Wrestling In 11th Place After Day One Of 49th-Annual Midlands Championships
Atwood is 13-4 on the year, ranked 20th in the nation at 184 pounds.

Dec. 29, 2011

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EVANSTON, Ill. - The Purdue wrestling team is in 11th place with 32 points after the first day of competition at the 49th-Annual Midlands Championships, hosted by Northwestern University at Welsh-Ryan Arena on Thursday. No. 20 freshman Braden Atwood paced the Boilermakers, advancing to the 184-pound semifinals with a trio of victories on the day, while three more of his teammates are alive in the round of 12, looking to earn a spot on the podium tomorrow afternoon.

Atwood was dominant on Thursday, scoring two falls and a major decision to improve to 13-4 on the season. After his two falls in the first session, Atwood rolled into the semifinals with a 12-2 major decision over fourth-seeded and 16th-ranked Erich Schmidtke of Oklahoma. Atwood tallied four-point maneuvers in the first and second periods to account for the bulk of his scoring, and only gave up a reversal in the waning seconds as he had the major decision locked up and was going for the fall. He'll get a chance to rematch top-ranked and top-seeded Robert Hamlin of Lehigh tomorrow, looking to avenge a loss at this year's Northeast Duals.

Fellow rookie Brandon Nelsen came up just shy of joining Atwood in the semifinals, but fell in the 141-pound quarterfinals to 12th-seeded Adam Krop of Princeton, 3-0. After a pair of wins in the afternoon session, including a 4-2 upset over fourth-seeded and eighth-ranked Steve Dutton of Lehigh, Nelsen couldn't come up with a takedown in the nightcap. Krop's points came off of a second-period reversal and a riding time point. He'll wrestle sixth-seeded Zach Neibert of Virginia Tech in tomorrow's consolation quarterfinals.

Junior Tommy Churchard and senior Roger Vukobratovich needed a pair of victories Thursday night to stay alive in the tournament and both completed the task as Churchard made the round of 12 at 157 pounds and Vukobratovich advanced at 285 pounds. Churchard toppled a pair of Chippewa's, knocking off Central Michigan's seventh-seeded Donnie Corby, 8-7, and following with an 11-4 win over Corby's teammate Luke Smith. Vukobratovich scored his second fall of the season, sticking North Dakota State's Evan Knutson in 4:50, and cruised past Wisconsin-Parkside's James Malacek, 6-1. Churchard will meet eighth-seeded Aaron Sulzer tomorrow, while Vukobratovich squares off with 11th-seeded Quinton McCorkle.

Senior Matt Fields and sophomore Camden Eppert were eliminated from the tournament Thursday night in their respective weight classes. Fields managed to score a few team points before he was bounced, notching two wins Thursday morning, including his sixth fall of the season. Freshman Frankie Porras was eliminated as well Thursday night as he was pinned by Iowa's Mike Kelly in 4:43.

Action resumes tomorrow at noon with the consolation quarterfinals, followed by the championship and consolation semifinals, and the championship rounds. The Big Ten Network will air the championships tomorrow evening on tape delay, scheduled for 9 p.m. (ET).


49th Annual Midlands Championships Results

Thursday-Friday, Dec. 29-30, 2011

Welsh-Ryan Arena – Northwestern University


125 Pounds: Camden Eppert

First Round: lost to No. 2 (2) Matt McDonough (Iowa), Fall 6:01

Conso. First Round: lost to Aaron Pickrel (South Dakota St.), D 0-3


133 Pounds: Matt Fields

Pigtail: lost to Ryan Jauch (Northern Iowa), D 3-4

Conso. Pigtail: def. Jose Mendoza (CSU Bakersfield), Fall 1:04

Conso. First Round: def. Ben Cash (Iowa State), D 1-0

Conso. Second Round: lost to No. 11 Thomas Kelliher (Wisconsin), D 1-2


141 Pounds: Nick Lawrence

First Round: lost to Luke Goetti (Iowa State), D 4-5

Conso. First Round: lost to Tyler Diamond (North Dakota St.), D 2-3


141 Pounds: Brandon Nelsen

First Round: def. Daryl Thomas (Illinois), D 19-17

Second Round: def. No. 4 (8) Stephen Dutton (Lehigh), D 4-2

Quarterfinals: lost to No. 12 Adam Kroy (Princeton), D 0-3

Round of 12: No. 6 Zach Neibert (Virginia Tech)


149 Pounds: Frankie Porras

Pigtail: lost to Clay Welter (Northern Iowa), D 2-5

Conso. Pigtail: def. Luke Swalla (Iowa St.), D 3-2

Conso. First Round: def. Steve Dewitt (Harper), D 8-6

Conso. Second Round: lost to Mike Kelly (Iowa), Fall 4:43


157 Pounds: Tommy Churchard

Pigtail: def. Ray Schlitt (Bucknell), MD 15-5

First Round: lost to No. 4 (11) Matt Lester (Oklahoma), MD 4-12

Conso. First Round: def. Steve Ross (SIUE) MD 13-4

Conso. Second Round: def. No. 7 Donnie Corby (Central Michigan), D 8-7

Conso. Third Round: def. Luke Smith (Central Michigan), D 11-4

Round of 12: No. 8 Aaron Sulzer (Eastern Michigan)


174 Pounds: Drake Stein

Pigtail: lost to No. 8 Phillip Joseph (Eastern Michigan), MD 2-11

Conso. Pigtail: lost to Stephan McPeek (Bucknell), D 8-12


184 Pounds: No. 5 (20) Braden Atwood

First Round: def. Steven Cressley (Clarion), Fall 5:55

Second Round: def. No. 12 Tim Foley (Wrestling Roots), Fall 5:39

Quarterfinals: def. No. 4 (16) Erich Schmidtke (Oklahoma), MD 12-2

Semifinals: No. 1 (1) Robert Hamlin (Lehigh)


285 Pounds: Roger Vukobratovich

First Round: lost to No. 7 Blake Rasing (Iowa), D 2-3

Conso. First Round: def. David Devine (SIUE), MD 16-6

Conso. Second Round: def. Evan Knutson (North Dakota St.), Fall 4:50

Conso. Third Round: def. James Malacek (UW Parkside), D 6-1

Round of 12: No. 11 Quintas McCorkle (Clarion)


Tournament seed proceeds national ranking in brackets




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