WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The 17th-ranked Purdue wrestling team looks to wrap up the 2013 Big Ten dual season in grand fashion as they host archrival Indiana on Monday in Holloway Gymnasium at 6:30 p.m. The Boilermakers look for their first winning conference dual mark in 15 years as they enter the match at 13-5 overall and 4-3 in Big Ten duals, while Indiana is just 6-8 (0-6 Big Ten).
With last week's three match sweep of Wisconsin, Northwestern and Michigan, the Boilermakers have already hit several historical marks this season. The Boilermakers' 13 dual wins and four Big Ten dual victories are their most since 2004, and their highest totals under sixth-year head coach Scott Hinkel. Their three-match conference win streak is their longest since 2003, and a win over Indiana on Monday would mark their first winning conference record and their longest conference win streak since 1998.
"We're on a great run right now, but we have to keep our foot on the gas," said Hinkel. "We had three great matches last week, and now our focus is on beating Indiana and continuing our pursuit of our goals. We have to keep doing it one match at a time."
Several individuals have been instrumental in the Boilermakers' three-dual win streak, but none more so than sophomores Brandon Nelsen and Patrick Kissel. Nelsen and Kissel are undefeated in their last three contests, each scoring bonus points in two of the three bouts. Nelsen came up with a clutch fall in the 22-14 win over Wisconsin, in addition to a huge 12-0 major decision over Michigan's Camryn Jackson to secure the dual-winning bonus point, while Kissel had major decisions in the wins over Wisconsin and Northwestern, as well as a late takedown to seal a 4-3 win over Michigan's Chris Heald last Sunday.
"Brandon and Patrick have really come on strong for us this season and are taking care of business," said Hinkel. "It's great when guys are consistently winning in your lineup, but when they're getting bonus points it's huge. Those are the difference between wins and losses for the team."
Junior captain Cashé Quiroga returned to the lineup last weekend after a month layoff, earning a pair of key victories at Northwestern and at home against Michigan. Quiroga is 6-1 on the year at 133 pounds with a trio of Big Ten dual wins, looking to finish the season strong and earn a bid to his third NCAA Championship.
"Getting Cashé back in the lineup is big for our team," said Hinkel. "Aside from the talent he brings to his individual match and results, he's a sparkplug for the rest of our guys. He competes with a very high energy level and that's contagious."
The Hoosiers come to West Lafayette in search of their first Big Ten win of the season, having dealt with a tough year of injuries in their starting lineup. They've been without starters at 133, 141, 165 and 197 pounds through parts of the season, and the entire year in some cases. The highlights of the Indiana lineup remain at 157 and 285 pounds, where sophomore Taylor Walsh and junior Adam Chalfant have put together outstanding seasons. Walsh is 26-6 this season at 157 pounds, good for a top-15 ranking nationally, while Chalfant is 20-6 at heavyweight, also claiming a spot inside the national top-15 in a brutal Big Ten weight class.
Monday's match will feature a series of specials and promotions, including buy one, get one free tickets and an honorary captain appearance by Purdue University president Mitch Daniels. The match will air live on the Big Ten Network, marking the Boilermakers' only live television appearance of the season. Tickets for the dual are $5 for adults and $2 for youth, with groups of 15 or more gaining admission for $1 per person, with doors opening at 5:30 p.m. Following tradition of the last home dual of the season, Boilermaker seniors Tommy Churchard, Jake Fleckenstein and Ivan Lopouchanski will all be honored before the dual in a presentation starting at approximately 6 p.m. Doors to Holloway Gymnasium will open at 5:30 p.m.