NEW YORK - The Columbia wrestling team will return to Las Vegas this weekend for the 35th annual Cliff Keen Invitational.
Wrestling will get under way on Friday morning at 9 a.m. local time, with pig tail rounds followed by the Round of 32 in the championship bracket. Friday afternoon will include a consolation round, and the round of 16, followed by an evening session that will see the quarterfinal round.
Saturday will have a similar schedule, with 5th and 7th place matches taking place at 10 a.m., followed by the Championship and 3rd place matches starting at 3 p.m.
The tournament will provide a strong early season test for the Lions, who are among 35 teams in the field. Among the participating teams, No. 4 Ohio State, No. 5 Virginia Tech and No. 7 Cornell are all ranked in the top-10 by Intermat.
Columbia is coming off a pair of dual match losses during the Grapple at the Garden this past Sunday, when the Lions fell to No. 17 Rutgers and Maryland.
Heavyweight Garrett Ryan won both his matches on Sunday, improving to 6-0 during his junior campaign. Ryan came in at No. 20 in the latest heavyweight rankings, and will look to improve on his pair of wins at the Cliff Keen Invitational from last year.
The heavyweight bracket will be loaded at the top in Las Vegas, with NCAA Champion and Olympic gold medalist Kyle Snyder from Ohio State set to wrestle. The bracket also includes No. 2 Connor Medbery (Wisconsin), No. 3 Ty Walz (Virginia Tech), and No. 4 Tanner Hall (Arizona State).
Also picking up a win on Sunday was rookie Alec Kelly, who pinned Maryland's Alex Vargas in the second period of the second dual. Kelly is off to a 4-2 start at 133 pounds, and will see three wrestlers ranked in the top-nine of his weight class this weekend.
Junior Tyrel White had a strong start last year at the Cliff Keen Invitational, winning his first two matches in the Championship bracket. The 165-pounder is 4-4 this season, and will hope to make some noise as the No. 20 ranked wrestler in his weight class.
Two seasons ago at the CKLV, then first-year Jacob Macalolooy went 2-2, earning a victory via fall in his first match. The junior at 141 is 5-3 this season, with a third place finish to his name from the New York State Championships.
Columbia will also see New York State Champion Austin Coniker (174), Dan Reed (149) who took second at the N.Y. State Championships, Brock Morgan (149) who finished seventh at the same tournament, Tyler Ponte (157), Jacob Young (184) and Matt Doggett (197).