ROCK SPRINGS, WYOMING (Dec. 4, 2019) — The Wyoming wrestling squad returns to action after a week hiatus as the Pokes head to the desert for their biggest regular-season tournament of the season, Dec. 6-7 as the Cowboys travel to the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational.
Both days of the tournament are slated to begin at 10 a.m., Mountain Time with the finals and placing matches beginning at 4 p.m., Saturday.
“It’s one of the biggest in-season tournaments in the country,” said Head Coach Mark Branch.
“Some of the top teams, including top-10 teams will be in the field. You’re going to have the opportunity to face-off against some top-10, top-5 opponents individually. We’re going to see multiple All-Americans, there’s going to be National Champions that are there, we’re going to have a huge opportunity to introduce ourselves, so to speak,” he said. “
We have some guys that need to do that and are very capable of going in and having an outstanding performance and knocking off ranked guys and traditionally we’ve done that. We’ve had guys that have out-performed their seed or their rank and those are things that can really carry you through the season,” Branch claimed.
Historically, the Cliff Keen is one of the toughest college tournament fields in the country, and this year is no different as the CKLV Invite will feature 16 top-25 teams in the 32-team field, including No. 3 Nebraska, No. 4 North Carolina State, No. 5 Ohio State, No. 6 Iowa State, No. 7 Arizona State and eighth-ranked Northern Iowa. Additionally, over 100 ranked wrestlers will be at the event based on Flo rankings.
“We don’t get a lot of opportunities in a tournament of this magnitude and against this type of caliber of teams. You want to take advantage of it, so it’s exciting. It’s exciting to see what some of our young kids can do and I’m looking forward to being in that atmosphere,” Branch said.
“You want to raise your level and rise to that occasion and that’s what I’m looking for from our team, and to compete for the best that they have so far in the young season. It’s a great opportunity for us and I’m looking forward to our team going out and introducing themselves in a lot of different ways,” continued Branch.
This will be the sixth trip the Cowboys will make to the invitational under Branch. Last season, the Pokes placed four in Sin City and finished 11th as a team. Current Cowboy volunteer assistant coach, Branson Ashworth was the top finisher last season as he took fifth at 165 pounds. Montorie Bridges is the highest-returning finisher as he placed sixth in 2018 at 133.
Tournament Schedule (All times MT)
Friday, Dec. 6
10 a.m. – Round 1 Pig Tail Championship, Round 2 of (32) Championship, Round 3 Consolation of (32), Round 4 Championship of (16), Consolation 1st of (16), Round 5 Consolation 2nd of (16)
7 p.m. – Round 6 Championship quarterfinals and Consolation Round 1st of (8)
Saturday, Dec. 7
10 a.m. – Round 7 Consolation 2nd of (8)
11 a.m. – Round 8 Championship semifinals, Round 9 Consolation semifinals, Consolation finals, 5th and 6th, 7th and 8th places
4 p.m. – Championship finals and 3rd and 4th places