AKRON, Ohio - Luke Welch captured the 57 kg freestyle championship at the USA Wrestling University Nationals on Sunday inside Akron’s Louis and Freda Stile Athletic Field House. Welch scored six unanswered points in the second period of the title match against 2016 All-American David Terao to win 8-4.
“This title means a lot because of all the hard work I have been putting in,” Welch said. “I have beaten good guys before so I always knew I was capable. I have to thank God for this opportunity and move forward in a positive direction.”
The Boilermakers have won a freestyle national championship at all three levels in 2017: junior, university and senior. In April, Griffin Parriott won the UWW junior freestyle national championship at 70 kg and assistant coach Kendric Maple claimed the 61 kg title at the U.S. Open Men's Freestyle National Championships.
Welch trailed Terao, a fourth-place, 125-pound finisher at the 2016 NCAA Championships for American, 4-2 after the opening period. He stormed back with six unanswered to claim the match and title.
“Luke made a nice adjustment at the break against Teraro,” Purdue head wrestling coach Tony Ersland said. “He didn’t allow him to get his ties and that got Luke right back into the match.”
Terao wasn’t the only All-American that Welch defeated during his 5-0 weekend. In the semifinals he needed just 3:59 to post a 16-6 technical fall of Sean Russell of Edinboro RTC. Russell took seventh at 125 pounds at NCAAs in St. Louis in March.
“I thought Luke had a very consistent weekend,” Ersland said. “He forced his style and positions on his opponents. He was very active, aggressive and consistent. Luke has sharpened and narrowed his focus and he is taking it out on the mat. He isn’t thinking about winning or losing, he’s executing at his pace.”
It’s the second 57 kg All-America honor for Welch at University Nationals after placing seventh in 2015.
Devin Schroder and Dylan Lydy advanced to the quarterfinals at 57 kg and 80 kg, respectively, but were denied in their first wrestleback matches. Schroder finished the tournament at 3-2, while Lydy went 4-2.
Nearly a dozen additional Boilermakers competed in the tournament.
University Nationals participants were students who are currently officially registered as proceeding towards a degree or diploma at a university or similar institute whose status is recognized by the appropriate national academic authority of their country as well as former students of the institutions mentioned above who have obtained their academic degree or diploma in the year preceding the event.
All competitors must be U.S. citizens. They must be at least 17 and less than 28 years of age on Jan. 1, 2017. Athletes must have graduated from high school in 2016 or before.