Senior wrestler aims for national championship - Purdue Exponent: Wrestling

Senior wrestler aims for national championship

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Posted: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 10:00 am | Updated: 10:29 am, Wed Oct 24, 2012.

A senior wrestler has a clear vision for how he wants to be remembered.

After qualifying and winning two matches at the NCAA championship last year, 157 lb. senior wrestler Tommy Churchard is well on his way.

“I was a steadfast, solid, reliable guy on the team that when the match was on the line, I produced,” Churchard said.

Pat Robinson, a fellow 157 lb. wrestler, thinks the biggest factor in Churchard’s success was his change in his confidence.

“It was a total 180,” Robinson said. “He started to win some matches and came into his own ... his mindset is different, early last year he was wrestling not to lose, now he’s wrestling to win.”

“Wrestling is about being confident in yourself and I finally discovered that at a collegiate level ... Now that I’m back on top I believe in myself, my coaching staff and my teammates,” Churchard said.

Now that Churchard has his confidence, head coach Scott Hinkel is making national goals for the Valparaiso, Ind. native.

“(Tommy) continues to progress ... he obviously has the goal to become a national champion and he has the tools to do it,” Hinkel said.

“Last year set the stage for this year,” Churchard said. “I’m keying in on those matches (ranked opponents and Big Ten Championships) that will win me a national championship.”

Coach Hinkel and Churchard hold a special bond having been in the program together since 2008.

“(Tommy) has been a guy that has followed me, we came in together,” Hinkel said.”That’s been huge. He knows what we have gone through.”

Churchard said he is ready for what he says to be ‘one of the bigger years’ for the Purdue wrestling program.

“This is one of the most exciting years in Purdue wrestling since I’ve been around, and I’ve been around the program for more than a decade,” Churchard said. “We are going to break on to the scene pretty huge.”

The Purdue grapplers will begin their season on Nov. 3 at the Eastern Michigan Open.

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