Quiroga and Atwood Advance at NCAA Championships
Braden Atwood | Photo courtesy of Matt Thomas

March 20, 2014


OKLAHOMA CITY - Purdue’s Cashé Quiroga and Braden Atwood each won their opening round matches of the NCAA Wrestling Championships Thursday in the Chesapeake Energy Arena. Quiroga, the seventh seed at 133 pounds, won by fall, and Atwood, the 15th-seed at 197, won by decision. Danny Sabatello suffered a first round loss at 141 pounds to round out the Boilermaker action. The second session from Chesapeake Energy Arena will start at 6 p.m. CT featuring championship second round, consolation pigtail and first round matches. Action from all eight mats can be seen on ESPNU or via WatchESPN.

Quiroga moved into the championship second round with a 4:51 fall of Virginia Tech’s Dennis Gustafson. After a scoreless opening period, the 2010 All-American went to work. Opting to start the second period from bottom, Quiroga got on the board with an escape just 12 seconds in. He followed up with a takedown, pushing his lead to 3-0. An escape by Gustafson gave the Boilermaker another opportunity, to which he capitalized with a takedown at the 17-second mark, building a 5-1 advantage. The pin came with nine ticks left on the clock.

“It was a good win for Cashé,” head wrestling coach Scott Hinkel said. “He kept his composure and pushed the action. There were a couple of calls that didn’t go our way in the first period, but he finally got the takedown in the second. Then he sealed it with the pin. It was especially nice to get those bonus points. Gustafson was a tough first round opponent.”

The fall was the fifth of his redshirt senior campaign as he improved to 17-6. Quiroga will meet Chattanooga’s 10th-seeded Nick Soto (34-9) in Thursday evening’s session. The two met in Quiroga’s season debut, wrestling in Lawrenceville, Ga., on Dec. 15. Trailing 4-0 entering the third period, Quiroga posed a furious comeback, scoring taking the Moc down five times, but he was unable to get ahead and dropped a 10-8 decision.

“Soto has beaten him before, but we’ve got a game plan for him,” Hinkel said. “Cashé needs to go out there and keep doing what he’s doing; wrestle hard for seven minutes.”

NC State’s KaRonne Jones struck with a first period takedown, but a pair of escapes and 1:46 worth of riding time earned Atwood a 3-2 decision to advance. The Wolfpack grappler scored with a takedown at the 2:35 mark in the opening three minutes. The first of Atwood’s escapes followed and he trailed 2-1 going into the second, where he rode Jones the entire period. Starting the third from bottom, the redshirt junior’s second escape ensued.

Atwood improves to 26-10 and will face second-seeded true freshman J’Den Cox of Missouri (34-2) in the second session.

Sabatello dropped a 5-3 sudden victory decision to the No. 6 seed Chris Dardanes of Minnesota. At the first whistle, the Boilermaker came out aggressive and it paid off, finally getting in on both of his opponent’s ankles for the takedown as time expired in the first period.

The redshirt sophomore then opted to take bottom to start the second. Dardanes was riding hard, but Sabatello pushed his lead to 3-0 with an escape with 23 seconds left on the clock. The final two minutes saw Dardanes choose to start from neutral, to which he got a takedown with short time remaining.

Riding time accumulated in the second period tied the match at 3-3 to send it into sudden victory. The winning takedown for Dardanes came eight seconds in.

Sabatello will take his 22-13 record into a consolation first round match against NC State’s Sam Speno (24-11).

For extended coverage and information from Oklahoma City, including brackets, upcoming matches, ESPN coverage details and much more, visit Purdue’s NCAA Wrestling Championships Central page by clicking here.




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