March 6, 2010
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - The Purdue wrestling team had an amazing evening at the 2010 Big Ten Championships, hosted by the University of Michigan at Crisler Arena on Saturday night, racking up 65 team points and sitting in sixth place after two sessions of competition. Junior Colton Salazar advanced to tomorrow's Big Ten Championship match at 157 pounds to lead the way as seven of the Boilermakers' 10 entries remain alive in competition.
Purdue's 65 points are already 13 more than last season's final total, and the most scored by the Boilermakers at the conference championships since 2004, when they racked up 89. The Old Gold and Black sit just one point out of fifth place, currently held by Penn State University, and are looking at their highest team placing in seven years. The Boilermakers finished sixth in 2004, and haven't cracked the top half of the conference standings since 1992, when they earned fifth.
Salazar continued his run at the 157-pound title on Saturday, earning the first trip to a Big Ten Championship match by a Boilermaker since 2004, with a 6-2 decision over Iowa's Jake Kerr. Salazar did all his damage in the first period, scoring a quick takedown and dumping Kerr to his back for three points for a 5-0 lead. Salazar got in on a few shots in the second and third, but Kerr worked out of them and Salazar finally shut it down and coasted out the win. He'll meet sixth-ranked and second-seeded Cyler Sanderson of Penn State for the conference championship tomorrow at 2 p.m., live on the Big Ten Network. Salazar and Sanderson were teammates at Wasatch High School in Heber City, Utah, and will meet for the first time in their respective careers tomorrow.
Rookie Cashé Quiroga and juniors Akif Eren, Juan Archuleta, Luke Manuel and Logan Brown continued chasing a higher spot on their respective podiums Saturday night, each scoring wins and advancing to tomorrow's consolation semifinals. Quiroga, the No. 5 seed at 125 pounds, opened the wrestlebacks with a hard-fought 6-2 decision over Northwestern's Robert Joyce, and followed up with a dominate 24-6 technical fall against Brenan Lyon of Michigan State. Quiroga's 11 takedowns on the day pushed his season total to 110, making him just the 16th wrestler in Purdue history to exceed the century mark in a season and earning him the ninth-highest single-season takedown mark in school history. He has already locked up an automatic bid to the 2010 NCAA Championships, making him the third true freshman at Purdue to qualify for the national championships in the last six seasons, and he advances to face sixth-ranked and third-seeded Zachary Sanders of Minnesota tomorrow with a spot in the third-place match at stake.
Eren pressed his pursuit of a national qualifier on Saturday night, scoring a pair of wins to reach the consolation semifinals. The eighth-seeded Purdue junior kicked off the second session with a 13-4 major decision over Illinois' Daryl Thomas, and knocked off fifth-seeded Eric Metzler of Northwestern, 5-2, to continue his NCAA qualifying hopes. Eren waited until the final period to open up on Thomas, scoring a takedown in the second period en route to a 2-2 tie, but reeling off 11 points in the third, including three late back points for a major decision. He posted a similar performance in his consolation quarterfinal match with Metzler, snagging a pair of third-period takedowns to pull away late and seal the win. Eren needs just one more win to earn a trip to his first career NCAA Championship, facing fourth-ranked and third-seeded Franklin Gomez of Michigan State in the consolation semifinals. The Big Ten earned five automatic spots at 133 pounds and Eren would still be able to qualify even with a loss tomorrow.
Archuleta reeled off a pair of major decisions on the night at 141 pounds, blasting Indiana's Geno Capezio, 17-7, and avenging a Big Ten Dual loss to seventh-seeded Dan Osterman of Michigan State, 11-2. The bout with Capezio was a takedown clinic as Archuleta scored seven two-point maneuvers en route to the win. The sixth-seeded Purdue junior followed Eren's lead in his match with Osterman, lasting through a scoreless first period before racking up six points in the second, including a five-point play, and five more in the third. Archuleta will face fourth-seeded Adam Lynch of Penn State tomorrow in the consolation semifinals with an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships at stake. The Big Ten originally received five automatic bids at 141 pounds, but lost one due to the withdrawal of Illinois' fourth-seeded Ryan Prater.
Manuel, ranked fifth in the country and seeded second at 174 pounds, rebounded from his upset loss in the morning session with solid wins over Indiana's Nick Avery and Northwestern's Brian Roddy to move on to the consolation semifinals. Manuel grinded out both victories, scoring a takedown in each period in an 8-2 win over Avery, and using bookend takedowns in his 6-3 victory over Roddy. Manuel moves on to face 12th-ranked and fifth-seeded Jordan Blanton of Illinois in the consolation semifinals tomorrow and has already locked up his third consecutive trip to the NCAA Championships as the Big Ten earned six spots at 174 pounds. At 38-3 on the year Manuel now shares the No. 4 single-season win total in Boilermaker history, and his 93 career wins are 17th all-time at Purdue.
Ranked 15th in the nation and seeded seventh in the tournament at 197 pounds, Brown found himself with a consolation first-round bye, and took advantage of the extra rest with an 8-2 win over 14th-ranked and sixth-seeded Matt Powless of Indiana in the consolation quarterfinals. Brown grabbed control of the match quickly, blasting into a pair of first-period takedowns and a 4-1 lead. The bout was incredibly physical from start to finish as both wrestlers had to take a series of blood stoppages, and Brown capped the match with a third takedown and riding-time point for the win and guaranteed trip to his third straight national championship. His seven takedowns on the day push his season total to 97, which is tied for 17th in Purdue's single-season history with Tim Dernlan's 1996 total, and leaves him three shy of joining Quiroga in the 100-club, while his career total climbed to 236, passing Evan Robinson for 13th in school history.
Joining Salazar, Quiroga, Manuel and Brown at the NCAA Championships will be senior Nick Bertucci, who bested Illinois' Eric Terrazas in the consolation first round to lock up one of eight automatic spots awarded to the Big Ten at 149 pounds. Bertucci topped Terrazas on Feb. 18, at Illinois, in a thrilling 6-4 second-sudden victory contest, and Saturday's match was a great follow up as the eighth-seeded Boilermaker senior snagged a takedown in the waning seconds for a 3-2 decision. Bertucci got on the board first, scoring an escape point in the second period for a 1-0 lead, but not before Terrazas could rack up almost 1:30 in riding time advantage. Terrazas evened the score in the opening second of the third, getting a great jump on the whistle to keep his riding-time point and force Bertucci to push the action. Bertucci responded in full force, offering continuous shots through the period, finishing one in the last 15 seconds and riding Terrazas out for the win and automatic qualifier. Despite the win, Bertucci was bested in the consolation quarterfinals by 11th-ranked and fifth-seeded David Cheza of Michigan State, 8-5. He'll face Northwestern's Andrew Nadhir in the seventh-place match in tomorrow's session with a final team point at stake.
Seniors Jason Martin and Nick Corpe and junior David Pisarcik are the only three Boilermakers to exit the tournament on the first day, suffering first-round consolation losses. Martin fell to Illinois' eighth-seeded Conrad Polz at 165 pounds, 8-3, while Corpe was pinned by Northwestern's Aaron Jones in 4:48 at 184 pounds. Pisarcik fell behind early to eighth-seeded Alan O'Donnell of Michigan State, and despite a hard-fought third-period flurry, he came up short, 8-6.
Tomorrow's final session starts at noon, and the finals of the Big Ten Championships will air live at 2 p.m. The consolation semifinals will be held at the same time as the seventh-place bouts to start the session, while the third-place and fifth-place contests will be held in conjunction with the conference finals.