WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The 21st-ranked Purdue Wrestling team continues a grueling three-dual stretch on Friday, traveling to face sixth-ranked Illinois at 7 p.m . (CT) in Huff Hall in Champaign, Ill. The Boilermakers are 10-3 overall in dual competition and 1-1 in Big Ten Duals, looking to win at Illinois for the first time since 2010.
The Boilermakers opened Big Ten Duals with a victory for the second straight season last Friday, downing Michigan State on the road, 26-10. They won seven of the 10 matches, including a fall and two major decisions. While they were unable to duplicate the feat on Sunday at fifth-ranked Iowa, they still won a trio of bouts in the 29-9 defeat. Four Boilermakers emerged unbeaten in conference as junior Camden Eppert, senior Ivan Lopouchanski and sophomore Braden Atwood all went 2-0, while junior Cashé Quiroga was victorious in his only match.
"We got things off to a good start, but it's important that we keep it going this weekend," said Purdue head coach Scott Hinkel. "Illinois is a great team and it's always difficult to win on the road in the Big Ten. We have to make sure we stay in good position, wrestle hard and do all the little things it will take to win."
The Boilermakers continue to have several individuals ranked in the national polls, including Lopouchanski and Atwood, who hold top-15 spots at their respective weights. At 16-0 on the year, Lopouchanski sits 12th in the nation at 149 pounds, while Atwood is 18-3 overall and is ranked 14th at 197 pounds. Quiroga also holds a consensus ranking in the polls at 133 pounds, but is out this weekend after sustaining a minor injury prior to the Iowa dual on Sunday.
The Fighting Illini lead the all-time series with the Boilermakers, 53-29-2, including a 29-13-1 at home and 13 of the last 14 meetings. Purdue snapped an 11-match slide in 2010, topping Illinois on its home turf, 25-11, but the Illini have won two in a row since, including a 24-9 victory in West Lafayette last season. Illinois No. 6 national ranking comes on the strength of seven ranked individuals, five of them earning a top-10 spot at their respective weights. Senior B.J. Futrell highlights the list at 141 pounds with a consensus No. 3 ranking and 19-1 record. Sophomore Jesse Delgado and senior Jordan Blanton hold the No. 5 spot in the country at 125 pounds and 174 pounds, respectively, while senior Conrad Polz is the nation's sixth-ranked wrestler at 165 pounds. Junior Mario Gonzalez rounds out the list of top-10 Illini, holding the No. 7 ranking at 197 pounds, while senior Daryl Thomas and junior Tony Dallago have national recognition at 133 and 184 pounds, sitting 14th and 13th, respectively.
Friday's match will be streamed by Illinois on the Big Ten Digital Network, while live updates will be available via TrackWrestling.com and the @PurdueWrestling Twitter Page.