Tucker Claims Cliff Keen Title, Big Red Places Three on Podium
December 08, 2019


LAS VEGAS – Big Red wrestling senior Chas Tucker became the 20th Cliff Keen Invitational champion in program history on Saturday, Dec. 7, defeating Wyoming's No. 7-ranked Montorie Bridges in the finals by way of a 4-1 decision. Tucker is Cornell's first champion at the Cliff Keen Invitational since Yianni Diakomihalis took first in 2017. A first place finish in Las Vegas improved upon Tucker's performance in 2018 when he placed seventh.

In addition to Tucker, Ben Darmstadt placed seventh at 184 pounds and Brandon Womack took eighth at 174 pounds. Freshman Jonathan Loew also competed on Saturday, but was eliminated one round before being able to guarantee himself a spot on the podium.

As a team, Cornell finished in 11th place with 58 team points. Full brackets and results from the Cliff Keen Invitational can be viewed here.

Tucker opened the day by defeating Ohio State's Dylan Koontz in the semifinals, 8-3. It's the second time Tucker has bested Koontz this season after previously defeating him in the dual at Ohio State, 12-5. Tucker scored three takedowns on Koontz and racked up 1:46 of riding time.

In the finals, neither wrestler put points on the board in the first as both fought for positioning on their feet. Bridges scored the first point of the bout on an escape in the second following a 24 second ride by Tucker. Tucker evened the bout at 1-1 with an escape to start the third before firing off his first shot. Making his first shot attempt of the bout count, Tucker turned a single leg into a lift and dropped Bridges onto his back. With 25 seconds left, Bridges looked to escape, but Tucker added a crucial mat return to seal victory.

After not conceding a takedown to Bridges in the final, Tucker finishes the Cliff Keen Invitational with just one takedown allowed (M. Jaffe, Harvard, Round One). Tucker improved his overall season mark to an unblemished 12-0.

Womack pinned Oklahoma's Anthony Mantanona with his signature Peterson roll in the second consolation round of eight to guarantee himself a spot on the podium. Facing Minnesota's Devin Skatzka in the consolation round of four, Womack was defeated, 4-3, due to riding time. Womack trailed, 3-1, heading into the final moments of the match before securing his first takedown of the bout, but Skatzka held over a minute of riding time to advance to the consolation semifinals.

In the seventh-place match, Womack was pinned by #10 Hayden Hastings of Wyoming in 6:55. After a scoreless first period, Womack put a tough ride on Hastings that lasted the entirety of the second period. Womack started the third period in the down position and immediately reversed the tables on Hastings to take a 2-0 lead. Hastings scored a reversal of his own with 15 seconds remaining, turning it into four nearfall points before eventually pinning Womack.

Darmstadt knocked off No. 7-ranked Sammy Colbray of Iowa State, 12-6, to start his day. A big second period helped Darmstadt to the win after he added a takedown and four nearfall points in the final 15 seconds of the period. Darmstadt was pinned by Nebraska's Taylor Venz in the consolation round of four to get knocked down to the seventh place bout. After scoring a reversal to open the second period, Darmstadt and Venz each locked one another into a cradle, but it was Venz who came away with the fall in 3:40. Darmstadt placed seventh in the field following a medical forfeit by his opponent, Jelani Embree of Michigan.

Jonathan Loew was defeated in his opening match of the day, falling just short of competing for a spot on the podium. Loew dropped a 9-1 major decision to No. 9-ranked Jay Aiello of Virginia.