WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Purdue wrestling season officially starts the 2012-13 season this Saturday, heading to the Eastern Michigan Open at Bowen Field House in Ypsilanti, Mich. This is the second straight year and the seventh time in the last eight years the Boilermakers have opened their season with the Eagles, taking 19 individuals to compete in the open division.
"We're anxious to get this season going," said head coach Scott Hinkel. "We have several returners who have improved greatly over the off season, and a bunch of new faces who we're excited to see their first collegiate action. It should be an exciting weekend."
The Boilermakers have seven returning placewinners from the 2011 Eastern Michigan Open, led by senior 149-pounder Ivan Lopouchanski. Lopouchanski went 3-0 on his way to the tournament title, topping 2011 All-American Cam Tessari of Ohio State in the finals. Senior Jake Fleckenstein and juniors Cashé Quiroga and Kyle Mosier all turned in second-place efforts last year, while redshirt freshman Chad Welch was fourth at 165 pounds (competing unattached), and junior Camden Eppert and sophomore Pat Robinson earned fifth place at 125 pounds and 157 pounds, respectively.
Lopouchanski, Eppert and Quiroga are three of four Boilermakers to earn consensus preseason rankings from the various polls. Lopouchanski is ranked anywhere from 16th to 19th at 149 pounds, while Eppert ranges from 13th to 23rd at 125 pounds. Quiroga is the highest ranked Boilermaker in the polls, earning the No. 8 spot nationally at 133 pounds in four of the five rankings, and being tabbed ninth in the other. Sophomore Braden Atwood, who will not appear at Eastern Michigan, earned preseason marks at 197 pounds, where he's either 16th or 17th, and senior Tommy Churchard, Mosier and Welch have earned various mentions as well, sitting in the 20th to 25th range at their respective weight classes.
Eastern Michigan expects another tough field this weekend, which is scheduled to feature teams such as Michigan State, Navy, Northern Illinois, Cleveland State and the host Eagles. Previous tournaments have featured a wealth of unattached individuals as well, including wrestlers from Michigan, Indiana, Northwestern, Ohio State, Kent State, Arizona State and Central Michigan.
Competition will start at approximately 9 a.m. on Saturday and run through the tournament's completion. Each weight class will feature an open and freshman/sophomore division and they will wrestle for the top-six places. Live results will be available at trackwrestling.com.