Dec. 27, 2012
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Purdue wrestling team returns to action this weekend, set to compete in the 50th annual Midlands Championships, hosted by Northwestern University at Welsh-Ryan Arena on Saturday and Sunday. The Boilermakers will have 10 entries in the tournament, which is scheduled to feature 14 of the nation's top-25 teams and nearly 100 ranked individuals.
"This tournament is a great way to get us back going after the holiday break and prepare for the quickly-approaching Big Ten dual season," said Boilermaker head coach Scott Hinkel. "A lot of guys have gotten their names out into the national scene through this tournament in the past, and we're ready for a few of our guys to do that this weekend."
Headlining the Boilermakers' tournament entries are junior Cashé Quiroga, senior Tommy Churchard and sophomore Braden Atwood, who were all named top contenders by the Midlands Tournament Committee last week. At just 3-1 this season, Quiroga was named the No. 12 wrestler at 133 pounds, but expects to place much higher than his projected seed. Churchard was tabbed No. 11 at 157 pounds on the strength of his 14-3 record this season, and Atwood is the Boilermakers' highest projected seed, earning the No. 7 spot at 197 pounds with a 14-1 mark this year. Senior Ivan Lopouchanski was recognized as the No. 4 wrestler at 149 pounds, but is not scheduled to compete this weekend.
Joining Lopouchanski on the Boilermakers' list of holdouts are junior 125-pounder Camden Eppert and freshman 174-pounder Chad Welch. All three are healthy, but are taking some well-earned extra rest after the holidays in preparation for conference competition. With their exclusion, expect to see extra entries for the Old Gold and Black at 133, 141 and 165 pounds. Joining Quiroga at 133 is freshman Danny Sabatello, who has built an impressive 9-3 mark on the season, including a team-high four technical falls. Sophomore Nick Lawrence will join classmate Brandon Nelsen at 141 pounds as the pair are 8-6 and 13-4, respectively, and the Boilermakers show some depth at 165 pounds with sophomore Pat Robinson and freshman Doug Welch, who enter the weekend at 17-4 and 13-5, respectively.
Rounding out the Purdue entries are sophomore Patrick Kissel and junior Alex White. Kissel has the most matches of any Boilermakers on the roster, sporting a 16-7 mark at 184 pounds, including three falls and three major decisions, while White is 6-5 on the year at heavyweight.
Action begins Saturday at 9:30 a.m. (CT) at Welsh-Ryan Arena, featuring the first few rounds of competition, followed by the quarterfinals and some wrestlebacks at 7 p.m. Sunday will feature the tournament semifinals and the seventh-place matches at noon, and the tournament will conclude with the Parade of Champions and finals set for 7 p.m., live on the Big Ten Network. Live updates of the Boilermakers' action will be available throughout the tournament at the @PurdueWrestling Twitter page.