Senior Night was a bittersweet performance for the No. 22 Purdue wrestling team on Friday as it lost to No. 16 Northwestern, 24-16, in Mackey Arena.
After the match, seniors Luke Welch and Jacob Morrissey were honored for their five years with the team, with each wrestler being presented with a framed singlet.
"They've been good leaders, good role models on the team and we've got a lot of young guys on the team," said Purdue coach Tony Ersland on Welch and Morrissey. "And they've been great role models for those guys, great examples."
Morrissey continued to shine in his final match in West Lafayette, scoring a 13-0 major decision over graduate student Michael Sepke of Northwestern in the 165-pound weight class. Starting with a takedown in the first round, Morrissey kept the ball rolling by working hard on top with his signature arm bar, even forcing multiple stall calls on Sepke to earn a point off penalties.
"It's a good feeling, that in my last match I'm ending on top and I was able to win," said Morrissey. "And it's great that the last match wasn't in Holloway it was here in Mackey and we had a good turnout. It was a great experience for my last match."
Fellow senior No. 17 Luke Welch was not as successful, facing defeat in a ranked matchup against No. 10 Sebastian Rivera of Northwestern in an 12-1 defeat by major decision. Rivera, whose fast footwork eventually won out the match for him, was able to get in quick on a few swing singles and picked up a few back points against Welch to claim a major decision for Northwestern.
Coming into the dual, Ersland expected a tough showing from the Wildcats.
"I thought we matched up very well," said Ersland. "They have some ranked kids at 25, 49, they're ranked at 74 as well. So you knew there were some bouts that would make the match close and interesting but I just didn't see us giving away the bonus points that we did."
Looking forward, he hopes to get the Boilers to keep intensity up throughout their matches.
"We get the first takedown and things look good, and I don't know whether we relax, or we just don't stay after them like we should," said Ersland. "That was kind of a theme tonight that we have got to change. We get the first takedown but then we got to milk it. We got to continue to try and score."
The Boilers (8-7, 2-6) will finish the regular season at 2 p.m., Feb. 18, when they travel to Wisconsin (6-2, 3-2).