramos (North Carolina), SR: 5-2

No. 16 Christian Brucki (Central Michigan), SR: 4-3

No. 17 Keaton Subjeck (Stanford), SR: 8-0

No. 18 Ben Harvey (Army West Point), SO: 5-3

No. 19 Will Schany (Virginia), JR: 8-1

Commentary: No one has been more impressive so this year than Zahid Valencia, and this was the tournament last year in which we realized he could be a title contender. In consecutive order, he beat Myles Amine, Lelund Weatherspoon (coming off an All-American finish in 2016), and Brian Realbuto.

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Bo Jordan and Myles Amine have already fallen victim to Valencia, but only one of them will make it to the finals for a rematch. Jordan took their only match last season, 14-8 in the Big Ten semis. Amine also finished third at CKLV last season, coming in as the seven seed.

It may be boring, but I'm predicting this weight goes chalk, at least at the top four. Taylor Lujan has already beaten Brandon Womack, and I like him in a tournament setting to place highly due to his varied offense.

The EIWA is well represented with Womack, undefeated Jadaen Bernstein, and Ben Harvey. Ethan Ramos gives this weight a fifth All-American, and Christian Brucki was fifth at last year's CKLV in this weight.

Nomad's Picks

1. Zahid Valencia 2. Bo Jordan 3. Myles Amine 4. Taylor Lujan