This weekend, Northwestern Wrestling will head to Las Vegas for the annual Cliff Keen invitational, their first invitational of the year.
With 133 star Sebastian Rivera (3-0) being absent in order to wrestle with Puerto Rico’s national team, three Wildcat wrestlers enter the tournament with top-10 pre-seeds in their respective divisions.
Yahya Thomas (2-1) is the 8th seed at 149, a class that will be stacked with experienced wrestlers. At 157, Ryan Deakin (3-0) is the 2nd seed, placed only behind NC State’s Hayden Hidlay (8-0), the consensus #1 wrestler at that class. Finally, at 197, R-FY Lucas Davison (3-0) has been given the 10th pre-seed.
Northwestern will post a wrestler at the other seven weight classes as well, with Jack Tolin (0-2) being the possible fill-in for Rivera at 133.
The most interesting class to watch seems to be 197, which could very well see a #1 vs #2 matchup Saturday evening with Deakin and Hidlay. The two faced off at last season’s NCAA Championship, with Hidlay topping Deakin with an 8-2 decision.
The invitational is formatted as a 32-man bracket, with consolation matches to determine places 3-8 along with the championship matches. Friday will feature the round of 32 through the championship quarterfinals, along with the consolation rounds between losers of the early rounds. Saturday will only feature placewinners (1st through 8th), which Northwestern is hoping to have a handful of.
First round matches start on Friday at 9 am PST. Live coverage and schedules for the event can be found here.