NC State Wrestling Takes On Tough Field At Las Vegas Invitational
Dec. 2, 2004
RALEIGH, N.C. - In its last outing before the spring semester, the NC State wrestling team will participate in its final early-season tournament of the season this weekend at the 23rd annual Cliff Keen Las Vegas Wrestling Invitational.
The Cliff Keen tournament is generally considered the strongest in-season tournament of its kind in college wrestling, and this year's event features six teams ranked in the national top 20 and 67 individuals who are nationally ranked.
The Wolfpack heads to Las Vegas after a strong third-place finish at the Navy Classic, but the Las Vegas Invitational will be a much sterner test for first-year head coach Carter Jordan's squad. Third-ranked Nebraska headlines a strong field that also includes 10th-ranked West Virginia, 11th-ranked Cornell, 13th-ranked Cal Poly, 14th-ranked Missouri, and 19th-ranked Purdue.
"This is probably not as quite strong a field as this tournament has had the last few years, but believe me, it's more than good enough," Jordan said. "This will be a great test for us. I want us to build on what we did at Navy, but we'll have to wrestle much better than we did at Navy because this field is so much stronger."
Redshirt-sophomore Garrett Cummings, ranked 19th nationally at 125 pounds, leads NC State with a 6-0 record, but the bracket he faces at 125 pounds includes four others nationally ranked, including No. 4 Vic Moreno of Cal Poly and No. 8 Matt Keller of Nebraska.
While all 10 weight classes will be demanding this weekend, none will be more challenging than the 133-pound class, which includes five of the top six wrestlers in the current Amateur Wrestling News rankings and 10 of the top 20, including top-ranked Travis Lee of Cornell, No. 2 Chris Fleeger of Purdue and No. 3 Darrell Vasquez of Cal Poly. The Wolfpack's Jeff Breese, a redshirt-sophomore, will have his hands full.
In all the field includes three wrestlers ranked No. 1 in their respective weight classes, and 31 who are ranked in the top 10.
The Wolfpack will take a nine-man squad to Las Vegas:
125 - Garrett Cummings (6-0), R-So., Bloomsburg, Pa.
NC State's Ryan Nowicki (1-3), a redshirt-freshman from Bethlehem, Pa., and the starter at 165, is being held from competition as a medical precaution. Nowicki is nursing a slight knee injury, but is not expected to miss any time beyond this weekend.