Ohio State won its second straight CKLV Invitational title (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
LAS VEGAS -- On Saturday, Ohio State won its second straight Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational title, edging Missouri by a point, but it was far from a perfect performance for the fifth-ranked Buckeyes.
"It was a weekend of ups and downs," said Ohio State coach Tom Ryan. "It's good to get the team win. But when you look deeper than the team win you see things that are concerning."
Ohio State's Logan Stieber was named Outstanding Wrestler (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)Two Buckeyes, Logan Stieber (133) and Hunter Stieber (141), claimed individual titles, but no other Ohio State wrestler placed in the top three in their respective weight class and three failed to place. Ohio State was without All-American Nick Heflin (174), who injured his hand in practice.
Logan Stieber, a returning NCAA champion, finished the tournament with four pins and a 12-1 major decision over No. 8 Tyler McCormick of Missouri in the finals at 133 pounds. He was named Most Outstanding Wrestler.
Hunter Stieber won his title by defeating Oregon State's Michael Mangrum 9-6 in a rematch of last year's Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational final at 141 pounds won by Mangrum.
"I just needed to stay offensive the whole time," said Hunter. "I needed to work my stuff and couldn't let him get on a roll."
The two wrestlers have now split four matches over the past two seasons, alternating wins.
"We know what each other is going to do," said Hunter. "It comes down to who can execute better, who has a better game plan, even who feels better that day. We'll probably wrestle a few more times. He's a great competitor."
Ryan had high praise for the performance of the Stieber brothers.
"They try to score from every position," said Ryan. "There's no fear of using energy. The workload that goes into the points is the lesson. You've got to be willing to work to score the points. Both those guys do that. We've got to surround them with enough people to win some titles because Ohio State is about winning titles, and we've got to start winning some."
Missouri earned bookend titles with Alan Waters (125) and Dom Bradley (285).
Waters captured his title at 125 pounds by defeating 10th-ranked Nahshon Garrett of Cornell 6-4 in the championship match. It was a performance Waters was not satisfied with despite getting his hand raised.
"It didn't go how I wanted it to go," said Waters, who is ranked fourth at 125 pounds. "I have been wrestling bad this whole tournament. But I have to put it past me and look forward to my next tournament."
Missouri's other champion was heavyweight Dom Bradley, who topped Oregon State's Chad Hanke 3-2.
Jason Chamberlain of Boise State (149) and Kyle Dake of Cornell (165) joined Logan Stieber as two-time Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational champions.
Chamberlain, whose Las Vegas title came two seasons ago in December of 2010, came through a deep weight class to win the championship at 149 pounds. His road to the title on Saturday included a 6-4 semifinal win over All-American Cam Tessari of Ohio State and a 7-3 finals victory over 10th-ranked Cole VonOhlen of Air Force.
"My coaches talked a lot this tournament about scoring a lot of points, and just going out and trying to get as many points as you can that first period," said Chamberlain. "I was just trying to push the pace the whole tournament and wear on guys. That was kind of the key to the whole tournament."
Chamberlain is coming off a successful Olympic redshirt season in freestyle. He went 2-2 at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, where he notched a win over U.S. wrestling legend Cary Kolat. Chamberlain also won University Nationals, University World Team Trials, and represented the U.S. at the University World Championships in Kourtane, Finland.
Chamberlain said making the transition from freestyle back to folkstyle has not been too difficult, mostly because of his style.
"Wrestling is wrestling," said Chamberlain. "I wrestle a lot on my feet anyway. So the transition from folkstyle to freestyle isn't as difficult for me. Early on in the season I have been working a lot on the mat and I'm still kind of improving there. It's a little bit different, but I'm doing OK."
Chamberlain suffered a loss on Nov. 24 to Oregon State's Scott Sakaguchi, a wrestler he went 5-0 against during the 2010-11 season, which caused his ranking to drop.
"It just kind of refocused me a little bit," Chamberlain said of the loss. "For a couple days I was really ticked off about it. It's early in the year still. It's a good match not to lose. But to take a loss, it's better to do it early just so that you can change some things. I'm in the process of changing a few things."
Dake, a three-time NCAA champion who is looking to make history as the first wrestler ever to win four NCAA championships in four different weight classes, earned a 6-0 shutout victory over North Dakota State's Steven Monk in the championship match at 165 pounds.
"His coaches came up with a good game plan," said Dake. "All he wanted to do was try to ride side headlock. I got two takedowns. I got an escape. I got riding some riding time. I dominated all positions. That was an all right win. The first two-day tournament is a little tough."
Dake was dominant in his matches leading up to the finals, picking up two pins and two major decision victories.
"I'm trying to be more dominant this year," said Dake, who was fourth in Las Vegas as freshman, did not compete in the event as a sophomore, and won a title last year. "I'm really focusing on scoring points and then letting the pins come, instead of trying to force the pins."
Cornell finished third in the team standings behind Ohio State and Missouri. Six Big Red wrestlers placed, led by champion Dake and runner-up Garrett.
"We're real young," said Dake. "We have five freshmen starting for us right now, which is pretty impressive. They're just getting better each day. Each time they step on the mat they're getting better. By March I think they're going to be ready for the big show and people are going to be afraid of Cornell."
Oregon State finished fourth and had one champion, R.J. Pena (157). Pena's finals victory came over Virginia's Jedd Moore, 9-7.
Nebraska had a pair of champions in Robert Kokesh (174) and Josh Ihnen (184), which helped the Cornhuskers to a fifth-place finish. Kokesh won by medical forfeit over Michigan's Dan Yates at 174 pounds. Ihnen pinned Missouri's Mike Larson in the first period of their 184-pound finals match.
Kent State's Dustin Kilgore, an NCAA champion in 2011, was pushed in the finals at 197 pounds, but prevailed for a 5-4 victory over Wyoming's Alfonso Hernandez.
Team Standings (Top 10):
1. Ohio State 124.5
2. Missouri 123.5
3. Cornell 104.5
4. Oregon State 98.5
5. Nebraska 89.5
6. Boise State 76
7. Virginia 64.5
8. Northern Iowa 62.5
9. Wyoming 58
10. Navy 56
125: No. 4 Alan Waters (Missouri) dec. No. 10 Nahshon Garrett (Cornell), 6-4
133: No. 1 Logan Stieber (Ohio State) maj. dec. No. 8 Nathan McCormick (Missouri), 12-1
141: No. 2 Hunter Stieber (Ohio State) dec. No. 4 Michael Mangrum (Oregon State), 9-6
149: No. 5 Jason Chamberlain (Boise State) dec. No. 10 Cole VonOhlen (Air Force), 7-3
157: No. 18 R.J. Pena (Oregon State) dec. Jedd Moore (Virginia), 9-7
165: No. 1 Kyle Dake (Cornell) dec. No. 8 Steven Monk (North Dakota State), 6-0
174: No. 8 Robert Kokesh (Nebraska) won by medical forfeit over No. 13 Dan Yates (Michigan)
184: No. 6 Josh Ihnen (Nebraska) pinned No. 9 Mike Larson (Missouri), 2:14
197: No. 1 Dustin Kilgore (Kent State) dec. No. 4 Alfonso Hernandez (Wyoming), 5-4
285: No. 2 Dom Bradley (Missouri) dec. No. 6 Chad Hanke (Oregon State), 3-2