March 12, 2014
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A trio of Purdue grapplers, Cashé Quiroga, Danny Sabatello and Braden Atwood, have qualified for the 2014 NCAA Wrestling Championships March 20-22 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City. A third-place finish at the Big Ten Championships earned Quiroga an automatic bid at 133 pounds, while Atwood placed sixth at 197 pounds for an automatic bid. Sabatello was one of four wrestlers that received an at-large bid at 141 pounds.
Quiroga will take a 16-6 record into his third NCAA Wrestling Championship's appearance and will be eyeing a second All-America honor. As a true freshman, he captured sixth-place honors at 125 pounds. The redshirt senior received the No. 7 seed and will begin his trek to the podium against Virginia Tech's Dennis Gustafson. The freshman Hokie, who owns a record of 24-13, took top honors at the ACC Championships. The bottom half of the 133-pound bracket includes five wrestlers that Quiroga has already met this season.
Sabatello is set to take on a familiar foe in the first round of the NCAAs in sixth-seeded Chris Dardanes of Minnesota. The Golden Gopher has won both meetings this season, but by only one point, including a 10-9 decision at the Big Ten Championships. Sabatello enters his first NCAA Championships with a 22-12 record after an eighth-place finish at the Big Ten Championships. Three other opponents from this season are also in the bottom half the 141-pound bracket with the redshirt sophomore Boilermaker.
After a sixth-place showing at the Big Ten Championships, Atwood was tabbed with the No. 15 seed at 197 pounds. The three-time NCAA qualifier owns a record of 25-10 and will face NC State's KaRonne Jones in the first round. Jones is in his final campaign with the Wolfpack and owns a mark of 14-13. He earned his first NCAA trip with a fifth-place finish at the ACC Championships. Five grapplers that Atwood has battled this season join him in the bottom half of the bracket.
The first session from Oklahoma City will get underway March 20 at 11 a.m. CT with eight mats of action.