Tuesday, November 28, 2023

157 Cliff Keen Las Vegas Preview (Fri Dec 1st - Sat Dec 2nd)


157 lbs features 19 of the top 33 ranked wrestlers in the DI nation & eight of them are returning place-winners! Talk about an incredibly tough weight class to crack a win in the quarterfinals or the bloodround in order to bring home a medal.  This is most certainly a weight class that illustrates the wolves on top of the mountain & the wolves climbing the mountain.  Let's see who truly is hungrier. 

Peyton Robb

Our favorite here will be last year's champion Peyton Robb, who not only hopes to bring home an individual title but also hopes to help Nebraska to bring home its fourth CKLV team title in a row.  Not only is Robb last year's champion, he is also one of the only wrestlers entering the tournament that is looking for a fourth medal.  He also owns CKLV finishes of 7th & 5th.  Against the competition he has more than proven himself. 5-3 & 8-2 decisions as well as a 4:36 fall over Ed Scott, he also owns two victories over Trevor Chumbley (11-3 & 2-0).  He's completely owned Peyten Kellar 15-0 & 16-1 technical falls, as he also owns a 5-4 victory over Paddy Gallagher, a 7-2 decision over Cael Swensen & a 9-1 major over R.J. Weston.  He also owns a 16-0 tech over Chris Earnest. 

Jacori Teemer
Arizona State 

Unfortunately out with injury last season, Jacori Teemer is having to reestablish himself & refamiliarize himself with the wrestling community as he missed all of last year.  CKLV is most certainly the place to do so.  While he hasn't faced much of the competition other than a 14-5 major over Tommy Askey, it is safe to still assume based on resume alone that he's a title contender.  He was 8th here four seasons ago.

Bryce Andonian
Virginia Tech 

Hot on the trail of Robb & Teemer will be Virginia Tech's Bryce Andonian.  While not as relentless against his opponents, the caliber of W's is every bit as impressive.   A 7-4 win over Paddy Gallagher, he's defeated Peyten Kellar 7-6 & Will Lewan 6-4.  Sticking Tommy Askey in 37 seconds, he's defeated Ed Scott on four occasions (15-9, 24-10, 11-6 & 9-5). 

Will Lewan

The Wolverines will be right there with the Huskers in hunt for a CKLV team title.  In order to deny Nebraska of its fourth title in a row, Michigan is going to have to rely on guys like Will Lewan to step it up & do on the mat, what they can more than do on paper.  There's no reason at all to think Will Lewan couldn't win CKLV.  4th the past two seasons, he's defeated last year's champ Peyton Robb twice by scores of 4-3 & 3-1 s.v.  7-4 & 14-4 victories over Cael Swensen, he also owns a 3-2 decision over Trevor Chumbley & a 6-4 s.v. over Paddy Gallagher.  He's also defeated Tommy Askey by scores of 3-2 & 8-2. 

Ed Scott
North Carolina State

Here's a guy that is a danger to anyone that he steps on the mat with. No matter what's taken place in the past, Ed Scott is always game. For example, as stated earlier, he's lost to Bryce Andonian on four occasions. Nevertheless he let his nasty headlock do all the talking when he stuck Andonian at the 6:55 mark at last year's NCAA championships. So in other words, Scott can get hot in the right situations. Call it another gambling reference, this is Vegas afterall. Other victories over the competition include a 9-5 decision over Will Lewan, a 3-1 s.v. over Trevor Chumbley, a 4-0 decision over Cael Swensen & a 13-6 decision over Tommy Askey. 

Daniel Cardenas

Cardenas put together a very nice 24-3 record this past season, but he did so rather quietly. While diehard, fixated collegiate wrestling fans like myself are rather familiar with him, he remains a mystery to the more casual fan. If he were to come in here and upset his way to a title or even a top three finish, I think it'd generate a lot of conversation amongst the wrestling community.  Something that would not only be great for him, but also for Stanford as well as for collegiate wrestling in California as a whole. 

Trevor Chumbley

At the current state, Trevor Chumbley is one of those wrestlers that has established himself 9-12, who is on a mission to get to the tier of  8 or >.  Again, CKLV is a perfect place to do so.  5th here last season, among the competition such a finish would once again be essential to his success. Finishing higher would be the ticket into establishing himself as AA caliber.  6-3 & 6-2 decisions over Cael Swensen, he also owns a 5-3 s.v. over Paddy Gallagher & a 9-2 decision over Tommy Askey.

Cael Swensen
South Dakota State

Another returning CKLV place-winner from last season (6th), Cael Swensen is in a very similar situation to that of Trevor Chumbley.  One of those guys with a lot of talent, simply needs a few more caliber victories to really establish himself as a threat to All American by season's end. Thus far owns a 4-3 victory over Paddy Gallagher & also has both an 11-2 as well as a 7-2 victor over R.J. Weston. 

Joey Blaze

The young Boilermaker made a Hell of a statement recently by knocking off Ed Scott in a 4-1 s.v.  Is the freshman capable of more? It's really that simple.  We'll see what else he's got here in Vegas. 

Paddy Gallagher
Ohio State 

This guy has really stepped it up and impressed me this season. At the beginning of the year, it looked like he might not even be varsity as Sammy Sasso was also at this weight. Then tragedy struck Sasso putting him out for a while (perhaps the entire season?) and Gallagher has really stepped it up a notch.  He's in an extremely tough bracket here, but taking a top 8 finish is within his grasps. In a sport where we preach, "You only deserve what you earn", Gallagher has already "earned" quite a bit from my perspective.  Among the competition a 4-3 tiebreaker over Trevor Chumbley & a 7-5 decision over Peyten Kellar. 

Cody Chittum
Iowa State 

In order to be, you have to beat someone who already is. With eight returning place-winners at this weight class, you know not all of them are going to repeat with a top 8 performance.  Reason being, because others are going to come in and "steal" those spots.  Looking for a thief? We may very well have one here in Cody Chittum.  The young Cyclone recently gave Iowa's Jared Franek a scare in a tight 4-2 decision. Wouldn't surprise me at all to see him do well here in Vegas. 

Peyten Kellar

Kellar made it to the bloodround here last season, which would again be a very respectable finish amongst the competition in this bracket.  The goal of course is to finish top 8 or better, but in a tournament like this, even top 12 is saying something. 

Tommy Askey
Appalachian State

Tommy Askey wrestled a great CKLV last season to earn an 8th place finish.  He'll have to wrestle an even better tournament this year if he wants to repeat that success.  I could see him possibly getting a top 12 seed, but I could also see him getting a lower seed. It'll be one Hell of a challenge & if he's able to do it, he should be recognized accordingly for it. 

Meyer Shapiro

Meyer Shapiro has yet to face defeat in collegiate competition. Over all 19-0 in college matches. Not be be a Debbie Downer, but I'd say remaining undefeated after Vegas is all said & done, probably won't be the case. If it is, he'll be the talk of the tournament! Coming back down to Earth, I'd say it's more realistic that he could very well put on a great showing, but probably suffer some losses along the way. Garnering a few upsets wouldn't surprise me though. 

Jalin Harper
Oklahoma State

Here's a story in Stillwater you rarely see.  A senior getting his first real shot at the varsity position. Normally John Smith is all about guys that do it from day one, but Jalin Harper marks the four leaf clover as rare as astatine in the Cowboy lineup. He's placed at the Southern Scuffle & he's placed at RENO, so it's not completely out of the question that he could sneak into a top 8 showing here. Be a Hell of a statement too. 

Michael North

Well, we're heading West, but we still might see some North at CKLV.  You know as well as I do, we're gonna see some upsets at CKLV. As to predicting them, it's as doable as guessing which number the spinner will land on. Nevertheless, of those capable of pulling off some upsets, Michael North. 

Chris Earnest

With the departure of Coach Cary Kolat, the Campbell Camels still remain adamant that they are a team to be reckoned with. Among their talent, Chris Earnest. Haven't seen a whole lot out of him yet in his collegiate career, but if you're gonna start somewhere, CKLV is the place to start. 

Legend Lamer
Cal Poly 

Two seasons ago Legend Lamer had established himself as AA caliber competing at 149 lbs.  Among his notable victories, he also placed 7th here in Vegas.  Then last year he bumped up to 165 lbs, & didn't find it near as friendly.  Now he's testing the porridge out at 157 lbs.  149 too hot, 165 too cold, it may very well be 157 that is just right.  It takes nothing more than a great showing at a tough tournament to scream to the wrestling community, "I AM Back!!"  I mean the guy has the name, might as well make use of it. 

R.J. Weston
Northern Iowa 

If you ever talk to Coach Dough Schwab, the guy always seems grump, frustrated & upset about something. Often feels his team is shafted & disrespected in the rankings.  A professor gives one of his wrestlers an A in a class, Schwab slams his fist down on the podium & demands to know why it wasn't an A+.  I'm sure he feels that R.J. Weston deserves a higher ranking than #32.  In fact, I'd even place a small bet on it.  Maybe he's right. After all Weston does own an impressive 2-0 win over Cael Swensen. Perhaps he pull off some more impressive wins here in Vegas. 

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