March 21, 2014
OKLAHOMA CITY - Purdue’s seventh-seeded Cashé Quiroga staged a ferocious comeback in a 133-pound quarterfinal matchup against the No. 2 seed A.J. Schopp of Edinboro, but it was an explosive first period and strong riding by the Fighting Scot that denied Quiroga in an 11-7 decision Friday in the third session of the NCAA Wrestling Championships. The Boilermaker has to win one match in Friday night’s fourth session inside Chesapeake Energy Arena in order to obtain All-America honors. Quiroga will take an 18-7 record into a match with the No. 12 seed Joe Roth of Central Michigan (26-8).
The fourth session is set for 7 p.m. CT start. Matches to be contested include championship semifinals, which will be carried live on ESPN, and wrestleback fourth and fifth rounds. All six mats of wrestling can be seen via WatchESPN.
In the team standings, Purdue is tied with Central Michigan for 32nd place with 7.5 points. Penn State is in first with 61 points holds a two-point advantage on Minnesota, who has 59 points. Oklahoma State (56 points), Iowa (42.5 points) and Cornell (39.5 points) round out the top-five teams.
Schopp struck at the 2:26 mark in the opening stanza against Quiroga with a five-point move and spent the rest of the period riding hard. The Fighting Scot, known for using his lankiness to control on top, chose to start the second period on top to continue building riding time. Quiroga was unable to escape and Schopp closed out the period with 4:26 worth of riding time.
Trailing 7-0 with two minutes remaining, Quiroga chose to start the final period from neutral. That’s when he mounted his comeback. The 2010 All-American needed just seven seconds to take Schopp down and Quiroga cut him moments later. The sequence was repeated three more times, making the score 10-6. Schopp was warned for stalling early in the period and was called for it again with a minute to go, making the score 10-7 in his favor.
Time ticked away and Schopp used his 5-8 frame to his advantage to ward off Quiroga’s final shots. Schopp added 4:13 worth of riding time for his final point.
At 197 pounds, No. 15 seed Braden Atwood saw his redshirt junior campaign come to a close in a 5-1 loss to ninth-seeded Christian Boley of Maryland in the third round of wrestlebacks. The two grapplers were scoreless after the opening three minutes of wrestling with Atwood pushing the pace. The Terp got on the board with an escape to start the second and got a takedown with 0:28 remaining on the clock to take a 3-0 lead into the third.
Atwood wasted no time escaping so that he could get back on the offensive. He put the pressure on Boley while looking for his opportunity and the Maryland wrestler was warned for stalling while trying to avoid Atwood’s shots. With less than 20 seconds remaining, Atwood finally was able to get a solid shot, but it was countered by Boley and he used it to his advantage by getting a takedown of his own as the match came to an end.
Earlier in the second round of wrestlebacks against No. 16 seed Alex Polizzi of Northwestern, Atwood came out on a mission. The Boilermaker got in on an ankle for his first takedown at 1:42. Polizzi escaped, but he went right back down to the mat in a scramble takedown for Atwood. The Delphi, Ind., native locked in on the farside cradle and stuck the Wildcat at the 4:32 mark for his ninth win by fall.
Atwood, a three-time NCAA qualifier, concludes his third season of competition with a 27-12 record and owns a career mark of 75-39. During the course of the season he added his name to Purdue’s career falls list and single-season falls list. He ranks ninth all-time with 24 and is one of nine Boilermakers to tally nine pins in a season, which is tied for 17th.
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.