Nicholson Finishes Third at Las Vegas Invitational

December 05, 2009
By ODU Athletics

Dec. 5, 2009

PRIMM, Nev. - Old Dominion University wrestling standout James Nicholson finished third at the 28th Annual Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, which concluded Saturday evening. Nicholson posted a 7-1 record at 125-pounds.

Old Dominion, ranked No. 19 in the latest NWCA/USA Today Division I Team Coaches Poll, entered eight individuals into the event which is widely considered one of the best early season tournaments in the country.

In an extremely talented field, the Monarchs finished 27th. Ohio State won the Invitational by one point over Cornell. Oklahoma, Boise State and Nebraska rounded out the top-five.

Old Dominion had four seeded wrestlers in the tournament, but only one placed.

Nicholson, ranked No. 5 nationally and seeded third at the event, picked up a major decision in the first round and consecutive decisions to breeze into the quarterfinals. Nicholson was unable to push through to the semifinals though as Wyoming's Michael Martinez, ranked No. 10 in the country according to Intermat, came away with the 6-4 decision.

Nicholson would get another shot at sixth-seeded Martinez though. After recording a fall and back-to-back decisions, the current CAA Wrestler of the Month would face Martinez once again. This time Nicholson came away with the 7-2 decision to claim third in the event, while Martinez had to settle for fourth-place.

Eric Decker, seeded No. 12, fell in the first round to Cal State Fullerton's Todd Noel. In the consolation bracket, Decker topped N.C. State's Quinton Godley, 6-1 before falling to Oregon State's Colby Cavington, 4-1.

At 184-pounds Joe Budi was seeded No. 6. After a bye in the first round, Budi picked up a major decision win over Cal State Fullerton's Mark Savalle. Oregon State's Brice Arand knocked Budi into the consolation bracket though, topping the ODU sophomore 13-7 in the third round.

ODU's second highest seeded wrestler was senior Jesse Strawn at 197-pounds. Strawn, seeded fourth and ranked No. 9 nationally, looked sharp getting into the quarterfinals with two wins, including a tech fall victory over Cal State Fullerton's Ethan Weisrock.

Strawn was unable to beat No. 5 seed Logan Brown though. Brown, ranked No. 13 in the nation by both Intermat and WIN Magazine won a narrow 2-1 decision over Strawn to move into the semifinals.

The Monarch will next be in action at the Southern Scuffle. The two-day event will take place in Greesboro, N.C. starting on December 29.


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