Junior Taylor Meeks, ranked No. 1 in nation in 197-pound weight class, wrestles at All-Star Classic this weekend
Last season, Taylor Meeks finished the season with a 37-6 overall record, won the 197-pound weight class Pac-12 Championship and finished fourth at the NCAA Championships.
The wrestling world took notice, as InterMat ranked the junior No. 1 in the 197-pound weight class in the entire nation.
The No. 1 ranking also earned Meeks a spot in the All-Star Classic, NCAA wrestling’s premier tournament that takes place before the regular season begins.
He’s slated to face Scott Schiller, who finished with an overall record of 29-7 for Minnesota last season. He was a 2012-13 All-American, finished in second place at the Big Ten Championships and in fifth place, behind Meeks, at the NCAA Championships.
Meeks, from Orting, Wash., made a big leap last year after finishing with an overall record of 20-11 in his redshirt freshman campaign. He qualified for the NCAA Championships in 2012, but didn’t advance past the second round.
Seniors Scott Sakaguchi (149-pound weight class) and RJ Pena (157-pound weight class) had chances to make this weekend’s All-Star Classic, but weren’t invited.
Sakaguchi and Pena, along with Meeks, will lead an Oregon State team that has high hopes, entering the season ranked No. 6 in the nation. It’s the OSU’s highest preseason ranking in head coach Jim Zalesky’s tenure.
InterMat has Sakaguchi ranked No. 2 in the 149-pound weight class behind Oklahoma’s Kendric Maple, and ranked Pena No. 5 in the 157-pound weight class.
Sakaguchi, Pena and Meeks were all team captains a year ago and are expected to be again this year.
Pena, from Salem, finished last year with a 35-7 overall record and placed fifth at the NCAA Championships. Sakaguchi was 29-9 overall and finished fifth at the NCAA Championships.
Meeks is set to compete in the All-Star Classic this Saturday at George Mason University, which is scheduled to start at 7:15 p.m.
Andrew Kilstrom, sports editor
On Twitter @AndrewKilstrom