This weekend the Stanford wrestling team travels to Las Vegas for the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Collegiate Wrestling Invitational. The tournament starts on Friday, Dec. 2 and finishes on Saturday, Dec. 3.
Stanford has never competed in the Vegas Invitational, one of the premier collegiate competitions in the country, and looks to bring forward a strong showing against the nation’s top competition. Numerous top-25 teams will be competing, including Northwestern and Missouri, two of the country’s best teams that have already beaten Stanford.
Other teams to watch this weekend are Stanford’s fellow Pac-12 members: Arizona State, Boise State, Cal State Bakersfield and Oregon State. Although it is early in the season, matches against Pac-12 opponents have special importance because they will determine seeding in the Pac-12 Tournament and possibly the NCAA Tournament.
There is no doubt that all eyes will be on redshirt senior No. 1 Nick Amuchastegui (174 pounds) and junior No. 5 Ryan Mango (133 pounds). Both wrestlers are undefeated this season, and Amuchastegui and Mango will both be contenders for not only All-American honors this season, but also national championships.
But it’s not just Amuchastegui and Mango who need to send a message this weekend — the entire team will be looking to show that they can compete with the best in the country. The Card has lost three matches in a row — all to ranked opponents — and a successful weekend in Las Vegas would help the Cardinal garner national respect.
This weekend’s measure of success for Stanford will be how many wrestlers advance to Saturday. Friday will consist first of play-in matches to place the lower-seeded competitors into the 32-man bracket. Following those initial rounds, the tournament will proceed through the quarterfinal matches and two consolation rounds. If a wrestler makes it to Saturday, there is a good chance he can place and earn points for his team.
The Cardinal takes to the mat in Las Vegas this Friday and Saturday.