Feb. 21, 2013
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The 14th-ranked Purdue wrestling team will conclude its regular season this weekend, headling to Franklin & Marshall for duals against the University of Buffalo and the host Diplomats on Saturday in Lancaster, Pa. The Boilermakers look to wrap up their best dual season in recent history as they enter the weekend at 15-6 overall and touting their highest national ranking in the last decade.
It's been a breakout season for the Boilermakers and sixth-year head coach Scott Hinkel, posting their most dual victories in his tenure and the most at Purdue since an 18-win campaign in 2004. The Boilermakers have six individuals with at least 20 victories, chasing their 2010 total of seven 20-match winners, when all seven qualified for the NCAA Championships. Senior Tommy Churchard and freshman Chad Welch have the 20-win mark in reach this weekend, heading to Franklin & Marshall with 18 victories apiece. Both split matches last weekend at the Missouri Regional of the NWCA National Duals, as Welch earned a 13-1 major decision over Wyoming's L.J. Helbig, while Churchard upended 16th-ranked Kyle Bradley of Missouri, 9-5.
Other big weekends in Missouri came from sophomores Brandon Nelsen and Braden Atwood as Nelsen won a pair of matches, stretching his win streak to six, while Atwood nearly edged fourth-ranked Alfonso Hernandez of Wyoming, and rebounded with a 3:13 fall over Missouri's highly-ranked Brent Haynes. The pair are tied for Purdue's top win mark this season with 22 victories apiece, and own the top-two pin marks on the Boilermaker roster with seven and six, respectively. Nelsen leads the Boilermakers with 14 bonus-point wins this season, winning four of his last six in impressive fashion, including two by fall, while Atwood has won four of his last five, pinning Michigan's Max Huntley in addition to Haynes.
Purdue has met up with both Buffalo and Franklin & Marshall just one time each in school history, topping the Bulls in 1995 at Ashland University, 42-6, and scoring a 44-6 victory over the Diplomats in West Lafayette in 2001. The Boilermakers are undefeated against 81 out of 146 all-time opponents in their 99-year history and look to keep that number intact this weekend.
Buffalo heads to Lancaster at just 1-10 in dual competition this season, coming off a pair of losses at home to Kent State and Northern Illinois last weekend. The Bulls are led by seniors Mark Lewandowski and John-Martin Cannon, who provide back-to-back punch at 165 and 174 pounds. Lewandowski is an impressive 27-6 this season, while Cannon is 8-6 in limited action and was injured in last weekend's dual against Kent State, but is a projected go for the Bulls.
Franklin & Marshall enters the weekend at 7-7, and will face Duke before squaring off with the Boilermakers. The Diplomats are paced by standout sophomore Richard Durso, who holds a consensus top-20 national ranking at 141 pounds with an impressive 32-3 mark on the season. Similar to the Boilermakers and Bulls, Franklin & Marshall has an extremely young starting lineup that features just one senior and as many as four freshmen.
This weekend's action will start at 9:30 a.m., featuring the Diplomats and Duke alongside the Boilermakers and Bulls, while Purdue and Franklin & Marshall is scheduled to follow at 11:30 a.m., while Duke battles Lock Haven at the same time. Live results and video will be available of Purdue's match against Franklin & Marshall.