No. 12 Virginia Takes Eighth at Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational
Dec. 6, 2014
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The 12th-ranked Virginia wrestling team finished eighth at the prestigious Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, hosted Friday and Saturday at the Las Vegas Convention Center. UVa racked up 73 points, as Nick Sulzer (R-Sr., Cleveland, Ohio) captured the championship at 165 pounds, while Blaise Butler (R-Jr., Belvidere, Ill.) scored a huge upset en route to a runner-up finish at 174.
“What a great tournament this was,” Virginia head coach Steve Garland said. “The competition out here is amazing and I’m just thankful that our program could come out here and wrestle. Nick Sulzer did what Nick Sulzer does: he won and controlled the tournament. Blaise Butler is for real and now the country knows that. George DiCamillo and Joe Spisak wrestled their tails off as well. We are really proud of the way our guys fought out here overall and I think we took another step in the journey to an NCAA team trophy.”
The top seed at 165 pounds and ranked second nationally, Sulzer held off ninth-ranked Taylor Walsh of Indiana, 4-2, in the championship bout; the win marked Sulzer’s 100th career victory. Sulzer moved into Virginia’s top 10 for career wins Saturday and is now tied for ninth in program history. Earlier in the day, he cruised to a 13-6 decision over 12th-ranked Cooper Moore of Northern Iowa in the semifinals. Sulzer upped his record to 10-0 this season.
Butler, the No. 5 seed in the tournament and ranked ninth nationally, scored one of the tournament’s big upsets in the semifinals as he rallied for a 9-7 win in sudden-victory time over Minnesota’s Logan Storley, a three-time All-American and currently ranked No. 1 nationally. Butler dropped the championship match to second-ranked Robert Kokesh of Nebraska, 6-2.
Ranked 10th nationally and the No. 4 seed at 133, DiCamillo took second-ranked Chris Dardanes of Minnesota to the wire in the semifinals Saturday before falling 5-4. DiCamillo then went toe-to-toe with second-seeded and eighth-ranked Johnni DiJulius before dropping a 6-5 match in the second tiebreak period.
The fourth seed and ranked ninth nationally, Spisak took seventh place with a 5-2 decision over Mitch Bengtson of North Dakota State. Earlier in the wrestlebacks Saturday, Spisak topped Michigan’s George Fisher, 10-4, before dropping a 14-5 major decision to West Virginia’s Mike Morales.
Heavyweight Collin Campbell saw his tournament come to an end with a 3-1 loss in sudden-victory time to sixth-seeded and 10th-ranked Evan Knutson of North Dakota State.
Virginia returns to dual action on Dec. 20 at Bucknell before taking time off for the holidays.
Final Tournament Standings
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. NC State, 66
10. Oregon State, 56