LAS VEGAS, Nev.—A pair of top six finishes from Russell Rohlfing and Sean Nickell turned out to be the top performances from the CSU Bakersfield wrestling team at the 35th annual Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational Saturday.Rohlfing faced the second seed, Bryce Meredith of Wyoming in the semifinals. Rohlfing scored first, earning a takedown midway through the first period, but Meredith quickly escaped. Meredith went ahead with a take down with 37 seconds to go in the first.
Meredith, who is ranked seventh in the current Intermat poll, took the down position to start the second period and earned a quick escape to begin the second. Rohlfing took the bottom to begin the third period. Meredith took advantage, riding Rohlfing for what would be two minutes. The bonus point for riding time was huge as Rohlfing posted a two-point reversal against Meredith with two seconds to go tie the match in regulation. The final score would be 5-4 in favor of Meredith.
Rohlfing would meet former CSUB wrestler , who is now a sixth-year senior at Northern Colorado in the consolation semifinals. Leading 8-5, Rohlfing pinned Box at the 4:24 mark to advance into the third place match. Rohlfing took on Cole Martin of Wisconsin in the third place bout. Rohlfing battled back from being down early in the match to tie it up at six and again at seven. That’s how regulation would end, but Martin built up 1:34 in riding time to be awarded an 8-7 victory.
Sean Nickell defeated Cornell’s Noah Baughman 5-0 in his first bout on Saturday morning. Nickell moved forward to face Purdue’s Ben Thornton where Nickell came away with a major decision, 14-5. In the consolation semifinals, Nickell was matched up with the fourth seed, Sean Russell of Edinboro.
Russell who began the week 14th in the Intermat poll, defeated Nickell 10-2. In the fifth place match, Nickell took on Eastern Michigan’s Noah Gonser and was shutout by the EMU competitor 5-0.
The four other CSUB wrestlers who made it to day two went out in their lone match of the day. Iowa State’s Chase Straw defeated Coleman Hammond 6-4 in a 149-pound wrestle back. Corey Griego of Oregon State edged Matt Williams 6-5 in a battle between a pair of Pac-12 wrestlers competing in the consolation side of the 197-pound bracket.
At 133, Carlos Herrera was eliminated from the tournament by Ali Naser of Arizona State 13-6. Samson Imonode of Army West Point ended Mark Penyacsek’s run in the tournament when he posted a 12-6 victory at 184 pounds.
As a team, CSU Bakersfield finished 13th (38). Ohio State won the team race with a score of 118.5 points.
"This weekend was a good test for routine," said CSUB head coach Manny Rivera. "We have a better idea where we have to work on to get better. One area that stood out was executing our attacks against elite competition."
The Roadrunners resume action Dec. 18 when CSUB enters the Reno Tournament of Champions.