Three Place, Wrestling Takes 10th At 49th-Annual Midlands Championships
Senior Roger Vukobratovich was eighth at heavyweight, placing at Midlands for the first time.

Dec. 30, 2011

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EVANSTON, Ill. - The Purdue wrestling team posted a 10th-place finish at the 49th-Annual Midlands Championships, hosted by Northwestern University at Welsh-Ryan Arena on Thursday and Friday, amassing 48 team points. Three Boilermakers secured placewinning performances as freshman Braden Atwood led the group with a fourth-place effort at 184 pounds, junior Tommy Churchard was sixth at 157 pounds and senior Roger Vukobratovich was eighth at 285 pounds.

Atwood faltered to start the day, falling to top-seeded and top-ranked Robert Hamlin of Lehigh by major decision, 12-4, but bounced back with his third fall of the tournament and seventh of the year as he stuck Joe Rau of Elmhurst in 1:38. Rau scored the first takedown to take a 2-0 lead, but Atwood reversed his opponent to his back and settled in for the bonus-point win, his fourth of the championship. Atwood wrapped up the tournament against Northern Iowa's second-seeded and sixth-ranked Ryan Loder, suffering a 10-2 major decision loss. Atwood's lone points came on a third-period takedown, while Loder capitalized on a pair of reversals in the win.

Churchard was solid on Friday, posting a 2-2 record en route to his sixth-place finish. He sealed up a spot on the podium with a 4-2 victory over eighth-seeded Aaron Sulzer of Eastern Michigan in the round of 12, wrestling a very smart match to earn the win. Sulzer opened the scoring in the first with a takedown, but escaped for one point, rode Sulzer out in the second for another and picked up a takedown of his own in the last 20 seconds to clinch the victory. Churchard followed with a 7-5 win over the No. 12 seed, Daniel Kolodzik of Princeton to move on to the consolation semifinals. The Boilermaker junior had a trio of takedowns in the match, scoring one in each period, and piled up over three minutes of riding time. Churchard had a tough stretch the rest of the way, losing by fall to third-seeded and eighth-ranked James Fleming of Clarion by fall in 1:32, and suffering his second loss of the tournament to fourth-seeded and 11th-ranked Matt Lester of Oklahoma.

After going 3-1 yesterday, Vukobratovich earned his spot on the podium with a 3-1 victory over 11th-seeded Quintan McCorkle of Clarion. Vukobratovich scored the bout's only takedown in the first period, catching a single-leg and then tripping McCorkle to the match for two. The consolation quarterfinals and semifinals were not as kind to the Purdue senior as he fell to Iowa State's Matt Gibson by major decision, 13-3, and dropped a 16-0 technical fall to Wisconsin's Connor Medbury, settling for eighth place.

Freshman Brandon Nelsen came up just short of placing on Friday, falling in his round of 12 match to sixth-seeded Zach Neibert of Virginia Tech, 7-3. Neibert scored all his points in the first period, notching two takedowns, two back points and over a minute of riding time. Nelsen finished 2-2 in the tournament, winning his first two matches before falling twice in the wrestlebacks.

Big Ten rival Iowa took home the team title on Friday, dominating the field with 152 team points. The conference accounted for four of the top-10 as Northwestern was second with 105.5 points, Illinois was sixth with 73 points and Purdue held off three teams that were a half-point behind to secure 10th.

The Boilermakers continue Big Ten Duals in their next outing, hosting seventh-ranked Illinois in Holloway Gymnasium on Jan. 6. The match has been dubbed Military Appreciation Night and the Boilermakers will host former McCutcheon High School wrestling standout and U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Matt Bowman as their honorary captain. The Boilermakers will wear their special edition camouflage singlets, which will be auctioned off after the dual with all proceeds going to the Semper Fi Foundation.

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: lost to No. 6 Zach Neibert (Virginia Tech), D 3-7


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 – 6th Place

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: def. No. 8 Aaron Sulzer (Eastern Michigan), D 4-2

Conso. Quarterfinals: def. No. 12 Daniel Kolodzik (Princeton), D 7-5

Conso. Semifinals: lost to No. 3 (8) James Fleming (Clarion), Fall 1:32

5th-Place Match: lost to No. 4 (11) Matt Lester (Oklahoma), D 3-10


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 – 4th Place

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: lost to No. 1 (1) Robert Hamlin (Lehigh), MD 4-12

Conso. Semifinals: def. Joe Rau (Elmhurst), Fall 1:38

3rd-Place Match: lost to No. 2 (6) Ryan Loder (Northern Iowa), MD 2-10


285 Pounds: Roger Vukobratovich – 8th Place

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: def. No. 11 Quintas McCorkle (Clarion), D 3-1

Conso.  Quarterfinals: lost to Matt Gibson (Iowa State), MD 3-12

7th-Place Match: lost to Connor Medbery (Wisconsin), TF5 0-16 (2:52)


Tournament seed proceeds national ranking in brackets




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