Jan. 25, 2013
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The No. 22 Purdue wrestling team continues its Big Ten dual season on Monday, heading to Hinsdale Central High School in Hinsdale, Ill. to face the 20th-ranked University of Wisconsin. The Boilermakers are 10-5 overall and 1-3 in conference duals heading into the weekend, looking to win their third consecutive meeting with the Badgers.
The Boilermakers are coming off the toughest part of their schedule, facing three of the top-six teams in the country over the last few weeks. They suffered a 29-9 loss at fourth-ranked Iowa, followed by a 29-10 defeat at No. 6 Illinois and a 35-3 loss to top-ranked Penn State at home last weekend. Senior Ivan Lopouchanski was Purdue's lone individual to emerge victorious in all three duals, improving to 18-0 on the year and 4-0 in conference action.
In addition to the difficult schedule, the Boilermakers have yet to field their starting lineup, with at least one starter sidelined with an injury in each dual. Sophomore 184-pounder Patrick Kissel has missed all four conference matchups, while junior 133-pounder Cashé Quiroga has missed the last three duals after an injury prior to the meet at Iowa. Sophomore 165-pounder Pat Robinson and freshman 174-pounder Chad Welch joined the list of casualties last weekend, missing the Penn State dual. All four could return to the lineup on Monday as the Boilermakers look to finish strong in the conference season.
"A new season starts Monday," said Purdue head coach Scott Hinkel. "We have accomplished a lot to this point in the season, but we've fallen short of a few goals. We want to finish the Big Ten season strong and get our momentum going for the postseason. That starts Monday against Wisconsin."
While the Badgers lead the all-time series against Purdue, 41-14-2, the Boilermakers have taken the last two meetings. After seven straight Wisconsin wins from 2004 to 2010, the Boilermakers edged a sixth-ranked Wisconsin squad in Madison in 2011, 18-16, using a third-period pin from Camden Eppert to secure the upset, and Purdue posted one of its largest wins in Big Ten history in 2012 in Madison, hammering the Badgers, 41-3. Monday will be the 11th all-time meeting between the two schools at a neutral site, and the Boilermakers are in search of their first-ever win over Wisconsin outside of West Lafayette or Madison.
"Last year's win at Wisconsin came at a big point in our season," said Hinkel. "We used it as a springboard, winning three of our last four Big Ten duals, and we're looking to do the same thing this year."
The Badgers had an outstanding start to their conference season, winning their first three Big Ten duals before falling in their last two to Iowa and No. 6 Ohio State. After opening with a 19-12 victory over Michigan State, they won on the road at No. 13 Nebraska, 19-17, and took down No. 18 Michigan in Madison, 19-16. Wisconsin is led by a pair of ranked individuals in senior Tyler Graff and freshman Connor Medbery. Both natives of Loveland, Colo., Graff enters the weekend at 19-4, ranked fifth at 133 pounds, while Medbery is 18-3 on the season en route to a No. 10 ranking at heavyweight. Junior Jackson Hein has been solid as well for the Badgers this season, earning the No. 20 ranking at 197 pounds with a 14-6 record.
The Hinsdale Central High School coaching staff consists of several Boilermaker alumni, including Alan Housner, Jeff Tolbert, John Allen, Jason Hayes and James Leavell, who were all instrumental in bringing Monday's dual to the Chicagoland area. Housner was an All-American and Big Ten Champion for the Boilermakers, competing from 1974-to-1976, and led the Boilermakers to a ninth-place effort at the NCAA Championships in 1975, while Tolbert was a four-year starter and letterwinner for the Boilermakers from 1979-to-1982, earning Most Valuable Wrestler honors three times and qualifying for the NCAA Tournament twice. Allen earned four varsity letters from 1981-to-1984 and was a three-year starter for the Boilermakers at heavyweight, Hayes earned four varsity letters from 1996-to-1999, starting for the Boilermakers at 126 pounds as a sophomore and guiding the squad to 16 dual victories that season, and Leavell earned four varsity letters from 1997-to-2000, starting for the team at 157 pounds as a senior.
Live results of Monday's action will be available via TrackWrestling.com and the @Purdue Wrestling Twitter page. Tickets to the dual are $7 (children under 5 are free) and Hinsdale Central High School is expecting a sell-out crowd for the event.