Merrill is CBU's first placer in the Cliff Keen Invitational.
Courtesy: Rachel McDaniel
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Zach Attack
Courtesy: CBU  
Release: 12/01/2012
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. --- Zach Merrill became California Baptist University's first ever placer at the Cliff Keen Invitational on Saturday. The 2012 Cliff Keen Invitational was stacked with seven of the top-10 NCAA DI teams in the country; it was the toughest invite on the schedule for CBU.  

The Lancers placed 26th out of 32 teams with 13.5 total team points. No. 5 Ohio State won the invitational with 124.5 team points.

"It is a tough tournament," said Head Coach Lennie Zalesky. "We had some real close matches against some ranked guys though."

There were a lot of ranked guys at the tournament for CBU wrestlers to square off with, 59 of the top-200 wrestlers in the country competed over the course of Friday-Saturday.

Merrill was 5-2 at the Invite, including 8-5 decision over Henry Chirino from Northern Colorado, which secured a seventh place finish. In their fourth year at the invite, the Lancers now have an individual placer.

"It means a lot for him to place," Zalesky said.  "This is a really tough DI tournament."

CBU brought eight other wrestlers to the invite and got some strong finishes from others such as Bradford Gerl and Dylan Cataline.

Gerl went 2-2 at 141, including a 2:19 pin over McCade Ford from Wyoming. He then went into overtime against a returning champion and top-4 finisher Michael Nevinger from Cornell. He was eventually defeated in the fourth round by Naveed Bagheri from San Francisco State.

"From (125-149) we did very well," Zalesky said. "Heavyweight too, it was just at middleweight we lacked some experience."

Cataline went 1-2 at 149, his one win at the invite came in a 4-2 decision over Jake Briggs from CSU Bakersfield.

When all was said and done, the Lancers finished with an 8-18 record and a good training experience to gear up for their dual against Cal Poly San Luis Obispo on Dec. 7. Cal Poly finished 21st at the Cliff Keen Invitational with a team score 13.5 points higher than the Lancers.

Final Records:

125 - Taylor Hall - 0-2
133 - Alex Anunciation - 0-2
141 - Bradford Gerl - 2-2
149 - Dylan Cataline - 1-2
157 - Paul Miller - 0-2
165 - Jacob Fry - 0-2
174 - Kenneth Tribble - 0-2
184 - Paul Head - 0-2
285 - Zach Merrill - 5-2 (7th Place)

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