MADISON, Wis. - The 24th-ranked Purdue wrestling team pulled off an 18-16 upset victory at No. 6 Wisconsin on Sunday, improving to 6-7-1 on the year and picking up its first Big Ten Dual victory. The Boilermakers got a huge lift at 125 pounds as freshman Camden Eppert scored his first career fall to improve to 9-11 on the season.
The first match of the day proved to be the final difference in the team score as Eppert came from behind to stick Wisconsin sophomore Tom Kelliher at the 6:05 mark. Kelliher took an early lead with a first-period takedown, scrambling though Eppert's shot to score and then riding out the Boilermaker rookie through the period. Eppert tied the score in the second, using a swing-single to get to Kelliher's left leg and working through the whizzer for the takedown. Still tied up late, Eppert seized an opportunity and took Kelliher to his back and settled in for the fall.
"It's a huge win for Camden and for our team," said head coach Scott Hinkel. "He showed great composure in an intense moment, listening to his coaches and taking his time to get the fall."
The Boilermakers' other wins came from junior Jake Fleckenstein, seniors Colton Salazar and Luke Manuel and freshman Kyle Mosier. Fleckenstein put together a pair of takedowns in a 6-1 win over sophomore Shane McQuade at 141 pounds, and Salazar had an 8-3 decision over freshman Calvin York at 157 pounds. Mosier edged out fellow freshman Ben Cox at 165 pounds, 4-1, and Manuel, ranked eighth in the nation at 174 pounds, topped No. 12 junior Ben Jordan at 174 pounds, 2-1.
Manuel's bout was a close one, using an escape and a riding-time point to edge out the Badger junior for the second time this season. After a scoreless first, Manuel needed just two seconds to slip away from Jordan in the second. Jordan was in on a single multiple times in the first two periods, but came away with nothing as Manuel took the 1-0 edge to the third. Jordan took the bottom position in the third and Manuel put forth a tough, physical grind to rack up about a minute and a half of riding time and earn the decisive point.
The Badgers won a pair of big matches at 184 and 197 pounds as seventh-ranked Purdue junior A.J. Kissel came up just short of No. 3 Wisconsin junior Travis Rutt at 184 pounds, 6-4, and No. 9 Boilermaker senior Logan Brown suffered a 2-0 loss to second-ranked Badger senior Trevor Brandvold. Third-ranked Tyler Graff scored a major decision over Akif Eren at 133 pounds, 25-11, and Cole Schmidtt returned from injury to score an 11-5 decision over Purdue senior Sam Patacsil at 149 pounds. No. 11 Eric Bugenhagen wrapped up the dual with a 4-2 decision over Purdue junior heavyweight Roger Vukobratovich.
The Boilermakers return to action Friday at 7 p.m., hosting second-ranked Iowa at Penn High School in Mishawaka, Ind. Check PurdueSports.com this week for a full preview of that match and Purdue's home match against Michigan State next Sunday.