Boilermakers Head to Des Moines for 2013 NCAA Wrestling Championships

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM Chad Welch is the fourth consecutive Purdue freshman to qualify for the NCAA Championships.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM
Chad Welch is the fourth consecutive Purdue freshman to qualify for the NCAA Championships.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM

March 19, 2013

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Purdue wrestling team heads to Des Moines today for the 2013 NCAA Championships, set for Thursday through Saturday at Wells Fargo Arena. The Boilermakers qualified five individuals for the tournament, marking the fifth straight year head coach Scott Hinkel has advanced at least half his starting lineup for the national championships.

Seniors Ivan Lopouchanski and Tommy Churchard and sophomore Braden Atwood are making return trips to the NCAA Championships, while sophomore Brandon Nelsen and freshman Chad Welch are making their debut trips to the national scene. Lopouchanski, Atwood, Nelsen and Welch earned automatic bids to the national tournament, while Churchard was awarded an at-large bid for the second straight season.

Lopouchanski earned the No. 10 seed at 149 pounds and has his sights locked on All-America honors this week. A four-time national qualifier and 2011 Round of 12-finisher, he has a sterling record of 27-2 this season, including a third-place effort at the Big Ten Championships. Lopouchanski opened the year with 20 consecutive wins before suffering his first defeat and rebounded from an opening-round loss at the conference tournament to come back for the bronze. He'll open NCAA competition against Bloomsburg senior Josh Roosa, who qualified for his first-ever national championship with a 22-5 record and third-place finish at the Eastern Wrestling League (EWL) Championships.

At 157 pounds, Churchard heads to nationals at 19-15 after a lackluster Big Ten Championship performance, and aims to close out his Boilermaker career with a bang. He draws fifth-seeded senior James Fleming of Clarion in the opening round, marking a rematch from last year's NCAA second round. A 2012 All-American and four-time national qualifier, Fleming is 30-2 this season and earned his bid to NCAA's with a second-place effort at the EWL Championships.

After qualifying at 184 pounds in 2012, Atwood made the bump to 197 and earned his second straight automatic qualifier to nationals. With a 25-10 mark and eighth-place effort at the Big Ten Championships, Atwood draws the No. 11 seed, junior Blake Rosholt of Oklahoma State, in the first round. Rosholt is just 14-7 on the year, earning his berth to NCAA's with a second-place effort at the Big 12 Championships. Atwood and the two-time national qualifier have never wrestled before.

Nelsen had a breakout performance at 141 pounds at the Big Ten Championships, earning fourth place and his first career trip to nationals. He owns a 25-12 mark this season, including victories in nine of his last 12 matches, and leads the Boilermakers with 14 bonus-point wins and eight falls. Nelsen will face a familiar opponent in his opening match, drawing 12th-seeded freshman Chris Mecate of Old Dominion. Mecate is 36-7 after winning the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) title at 141 pounds and riding an 11-match win streak into nationals. One of his seven losses on the season came at the hands of Nelsen, as the Boilermaker sophomore scored a defensive pin at the 6:10 back on Nov. 10 in a dual at Holloway Gymnasium.

Welch becomes the fourth straight Boilermaker freshman to qualify for nationals, following Atwood in 2012 and junior teammates Camden Eppert and Cashé Quiroga in 2011 and 2010, respectively. The 174-pound rookie owns a 22-13 mark on the season, with just one loss to an individual outside the national championship field, and finished eighth at the Big Ten Championships. Welch is set to meet a fellow freshman in the first round on Thursday, squaring off with Ohio rookie Cody Walters, who is 27-2 on the year after winning the Mid-American Conference (MAC) championship at 174 pounds.

The Boilermakers look to get back into the top-25 at the NCAA Championships for the first time since 2009, after finishing just outside the mark in 2010 and 2012. Purdue's top finish in recent history was a 14th-place effort in 2003, while the best finish ever for Purdue was a second-place effort in 1950. The Old Gold and Black have had just two All-Americans in the last six years, and haven't had more than one at the championships since a pair of Boilermakers climbed the podium in 2006.

All six sessions of the NCAA Championships will be available on the ESPN family of networks, including the live finals set for Saturday at 8 p.m. (ET) on ESPN. The first two sessions will be available online on ESPN3, while coverage expands to ESPNU for both of Friday's sessions and Saturday morning's medal round. The @PurdueWrestling Twitter Page will send updates of the Boilermakers' mat assignments, in addition to play-by-play and scores.

 

2013 NCAA Wrestling Championships Schedule:

Date

Time

Match

Network

Thu, Mar 21

Noon

NCAA Wrestling Championships First Round
(Session 1:
Mat 1, Mat 2, Mat 3, Mat 4)

Shawn Kenney & Jim Gibbons

ESPN3

 

7:30 p.m.

NCAA Wrestling Championships Second Round
(Session 2:
Mat 1, Mat 2, Mat 3, Mat 4)

Shawn Kenney & Jim Gibbons

ESPN3

Fri, Mar 22

11 a.m.

NCAA Wrestling Championships Quarterfinals
(Session 3:
Mat 1, Mat 2, Mat 3, Mat 4)

Adam Amin, Tim Johnson, Anthony Robles &  Quint Kessenich

ESPNU/ ESPN3

 

7 p.m.

NCAA Wrestling Championships Semifinals (Session 4)
Adam Amin, Tim Johnson, Anthony Robles & Quint Kessenich

ESPNU

Sat, Mar 23

11 a.m.

NCAA Wrestling Championships Medal Round
Shawn Kenney, Tim Johnson & Anthony Robles

ESPNU

 

8 p.m.

NCAA Wrestling Championships Finals
Adam Amin, Tim Johnson, Anthony Robles &  Quint Kessenich

ESPN