Dec. 30, 2012
EVANSTON, Ill. - The Purdue wrestling team sits in 26th place with 16.5 points after the first day of competition at the 50th-annual Midlands Championships, hosted by Northwestern University at Welsh-Ryan Arena on Saturday. All nine of the Boilermakers' entries were eliminated on Saturday, leaving the squad awaiting its final place in the standings.
Just one win shy of advancing to tomorrow's competition, sophomore Brandon Nelsen finished 2-2 on the day, including a major decision. He opened the tournament with a 10-2 bonus-point win over Rider's Vinny Fava, using a pair of third-period takedowns to extend the score and grab the extra team point. Nelsen faltered in his next bout, suffering an 11-0 loss to fourth-ranked Mitchell Port of Edinboro, but bounced back with a 5-4 tiebreaker win over teammate Nick Lawrence to stay alive. Nelsen bowed out of the tournament against Pittsburgh's Travis Shaffer, giving up five points in the first period and proving unable to turn his opponent through nearly three minutes on top in the second and third periods.
Fellow sophomore Braden Atwood match Nelsen's effort at 197 pounds, going 2-2 and falling one win away from advancing to Sunday's action. Atwood opened with an 8-0 major decision of Northern Iowa's A.J. McBroom, but stumbled in his second round match, falling to 10th-seeded Kyven Gadson of Iowa State. He rebounded with a 2-1 win over Big Ten rival Caleb Kolb of Nebraska, but was ousted from the tournament by 12th-seeded Alex Polizzi of Northwestern.
Sophomore Patrick Kissel had a solid day at 184 pounds, going 2-1 before medically defaulting from the tournament. He suffered a narrow 7-4 loss to 12th-seeded Ty Vinson of Oregon State to open the day, but rebounded with a 7-2 decision over Northwestern's Jacob Berkowitz and followed up with a thrilling 6-4 tiebreaker victory over Old Dominion's Jack Dechow. Kissel and Dechow traded takedowns and escapes to finish regulation in a 4-4 tie, and after a scoreless sudden victory frame Kissel notched a reversal in the first 30-second tiebreaker period to account for the final difference.
The Boilermakers got a few bonus points from junior Alex White at heavyweight as his lone victory of the tournament was a pin over Columbia's Chris Manna in the wrestlebacks. White dominated the match from the whistle, scoring takedowns and a series of turns to build a 14-1 lead before locking up a cradle in the third period to earn the fall.
Lawrence, senior Tommy Churchard, sophomore Pat Robinson and freshman Danny Sabatello all went 1-2 on the day, each earning a decision at their respective weights. Churchard and Robinson's victories carried the most weight in the team scoring as they came on the championship side of the bracket.
The Boilermakers open Big Ten dual action next weekend, heading to Michigan State and Iowa.