Jan. 10, 1998

Boilers Finish Second at Virginia Duals

crnich photo
James Crnich.

Bad luck is not enough to stop the Purdue wrestling team. Neither is bad weather. The Boilers finished second at the Virginia Duals despite arriving in Hampton, Va., six hours behind schedule. Purdue's plane was delayed in Chicago due to heavy snow, forcing the Boilermakers to weigh in at a Chicago high school. The Boilermakers went 3-1 over the weekend to improve to 6-1 in dual meets this season.

"Overall, this was a great tournament for us," head coach Jessie Reyes said. "We were seeded rather low, and we had dropped two spots in the rankings. The competition was tough with six top-25 teams in the tournament, and we were able to come away with a second-place finish.

"We faced few problems in Chicago with the weather and the delayed flight. I think it gave us a chance to come together as a team and be more focused when we arrived in Virginia." Purdue, ranked 25th in the nation, entered the tournament as the seventh seed in the field of 16 and promptly defeated 10th-seed Virginia 29-3 in the first round. The Boilermakers won every weight class except 150 in the victory over the Cavaliers. Senior Tim Dernlan started Purdue off with an 11-3 win over Steve Garland at 118 pounds. Junior Willie Wineberg had a big victory for Purdue, pounding John Pozniak 17-6 at 142 pounds, while senior Eric Douglas picked up his 11th win of the season with a 6-1 win over Alex Leykikh.

In the quarterfinals, Purdue had to face the second seed, No. 16 Cornell. The Big Red crushed Navy 32-3 in the first round, but they couldn't keep up with Purdue. The Boilermakers had seven individual victories in the 23-9 win over Cornell. Dernlan once again started Purdue off with a win, defeating Aaron Taylor, 14-4. Wineberg and Douglas won 11-5 and 12-7, respectively. Senior Mickey Griffin, who lost a first round match against Virginia, came back strong with a 3-1 win over Cornell's John Fogarty at 150 pounds. Seniors Davion Peterson (177 pounds) and James Crnich (167 pounds) and junior David Pierce (Hwt.) all picked up victories, as well. "The guys wrestled aggressively," Reyes said.

"Griffin and Crnich had big wins for us against Cornell. Dernlan has been setting the tempo for the rest of the team by starting us off with wins. He's been a big force for us." On Saturday, Purdue knocked off No. 13 Edinboro, the third seed, 31-10 in the semi-finals. The Boilers won every weight class but 126 and 190. Dernlan picked up his third win of the weekend, pinning Jason Gabrielson at 5:00. Wineberg defeated Ryan Shapert 15-9, while Peterson pounded John Moore 14-4.

In the championship, Purdue had to face No. 1 Oklahoma State. The Cowboys defeated the Boilermakers 27-6, winning five matches by only a single point. Crnich defeated Tony Gansen 2-1 at 167 pounds. Peterson had the only other win for Purdue, a 7-6 victory over Mark Munoz. The Boilers travel to Champaign, Ill., for a Big Ten dual meet with No. 9 Illinois on Jan. 17.