This past weekend the Cardinal wrestling team headed to Las Vegas for the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Collegiate Wrestling Invitational. The tournament brought together some of the best teams in the country, and the Cardinal wrestlers couldn’t quite hang with the best, finishing in 25th place out of the 34 teams.
The team went into the event with eight wrestlers, representing each weight class except 125 pounds and 157 pounds. The team had two placed winners<\p>–<\p>No. 5 junior Ryan Mango at 133 pounds and No. 1 redshirt senior Nick Amuchastegui at 174 pounds. Mango finished in seventh place, and Amuchastegui finished in sixth.
Amuchastegui started off the tournament with three consecutive wins and looked very impressive. He pinned Kyle Sweedman of North Idaho College in the first period, beat Monte Shmaulhaus of Utah Valley 5-1 and dominated Kurtis Julson of North Dakota State 8-2. However, the top-ranked wrestler had to forfeit the remainder of his matches due to injury, keeping his record at an impressive 11-0 on the season.
Mango’s first match was a major decision victory over Alex Annunciation of Cal Baptist, but he lost his next match to Zach Zehner of Wyoming. Mango then won three straight matches, one of which was a 3-2 decision over Pac-12 opponent Garrett Drucker of Oregon State, an important victory for conference seeding down the road. Mango lost his next match but then destroyed Aaron Kalil of Navy 17-5 to make his record 13-2 this year.
Other wrestlers who won matches were sophomore Alan Yen at 197 pounds and sophomore Dan Scherer at heavyweight. Yen went 1-2 in Las Vegas, losing to Nick Tenpenny of North Carolina and Simas Norkus of Western Wyoming. But Yen did beat Chace Eskam of Arizona State by a convincing score of 8-1. As with Mango, a solid Pac-12 win will mean a lot down the line.
Scherer wrestled four close matches, winning 5-0 against Jowan Gill of Indiana and 5-0 against Paul Snyder of Hofstra while losing 5-0 to Levi Cooper of Arizona State and 2-1 to Brandon Williamson of West Virginia.
The Card will next travel to Reno on Dec. 18 for the Reno Tournament of Champions.