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The Woodlands Invitational PREVIEW – boys

The 2016 Woodlands Invitational tournament is set for December 2nd and 3rd, showcasing some of the top teams in the state and dozens of ranked wrestlers.  Allen, The Woodlands, Austin Westlake, Katy and Cypress Woods are looking to repeat last year’s strong team performances.  Wrestling is set to begin at 5pm Friday evening, with day 2 matches commencing at 9am Saturday. Although final rosters and brackets have not been announced, here is a preview of some of the more compelling potential match-ups.

106lbs – The Cy Fair (Houston) schools are represented well here with three state ranked wrestlers in the bracket: top ranked Isaih Calderon of Cy-Falls, Seventh ranked Christopher Thomas of Cy Lakes and ninth ranked Adam Hoang of Cy Ranch.  Westlake’s Bennett Siler and Allen’s Gabe Martinez will also look to establish themselves in this highly competitive weight class.

138 lbs – Three ranked wrestles are represented here, including Katy’s Daniel Manibog (3rd ranked), Cy Lakes’ Joaquin Bautista (4th ranked) and Trent Dooley from Allen (6th ranked at 132lb)

170 lbs – Three top wrestlers will be putting their perfect records on the line at The Woodlands.  Third ranked Anderson Salisbury of Austin Westlake, sixth ranked Tucker Rowan of Cy Woods and seventh ranked Kyle Kretzer of Clear Springs.

195lb – Returning state champion Mark Inglehart of Allen tops this bracket. Kingwood’s Matt Dean (2nd ranked) and Westlake’s Ben Noffsinger (9th ranked) will likely battle their way through the bottom half of the bracket.

220lb – Allen’s Nico Manzonelli, ranked 2nd at 220 after finishing 2nd in state at 285 last year is looking to establish a claim to the 220lb class.  He will have his first major test of the season with third ranked Cameron Barnes of Katy and last year’s Southwest Preparatory Conference (SPC) State Runner-up and top ranked Prep Colin Lawler. There could very well be an extended debate Friday afternoon on how to seed these three undefeated wrestlers.

Hopefully, the tournament will finish before the lights go out Saturday evening.  Last year’s tournament concluded with a bit of excitement as the gymnasium went dark at the beginning of the 285lb championship match.  With little hesitation, wrestlers and spectators gathered around the mat, cell phone flashes illuminated to watch Manzonelli defeat John Bentley of Katy Cinco Ranch with a first period pin.