April 9, 2013
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Purdue wrestling team officially brought the 2012-13 season to a close on Sunday at its annual postseason awards banquet, held in the West Club at Mackey Arena. Boilermaker head coach Scott Hinkel and his staff handed out several honors to this year's standouts, including several awards to senior All-American Ivan Lopouchanski.
In addition to claiming the honor for most team points this season, Lopouchanski was also tabbed as the Boilermakers' "Ultimate Hammer" and Most Outstanding Wrestler after a 32-4 season at 149 pounds and All-America honors at the 2013 NCAA Championships. One of the best individual seasons in school history, Lopouchanski became the Boilermakers' 40th All-American and first since 2010, finishing seventh at 149 pounds.
Senior Tommy Churchard and sophomore Brandon Nelsen earned the awards for Most Takedowns and Most Falls, respectively, as Churchard scored a career-best 70 takedowns this season, while Nelsen pinned nine opponents for the second straight year. Both qualified for the NCAA Championships, picking up much-needed bonus points for the Boilermakers as they finished 31st overall with 11 team points.
Also an NCAA qualifier, rookie Chad Welch was named the Boilermakers' Outstanding Freshman after racking up 22 wins this season and an eighth-place showing at the Big Ten Championships at 174 pounds. Sophomore Pat Robinson earned the Most Improved award after setting career bests for wins (23) and takedowns (58), and classmate Andy Wiseman secured the Academic Excellence award for posting the team's best grade point average over the last two semesters.
The true highlight of the event were the words of former Boilermaker wrestler head coach Bill Trujillo as he returned to open the event and speak to the Boilermakers about wrestling and what it has meant to him in life. Trujillo competed for the Old Gold and Black from 1966 to 1968, and coached the Boilermakers from 1981 to 1988. He mentored several All-Americans, including Hinkel, in his tenure, and remains a strong influence on the program.
"The sport of wrestling is better than my blood. If you were to drain it from my body, I'd be dead." Former Purdue Head Coach Bill Trujillo— Purdue Wrestling (@PurdueWrestling) April 7, 2013
"This year's banquet was a huge success," said Hinkel. "It was a great opportunity to reflect, recognize, and regroup as a program."