Feb. 26, 1997

No. 22 Purdue Ready for Conference Championships

1996-97 RECORD: Purdue came back from a loss to Central Michigan to post two wins on Feb. 23 and raise its record to 16-6 and 2-4 in the Big Ten. The Boilermakers are currently ranked 22nd by Amateur Wrestling News. Purdue's 16 wins is the single-season school record.

LAST TIME ON THE MAT: All week head coach Jessie Reyes had been leery of the weekend matches. He said that he would have preferred not to wrestle them, get his guys healthy and get ready for Big Ten's. On Saturday at the Intercollegiate Athletic Facility, Reyes' fears became actualized. Twenty-second ranked Purdue lost to Central Michigan 25-12.

After a pin by Tim Dernlan at 3:17 against Ahmad Sanders, the Boilermakers lost seven of the next eight matches and the injuries got worse. Sophomore Willie Wineberg was caught in a hold that rendered him unconscience and was pinned 35 seconds into his match with Greg Mayer. Frank Laccone lost a major decision to seventh-ranked Casey Cunningham, while Mickey Griffin lost to Cunningham's brother, Ryan, 2-1. Eric Douglas won the 158-pound bout for the Boilers, but then Purdue lost the next three matches. Sophomore David Pierce shut out Dave Hunter, 6-0, in the heavyweight bout to secure Purdue's final win.

After a loss to Central Michigan, the Purdue wrestling team rebounded for two very strong victories Sunday in Evanston, Ill. The Boilermakers got a Big Ten victory over the Northwestern Wildcats (27-6), before shutting out Marquette (46-0). Tim Dernlan and David Pierce were the Boilers' top wrestlers for the second day in a row. Dernlan defeated Dominic Caruso of Northwestern 2-0 and pinned Golden Eagle Chad Marti at 2:24. Pierce defeated two wrestlers who qualified for nationals in 1996 in Rob Chicoine (9-4) and Jeremy Karle (4-2). Mickey Griffin improved his record to 18-4 with a pair of wins. Josh Hutchens, Willie Wineberg and Davion Peterson defeated two opponents, while Eric Douglas and Ty Roofner picked up a win and a forfeit.

REYES' RECORD: Head coach Jessie Reyes is in his fifth season as the Boilermaker boss. His career mark of 55-46-2 places him third in all-time wins. Claude Reeck, who coached from 1937-69, is Purdue's winningest coach with 99 victories.

NEXT UP ON THE MAT: The Boilers have concluded their regular dual match season, so next up for Purdue is the Big Ten Championships in St. Paul, Minn. on March 8-9. The NCAA Championships are March 20-22.

QUOTING HEAD COACH JESSIE REYES: "We had a difficult weekend, losing to Central Michigan, but the guys came back focused on Sunday and got the job done. We matched up well and didn't take anything for granted. Big Ten's is very important for us, since this is where the goals of this team need to be realized. We wanted to finish in the top half of the Big Ten and to send eight guys to nationals. All that has happened so far is behind us, now we need to focus, prepare and achieve our goals."