Kirk Smith wins Cliff Keen Invitational as Boise State finishes seventh

LAS VEGAS, Nevada - Boise State sophomore Kirk Smith wrestled his way to the 184-pound championship at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational Saturday night, while the Broncos earned a seventh-place team finish (79.5 points) in the 44-team tournament. Nebraska took top team honors with 124.5 points.

Smith earned his third tournament title of the season and improved his overall record to 20-0 (12-0 tournament). It didn’t take long for him to start rolling in Las Vegas either, winning his first match against Wesley Bergman of Ohio State 16-3 and his second match against Ernesto Ancona of Cal State-Bakersfield 19-6.

Smith took down Joe Leblanc (Wyoming) with a 16-8 decision in the semifinals to set up a highly anticipated match-up against Harvard’s Louis Caputo. Smith entered the weekend ranked No. 5 in the USA Today/InterMat/NWCA Division I individual rankings, while Caputo was ranked No. 4. Smith capped a dominating weekend with a 3-1 decision over Caputo, securing Boise State’s only individual title of the weekend.

Boise State sophomore Andrew Hochstrasser (133-pounds) came close to matching Smith’s success, finishing the weekend with a 4-1 record and a second-place finish. Hochstrasser’s biggest win of the tournament came in the semifinal match against Jayson Ness (Minnesota) who was the nation’s top 133-pound wrestler as of Dec. 2. Hochstrasser, who entered the weekend ranked No. 9, wrestled his way to a 5-4 decision before falling in the championship match 6-4 against No. 3 Jimmy Kennedy of Illinois.

Adam Hall (157) was the only other Bronco who would place at the tournament, finishing in fourth-place with a 3-2 record. Hall went undefeated on Friday, with his biggest win coming in a 5-1 decision against No. 16 Chase Pami of Cal Poly. Hall fell in his semifinal match on Saturday, however, losing 8-5 to No. 6 Jordan Leen of Cornell. After defeating Matt Drago (University of Pennsylvania) 14-9 in the consolation bracket, Hall would drop the third-place match 4-3 to No. 5 JP OConnor of Harvard to end his tournament run.

Boise State’s Tyler Sherfey (165) and Jason Chamberlain (149) both advanced to the quarterfinal round Friday, but failed to win another match in the tournament. Chamberlain was unable to finish his match on Saturday against Purdue's Jake Patacsil after an injury. Sherfey, meanwhile, lost his Saturday morning match against Mike Galante of Lehigh, 8-6, to bounce him from the tournament field.

The Broncos return home this week to host their second home dual of the season Friday, Dec. 12, against the Oregon State Beavers. Friday’s dual is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.

» «