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Wrestling: Ohio State heads west for the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational

Ohio State then-junior wrestler Myles Martin faces off against Arizona State’s Kordell Norfleet. Martin won the match and the Buckeyes won the meet 31-12 on Nov. 12. Credit: Colin Hass-Hill | Sports Editor

The No. 2 Ohio State wrestling team will try and continue a strong start to the season when it heads to Las Vegas to compete in the 37th annual Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational.

The event will feature more than 30 different Division I teams inside of Cliff Keen Arena.

Ohio State senior captain Myles Martin will be competing for the first time since the U23 USA World Championships in Romania that concluded on Nov. 18.

He said this tournament is exciting because it puts him in a good position to see where his skill level is at since he will be having matches against some of the same opponents again.

“I’m pretty familiar with a lot of these guys,” Martin said. “I wrestled some of them at the tournament last year and some of them I wrestled at the Big Ten tournaments. I’m excited to wrestle, especially after not doing as well at the U23’s as I would have liked to.”

For years, this invitational has been known as one of the most taxing and toughest college tournaments in the country. It will feature other Big Ten schools such as Rutgers, Michigan, Minnesota and Nebraska.

The tournament will be comprised of more than 100 ranked wrestlers, including seven ranked Buckeyes.

With the opponents Ohio State will face, head coach Tom Ryan will have to prepare his team for stiff competition.

“We’re really excited about Vegas. This is a test to see if we got better,” Ryan said. “I don’t focus so much on winning as much as seeing the development. If I see someone who’s not developing in a certain area, that’s something we can nip in the bud early.”

Despite Ohio State’s 3-0 start to the season, Ryan said he still sees room for his team to improve.

“Despite having guys who are All-Americans, have won state titles and are some of the top recruits in the country, they can still get better,” Ryan said. “We just try to get one percent better every day. We have to work on being really gritty and tough. Sometimes when you have an abundance of talent, you can lose the grit side of it. We have to make sure we’re the toughest team in America.”

The action will begin at noon on Friday in Las Vegas.

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