Wrestling Trio Set for NCAAs
March 15, 2017

NCAA Championships

Thursday, March 16 to Saturday, March 18 / Scottrade Center / St. Louis, Missouri
Purdue Notes / Brackets, Results

Session I
Thursday, March 16 / Noon ET / ESPNU
Eight mats; pigtails and first round
Live Video

Session II
Thursday, March 16 / 7 p.m. ET / ESPN
Eight mats; preliminaries: wrestleback preliminaries, wrestleback first round; championship round: second round, consolation round
Live Video

Session III
Friday, March 17 / 11 a.m. ET / ESPNU
Eight mats; quarterfinals and wrestlebacks
Live Video

Session IV
Friday, March 17 / 8 p.m. ET / ESPN
Six mats; semifinals and wrestlebacks
Live Video

Session V
Saturday, March 18 / 11 a.m. ET / ESPNU
Three mats; wrestleback semifinals and third-, fifth-, seventh-place medal rounds
Live Video

Session VI
Saturday, March 18 / 8 p.m. ET / ESPN
Championship finals
Live Video

ST. LOUIS - The Purdue wrestling season has reached its pinnacle, the NCAA Championships. On Thursday, the first of three days of competition will get underway on eight mats inside of the Scottrade Center. Three Boilermakers earned automatic berths to the NCAA Championships, led by two-time qualifier Alex Griffin at 157 pounds. Jacob Morrissey (174) and Christian Brunner (197) are set to wrestle in the tournament for the first time in their respective careers.

Griffin secured his NCAA bid early in the Big Ten Championships and went on to place sixth in the tournament. During his Big Ten run, Griffin, who was seeded 10th, wrestled above his seed and posted a pair of upsets. He notched a 6-2 upset of ninth-seeded TJ Ruschell of Wisconsin in the second round of wrestlebacks and followed with another upset in the consolation quarterfinals, beating Illinois' fifth-seeded Kyle Langenderfer with a barrage of back points in the second period en route to an 8-4 decision. His win over Langenderfer, who was ranked 13th, marks the highest ranked opponent Griffin has beaten this season.

The redshirt senior has other wins over NCAA qualifiers in addition to Ruschell and Langenderfer: Paul Fox, Stanford; 16th-seeded Victor Lopez, Bucknell; B.J. Clagon, Rider; and 13th-seeded John Van Brill, Rutgers.
Griffin has set numerous career highs in his final season: wins (24), technical falls (10), bonus point wins (13), shutouts (6), takedowns (41), two-point nearfalls (20), four-point nearfalls (30), back points (160), total points scored (296). His 296 total points is 104 points more than his previous season high in 2013-14.

A qualifier last season at 149 pounds, Griffin brings a 24-13 record into his second national championships appearance. He'll square off against fifth-seeded Joseph Smith of Oklahoma State in the first round.

Morrissey enters the postseason for the first time in his career after having last season come to an end in February due to injury. The redshirt junior earned an automatic berth to St. Louis in dramatic fashion, coming back to beat No. 9 Micah Barnes of Nebraska, 6-4, in sudden victory in the second round of wrestlebacks at the Big Ten Championships.

At 16-11, five of Morrissey's wins this season have come over NCAA qualifiers, with decisions over Devin Skatzka of Indiana (10-4), Wisconsin's Ryan Christensen (4-0) and Chris Pfarr of Minnesota (6-2). He also pinned SIU Edwardsville's Jake Residori (4:20) and Pfarr (2:23).
Morrissey has set career highs this season in technical falls (4), bonus point wins (9), shutouts (5), four-point nearfalls (19), back points (82) and total points scored (173). Nine of his 1 wins have resulted in bonus points

He'll meet a familiar foe in 10th-seeded Zac Brunson of Illinois.

Brunner is the first Purdue true freshman to qualify for the NCAA Championships since Cashé Quiroga at 125 pounds in 2010. He earned his spot in St. Louis by avenging an early season loss to Iowa's Cash Wilcke when it mattered most, beating the seventh-seeded Hawkeye 7-2 in the seventh-place match of the Big Ten Championships to secure the final automatic berth for the conference. A takedown was scored by Brunner in each of the three periods, including the final one with five seconds on the clock to lock down his bid.

His seventh-place finish at Big Tens marked the first time a true freshman had placed for the Boilermakers since Quiroga took sixth at 125 pounds in 2010. The East Dundee, Illinois, native, also extended Purdue's streak of 197-pounders earning a spot on the podium to 14 straight years.
Wilcke is one of four wins Brunner has over NCAA qualifiers. His other wins include an 8-2 decision of SIU Edwardsville's Jake Tindle, a 4-1 upset of Ricky Robertson of Wisconsin, who is seeded 15th in St. Louis, and an 8-3 upset of South Dakota State's Nate Rotert, who is seeded ninth.

The 23-15 rookie is the team leader in points scored in the third period (103) and point differential in the third period (+47). He is the only Purdue wrestler to go over 100 points in the third period and is 1 of 5 Boilermakers to score 200+ total points.

Brunner will open the NCAA Championships against No. 5-seeded Matt McCutcheon of Penn State.



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