Dec. 7, 2002

2002 Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational Tournament Page

Columbus, Ohio – The 5th-ranked Ohio State wrestling team, which finished the first day of competition atop the team leader board in the 2002 Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, concluded its third straight stellar tournament performance as the Buckeyes claimed a third place finish Saturday falling just 12.5 points behind first place Minnesota (131.0) and 5.0 points shy of second place Illinois (123.5).

OSU senior 197 Anton Talamantes (Ft. Wayne, Ind.) grabbed his second tournament title in 2002 with a 5-1 victory over No. 19 Tyrone Byrd of Illinois in the invite final. Talamantes, who won the Michigan State championship at 197, outscored his opposition by a combined tally of 55-22 en route to the title.

Ohio State’s strong showing was the result of several additional outstanding individual efforts in the tournament as senior Keaton Anderson (Pickerington, Ohio) fell just three points short of capturing his third straight crown in the 157-pound class as he dropped an 8-5 decision to 2002 NCAA champion Luke Becker of Minnesota in the title match. The loss is Anderson’s first of 2002.

A quartet of Buckeye juniors fell in tight matches in the semifinals, three of which extended into overtime. Buckeye HWT and defending national champion Tommy Rowlands (Hilliard, Ohio) dropped a double-overtime decision in the round of four to No. 7 Arizona State’s Kellan Fluckiger. The loss is Rowlands’ first since the Iowa match of the 2001-02 season as he dropped another overtime bout to the Hawkeyes’ Steve Mocca on January 25. Rowlands rebounded to claim third place in the tournament with a 5-3 win over Rushton Boe of Boise State. Other Buckeyes who fell in the semis via extra session were 141 Jeff Ratliff (Jr., Marion, Ohio) and 174 Blake Kaplan (Jr., Cincinnati, Ohio). Ratliff, who dropped his first round match on Friday, qualified for the semifinals where he lost 7-5 in overtime. Ratliff defeated 3rd-ranked Shane Cunanan of West Virginia by a 7-2 count to contribute a fifth place finish to the Buckeye cause.

Kaplan pushed eventual tournament champ and consensus No. 1 Greg Jones of West Virginia to overtime as Kaplan fell in heartbreaking fashion by a count of 8-6 in the semifinals of the 174-pound class. Kaplan would carry on to claim third place in the tournament with a 2-1 win over John McClay of Minnesota.

Ohio State 165, John Clark (Jr., Canton, N.Y.), entered the Las Vegas Invite in search of his third straight tournament title, but fell two-points short to Minnesota’s Jacob Vollkman,ranked third in all national polls, 7-5, in the round of four, but bounced back to claim an 8-5 victory in the fifth place match over Arizona State’s Nick Frost.

The Buckeyes will be off until Dec. 28 as the team heads to the campus of Northwestern University to compete in the prestigious Midlands Tournament. The event will span Saturday, Dec. 28 to Sunday, Dec. 29.

Official Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational Final Team Standings

1. Minnesota 131.0 2. Illinois 123.5.0 3. Ohio State 118.5 4. Arizona State 112.0 5. West Virginia 96.5 6. Nebraska 89.0 7. Michigan 87.0 8. Wisconsin 77.5 9. Boise State 75.5 10. Missouri 73.5