LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- The No. 16-ranked University of Michigan wrestling team posted four individual placewinners, including runner-up finishes from junior Rossi Bruno and freshman Alec Pantaleo, to claim seventh place (86 points) at the 33rd annual Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational on Saturday (Dec. 6) at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Bruno, seeded third at 133 pounds, lost to Minnesota's top-seeded -- and second-ranked -- Chris Dardanes, 8-3, in the championship final. Dardanes scored on three takedowns -- one in each period -- and rode for 1:03. Bruno got in on a few leg attacks but could not finish. It is Bruno's second straight year placing at the Las Vegas tournament; he took fifth last season.
Bruno used riding time to defeat Nebraska Kearney's 10th-seeded Daniel DeShazer, 2-1, in the semifinal round. The Wolverine wrestler scored a quick escape in the second and rode for 1:12 advantage time in the third to secure the decision.
Pantaleo, unseeded in his CKLV debut at 149 pounds, dropped a close 4-0 decision against Cornell's top-seeded -- and sixth-ranked -- Chris Villalonga in his championship match. After a scoreless first period, Villalonga escaped early in the second before finishing on a single leg. He rode out the third period to accumulate 2:16 in time advantage.
Pantaleo finished on four takedowns en route to an 8-7 decision over Hofstra's third-seeded -- and 15th-ranked -- Cody Ruggirello in the semifinals. The Wolverine rookie scored twice in the first period, but Ruggirello scored late himself to knot the score. After scoring again in the second, Pantaleo fought off a deep Hostra single-leg shot to spin behind and secure the deciding takedown midway through the third.
Sophomore Adam Coon, seeded second at heavyweight, bounced back from a disappointing loss in the semifinal round to earn a third-place finish. Virginia Tech's third-seeded -- and ninth-ranked -- Ty Walz dealt Coon his first loss of the season, scoring on single legs in the first and second periods to claim a 5-3 decision.
Coon cruised past Ohio State's fourth-seeded Nick Tavanello, 11-4, in the consolation semifinals behind four takedowns and 1:24 riding time, before knocking off Minnesota's ninth-seeded Michael Kroells, 3-2, in the third-place contest. Coon tossed Kroells early in the first period but was off the mat, settling instead for a takedown later in the frame.
Freshman Davonte Mahomes, seeded eighth at 174 pounds, rounded out the Wolverines' placewinners with a sixth-place finish in his CKLV debut. He took Iowa State's third-seeded Tanner Weatherman into overtime before narrowly falling, 7-5, in the consolation semifinals. Mahomes led late in that contest after takedowns of his own in the second and third, but Weatherman evened the score on a takedown with 15 seconds left in regulation and finished on a single leg in sudden victory.
Mahomes opened the day with a 7-5 overtime win over North Dakota State's 10th-seeded -- and 16th-ranked -- Kurtis Julson. Mahomes struck first in the bout, but Julson finished on an attack midway through the third to even the score. After both wrestlers escaped in the first tiebreaker, Mahomes finished on a single-leg attack in the sudden-victory frame to guarantee placing in his CKLV Invitational debut.
Michigan suffered a tough morning wrestleback round as junior/sophomore Conor Youtsey, sophomore/freshmanGeorge Fisher, sophomore Brian Murphy and sophomore Domenic Abounader dropped their first matches while junior/sophomore Taylor Massa withdrew after defaulting out of his quarterfinal match last night. All were eliminated from the competition, just missing on valuable placing points.
The Wolverines are done for the semester and will take a competitive break for final exams and the holidays before returning in the New Year for the Southern Scuffle, slated for Jan. 1-2, in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Hosted by UTC, the tournament is slated for a 10 a.m. day-one start at McKenzie Arena.
Final Team Standings (Top 10)
1. Minnesota 146
2. Ohio State 120
3. Virginia Tech 110
4. Iowa State 106
5. Cornell 93.5
6. Nebraska 89
7. MICHIGAN 86
8. Virginia 73
9. North Carolina State 66
10. Oregon State 56