Peter Capone was one six Buckeyes to reach the semifinals (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
LAS VEGAS -- Cam Tessari entered this week's Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational with little pressure. The true sophomore returning All-American from Ohio State suffered two losses in the first month of the season, which he chalked up to nerves and having a target on his back. Those losses caused Tessari's ranking to drop from No. 5 to No. 13. He came into this week's event seeded sixth at 149 pounds.
Cam TessariBut after a 3-0 day on Friday, Tessari now finds himself in the semifinals, two wins away from a Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational championship.
"I feel like I've been wrestling pretty well this weekend," said Tessari, who advanced to Saturday morning's semifinals by pinning surprise quarterfinalist Tanner Hiatt of Northern Iowa. "After my first tournament this year I didn't get what I expected, so I've been working real hard. I've been real pleased with the way I've been wrestling so far this tournament."
Tessari will now face All-American Jason Chamberlain of Boise State in the semifinals. Chamberlain was a Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational champion in 2010 and redshirted last season.
"I've never wrestled Chamberlain, but I've watched him wrestle," said Tessari. "He's a great athlete."
Tessari and the Buckeyes lead the team race after Day 1 at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, and have six wrestlers in the semifinals. Two of those wrestlers are Tessari's high school teammates from Monroeville (Ohio), Logan Stieber (133) and Hunter Stieber, both top seeds.
Tessari said he feeds off the Stieber brothers.
"It's a competition," said Tessari. "If they go out there and do well, and I don't, I'm going to get crap for that. But I'm going to do the same thing if it's the other way around."
Ohio State's three other semifinalists are Nikko Triggas (125), Andrew Campolattano (197), and Peter Capone (285).
Missouri finished the day in second place, 4.5 points behind Ohio State and 27 points in front of third place teams Cornell and Oregon State.
The Tigers, like the Buckeyes, advanced six wrestlers to the semifinals.
Missouri's Alan Waters cruised to the semifinals at 125 pounds with a pin and two major decisions despite not feeling well.
"I'm not feeling the greatest, but I've been getting some good wins and pushing through it," said Waters. So I think I'm doing fine with how I'm feeling, but hopefully I'll feel better tomorrow."
Waters will now face Ohio State's Nikko Triggas, a 2010 All-American, which will be a critical match from a team standpoint with both wrestlers being on the top two teams.
"I think that will be a big match to get some teams point and help our team out," said Waters. "We're not very far behind Ohio State. It's real close."
Missouri's other semifinalists are Nathan McCormick (133), Zach Toal (165), Mike Larson (184), Brent Haynes (197), and Dom Bradley (285).
Two No. 1 seeds were upset on Friday night: Oregon State's Scott Sakaguchi (149) and Nebraska's James Green (157).
Sakaguchi fell to Nebraska's Jake Sueflohn 9-7 in sudden victory, while Green suffered a 7-6 loss to Virginia's Jedd Moore.
Jedd MooreMoore fell behind early, but battled back to win on the strength of his top wrestling.
"I knew I had to ride him," said Moore, who entered the tournament seeded ninth. "That's been a big problem with me in the past. I don't know ... for whatever reason I get bored on top sometimes. I was pretty diligent on top. I just tried to keep the pressure on him and keep the pace high. That's where I'm best."
Moore, a senior, failed to qualify for the NCAA tournament last season after a disappointing ACC tournament, which he described as a "bad day on the wrong day."
Now Moore just wants to finish his college wrestling career strong.
"So far this year I've been doing a good job of not putting pressure on myself," said Moore. "I just wrestle and have fun and let the score take care of itself. I would rather go hard and lose than be conservative."
Team Standings (Top Ten)
1. Ohio State 85
2. Missouri 80.5
3. Cornell 53.5
3. Oregon State 53.5
5. Nebraska 50
6. Virginia 49
7. Air Force 42
8. Boise State 39.5
9. Wyoming 34.5
10. Wisconsin 32.5
No. 4 Alan Waters (Missouri) vs. 11 Nikko Triggas (Ohio State)
No. 10 Nahshon Garrett (Cornell) vs. Josh Martinez (Air Force)
No. 1 Logan Stieber (Ohio State) vs. Devon Lotito (Cal Poly)
No. 8 Nathan McCormick (Missouri) vs. No. 17 George DiCamillo (Virginia)
No. 2 Hunter Stieber (Ohio State) vs. No. 9 Mike Nevinger (Cornell)
No. 4 Michael Mangrum (Oregon State) vs. No. 8 Tyler Graff (Wisconsin)
No. 10 Cole VonOhlen (Air Force) vs. No. 17 Jake Sueflohn (Nebraska)
No. 5 Jason Chamberlain (Boise State) vs. No. 13 Cam Tessari (Ohio State)
Jedd Moore (Virginia) vs. Gabe Martinez (Air Force)
No. 18 R.J. Pena (Oregon State) vs. Andy McCulley (Wyoming)
No. 1 Kyle Dake (Cornell) vs. No. 15 Zach Toal (Missouri)
No. 7 Nick Sulzer (Virginia) vs. No. 8 Steven Monk (North Dakota State)
No. 8 Robert Kokesh (Nebraska) vs. No. 15 Matt Miller (Navy)
No. 13 Dan Yates (Michigan) vs. Blake Stauffer (Arizona State)
No. 6 Josh Ihnen (Nebraska) vs. No. 12 Jake Swartz (Boise State)
No. 7 Ryan Loder (Northern Iowa) vs. No. 9 Mike Larson (Missouri)
No. 1 Dustin Kilgore (Kent State) vs. Andrew Campolattano (Ohio State)
No. 4 Alfonso Hernandez (Wyoming) vs. No. 5 Brent Haynes (Missouri)
No. 2 Dom Bradley (Missouri) vs. No. 15 Connor Medbery (Wisconsin)
No. 6 Chad Hanke (Oregon State) vs. No. 18 Peter Capone (Ohio State)