Nov. 10, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The No. 23 Purdue wrestling team opened its 2013-24 campaign with five placewinners Saturday at the Michigan State Open. The Boilermakers placed second, fourth, fifth and had a pair of sixth-place finishes in the Open Division. True freshman Joshua Farrell captured the 157-pound Freshman/Sophomore Division title as an unattached wrestler.
No. 13/14 Braden Atwood finished as the 197-pound runner up, suffering a 6-4 setback to Ohio's Phil Wellington in the championship match. The redshirt junior was forced to wrestle from behind after giving up a first period takedown. A technical violation gave Wellington a 3-1 lead heading into the second stanza. Atwood narrowed the gap with an escape in the second period, but was unable to get an effective strike on the Bobcat. Wellington escaped from Atwood to start the final two minutes, and in a period in which Atwood pushed the tempo, Wellington managed to take the Boilermaker down. Atwood did receive a penalty point for Wellington's stalling as time expired.
En route to the championship bout, Atwood posted two decisions, a 12-2 major decision and recorded his first pin of the season, a 3:31 stick of Michigan State's Luke Jones.
Redshirt freshman Alex Griffin was impressive in his first official tournament wrestling for the Old Gold and Black by turning in a fourth-place finish at 149 pounds. He opened with a 10-1 major decision over Indiana's Eric Roach, followed by a 5-0 shutout of Columbia's Connor Sutton. Griffin unleashed upon Joseph Johnson of Michigan State, getting the count five different times for 11 total nearfall points on his way to a 17-3 major decision. After dropping an 8-1 decision to Hunter Stieber, who wrestled unattached, in the semifinals, Griffin went on to face Ian Paddock for third, but fell 8-3.
Purdue's 141-pounders, Danny Sabatello and Nick Lawrence, collided in the fifth-place match. The workout partners battled into the second tiebreaker, where Sabatello emerged as the victor, 2-1. Sabatello went 5-1 on the day, winning four bouts via decision and posting one major decision. The redshirt sophomore's lone setback came in the quarterfinals to 2013 NCAA runner-up Mitchell Port of Edinboro by a slim 9-6 decision. Lawrence finished 4-2, etching out a trio of decisions and was the recipient of an injury default. He also suffered a quarterfinal loss, a 2-0 overtime decision to Columbia's Matt Bystol.
Tanner Lynde finished sixth at 184 pounds in his Boilermaker debut. It was Mitch Silga's third period escape that was the difference maker for a 3-2 decision in the fifth-place match. Silga took the redshirt freshman down in the first period and Lynde was able to escape from his hold to put the score at 2-1 heading into the second. The two then exchanged escapes to start the second and third periods.
Lynde had to work his way through the consolation bracket after being dealt a 3-1 decision in the first round, but did so in dominating fashion. The Delphi, Ind., native, outscored his next four opponents 36-10, dismantling Ville Heino of Campbell and Pitt's Aaron Rothwell, 14-3 and 11-2, respectively.
Purdue combined for 10 major decisions and seven pins at the tournament, three of which came from Brandon Nelsen. Nelsen stuck three straight opponents and took no more than 2:35 to pin each one. It marks the first time since Nov. 26, 2011, that a Boilermaker grappler has won three consecutive by fall. It also moves him into sole ownership at No. 14 on the career falls list with 21.
Farrell captured the 157-pound title with a 14-4 major decision over Edinboro's Chase Delande wrestling unattached in the Freshman/Sophomore Division. It was the Greenfield, Ind., native's second major decision of the tournament after dealing Northwestern's Robert Coukos a 14-5 setback in his first bout of the day. Farrell won his three other matches via decision.
Andrew Geers finished fourth wrestling unattached at 285 in the Freshman/Sophomore Division. After receiving a first-round bye, Geers stuck Austin Linden of Lake Erie College in 6:56. He then controlled Olivet's Alejardo Reid en route to a 20-3 technical fall.
The first home dual will be one to be remembered as Purdue will celebrate 100 years of wrestling while playing host to Duke at 2 p.m. ET on Nov. 16. The dual will be streamed live from Holloway Gymnasium on the Big Ten Digital Network.