Setting the Scene
What: Bucknell at Cliff Keen Invitational
When: Friday, Dec. 2 to Saturday, Dec. 3
Where: Las Vegas Convention Center (Las Vegas, Nev.)
The Field: Air Force, American, Arizona State, Army West Point, Binghamton, Boise State, Bucknell, Cal Poly, California Baptist, CSU Bakersfield, Central Michigan, Clarion, Columbia, Cornell, Eastern Michigan, Edinboro, Harvard, Iowa State, Kent State, Minnesota, Navy, Nebraska Kearney, North Idaho College, Northern Colorado, Ohio State, Oregon State, Purdue, Stanford, Michigan, Utah Valley University, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Western Wyoming, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Tickets: All Session Pass: ($40). Single Session Tickets: Preliminary Rounds ($15)/Championship Finals ($20).
Live Results: FloWrestling
About the Bison
-- Bucknell will be participating in its fourth consecutive road event to start the season. The Bison lost to No. 1 Oklahoma State and No. 12 Lehigh in the first two weeks of the 2016-17 season, and most recently earned a fourth-place finish at the Navy Classic.
-- This is the third straight year the Bison have competed at the Cliff Keen Invitational and fifth appearance since the 2008-09 season.
-- Bucknell finished in 10th place out of 40 teams at last year’s Invitational, a large improvement over the 25th-place finish from the prior season. Missouri took the title in the 40-team field.
-- Former Bison Paul Petrov and Rustin Barrick were placewinners at last year’s Cliff Keen Invitational. Petrov finished fifth at 125 pounds while Barrick finished seventh at 174 pounds.
-- Current Bison Tyler Smith was also a placewinner at the Invitational, finishing in sixth at the 141-pound weight class. He will look to improve upon that finish this year.
-- Bucknell is coming off of a fourth-place performance at the Navy Classic. Smith (141) and Victor Lopez (157) both won titles for the Bison.
-- Five other Bison were placewinners at the Navy Classic: Zach Firestone (4th at 133), Garrett Hoffman (6th at 184), Drew Phipps (2nd at 197), Tom Sleigh (3rd at 197), and Tyler Greene (5th at 285).
-- Lopez (at Oklahoma State), Hoffman (at Lehigh) and Sleigh (at Lehigh) are Bison to post victories in dual matches this season.
-- Bucknell wrestlers have also competed at the Clarion Open and Bearcat Open this fall. Thanks to these tournament competitions, Phipps leads the team in victories with eight.
-- Smith (No. 17 at 141), Lopez (No. 18 at 157), and Sleigh (No. 16 at 197) are all ranked in this week’s Intermat national rankings.
-- Victor Lopez enters the weekend 13th on Bucknell’s all-time wins list with 85 victories.
Projected Bucknell Lineup
125: Jordan Gessner (1-4)
133: Zach Firestone (3-2)
141: No. 17/18/18 Tyler Smith (4-2)
149: Zach Kelly (4-2)
157: No. 18/16/NR Victor Lopez (5-1)
165: Logan Kerin (2-4)
174: Kyle Inlander (4-5)
184: Garrett Hoffman (5-4)
197: No. 16/14/NR Tom Sleigh (4-2)
285: Drew Phipps (8-5)
Note: 2016-17 record in parentheses; Rankings are Intermat/TheOpenMat/FloWrestling.
Bucknell will take a weekend off before continuing on in the final event of its opening road trip at the Cleveland State Open on Dec. 17. This is the first time that the Bison are competing at this event.