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LAS VEGAS - Four unseeded Purdue wrestlers advanced through to the second day of the 36th annual Cliff Keen Las Vegas Wrestling Invitational on Friday. Ben Thornton, Nate Limmex, Dylan Lydy and Shawn Streck will return to the mat in consolation blood round action at noon ET on Saturday at the Las Vegas Convention Center. If they win their match, they will earn a spot on the podium.
Streck came wrestled his way into the quarterfinals, but the Boilermakers' heavyweight was denied a spot in the semifinals, dropping a 5-1 match to fifth-seeded Nathan Butler of Stanford. A takedown in the final minute of a third round matchup with Ryan Solomon of Pitt lifted the redshirt freshman past the No. 4 seed for a 10-8 decision. He'll take on Iowa State's Marcus Harrington in Saturday's blood round.
Thornton stormed through the 133-pound wrestlebacks, rattling off four decisions after dropping a 2-1 tiebreaker decision to fourth-seeded Luke Pletcher of Ohio State in his first match of the day. The highlight match of Thornton's run Friday was a 7-3 upset of Iowa State's10th-seeded Ian Parker. The redshirt junior scored a pair of takedowns and escapes along with riding time in the win. He'll take on Zach Sherman of North Carolina, who he defeated 7-4 at the Journeymen/MyHouse Northeast Collegiate Duals in November.
Like Thornton, Limmex's day was spent battling through the consolation bracket. The 141-pounder recovered from a 9-5 first round loss to Pitt's Nick Zanetta with the highest offensive outing of his career, a 21-6 (6:46) technical fall against Chris Deloza of Fresno State. Three decisions followed for the Boilermaker. His was in complete control as he knocked the No. 7 seed, Michael Longo of Oklahoma, out in the third round of wrestlebacks with a 10-5 decision. Limmex will square off against eighth-seeded Kanen Storr of Iowa State on Saturday.
It was a marathon day for Lydy at 174 pounds, winning four of his five matches. His first match was won in dramatic fashion: getting the first pin of his career while also upsetting 13th-seeded Will Schany of Virginia with a pin as time expired in the first tiebreaker. Two matches later Lydy was on the wrong end of a pin, falling victim to fourth-seeded Jadaen Bernstein of Navy in 6:02 in a bout that was favoring the Purdue redshirt sophomore down the stretch. Lydy rebounded with back-to-back decisions, setting himself up for a battle with No. 11 C.J. Brucki of Central Michigan.
The Boilermakers' two seeded grapplers, No. 6 Luke Welch and No. 6 Christian Brunner, were eliminated from the tournament during wrestlebacks at 125 and 197 pounds, respectively. A reversal with just seconds remaining in the tiebreaker was the difference in a 9-8 loss to Virginia's seventh-seeded Louie Hayes for Welch. Brunner was forced to exit after dropping a 9-2 decision at the hands of Cornell's Ben Honis.