Purdue wrestling added a ninth victory to its current streak over Indiana University with an 18-11 win in Mackey Arena last Friday.
The night was the first of three wins over the Hoosiers (4-8, 1-4 Big Ten), keeping the #BeatIU weekend true to its name.
The meet could most accurately be described as a brawl; each match ended in a decision, so both teams kept it close and had to fight for every single victory. A prominently Hoosier fan section did its job questioning calls, and a challenge brick from IU ultimately resulted in a team point deduction. Challenge bricks are thrown when a coach wants to overturn a call. All of this, combined with many close calls and a raucous pep band, had the crowd on its feet multiple times.
No. 18 Purdue (5-5, 2-2) started at 125 lbs., sending out Devin Schroder. The sophomore set the tone for the night with a 7-2 decision over Liam Cronin. The match started with a scramble situation that ultimately saw Schroder on top.
“I just had to finish,” Schroder said. “It’s those 50–50 situations that determine the match.”
Schroder gained momentum and extended his lead in the final period.
“I felt like I controlled most of the match and was able to get to my ties,” Schroder said. “I would have liked to finish the match on top, so there’s definitely room for improvement.”
The match was followed by a 5-0 win from senior Ben Thornton over Garrett Pepple of Indiana. Prior to the meet, many were excited over the possibility of a marquee match between Thornton and Paul Konrath. The Hoosier recently defeated No. 4 Tariq Wilson, but Indiana sent out Pepple instead.
Redshirt junior Nate Limmex brought Purdue’s initial lead to 9-0 with a 5-4 win over Indiana’s Kyle Luigs. The match saw both wrestlers in scramble situations, exciting the Purdue bench.
“I just like how he goes out there, and he just tried to beat that guy up tonight,” Purdue sophomore Max Lyon said. “I like that.”
Limmex’s match saw one of the more controversial moments of the night. An upper body throw from Luigs had Limmex on his back for a moment, but the Boiler smoothly transitioned into a better position, nearly scoring a takedown of his own. No points were scored in the situation, but Indiana head coach Angel Escobedo threw a challenge brick, questioning the call. This was not recognized by the referees until long after the action had ended, and no change to the score was made.
The Indiana bench was upset over the call, and a team point was deducted for losing control of the mat. As the Hoosier’s team score was not permitted to go negative, the point was deducted later on in the meet.
The next three matches went by decision to the Hoosiers. The first of these saw redshirt freshman Parker Filius up against Fernie Silva. The match ended 11-7, but Filius had an opportunity to tie up the match and send it to overtime at the end of the third period. Filius, on a 5-match losing streak, has faced tough competition in recent weeks, but his ability to keep matches close is promising for the future.
Another among those defeated was No. 12 Griffin Parriott to returning NCAA qualifier Jake Danishek. This brought the team score to 9-8 Purdue going into the final four matches.
A battle of two Indiana high school state champions, Purdue’s junior Dylan Lydy and IU’s Jacob Covaciu, got the crowd excited. While the first period ended scoreless, Lydy weathered down Covaciu, picking up a takedown in the second period and another at the end of the third period. Despite stoppages due to blood on the mat, the energy of both wrestlers remained high.
Another crowd–favorite match, Lyon defeated his opponent Norman Conley 3-2. The Hoosier nearly had a takedown toward the end, but Lyon held on to a foot and prevented the score attempt.
“I didn’t know how much time was left, but I was thinking: I’m not lettin’ go of his foot,” Lyon said.
Junior Christian Brunner, a consistent dual meet point contributor to the Boilers, closed out a 5-1 win against Jake Kleimola of the Hoosiers. This sealed the deal in terms of team score going into the final match of the night, putting Purdue up by 10.
Senior Jacob Aven was unable to defeat fellow Indiana native Fletcher Miller, losing 7-5.
The Boilers also faced No. 6 Michigan (8-0, 4-0) in Ann Arbor on Sunday, taking 3 of 10 bouts.
Schroder, Lyon and Brunner were the three victors for Purdue, and are all on a four-match win streak.
One match pitted Aven against No. 8 Mason Parris. Both wrestlers are from Indiana, though their high school careers did not overlap. Aven lost 10-7, but scored a reversal and takedown on Parris to make it an exciting match. Parris, a true freshman, has a lot of hype behind him as a possible contender for an NCAA title.
The Boilers return home to face No. 1 Penn State at 7 p.m. on Friday in Holloway Gymnasium. The Nittany Lions are consistently the toughest team in the Big Ten and the nation, and seem nearly untouchable yet again. Regardless of the outcome, the caliber of wrestling to be seen at this dual should make it worth the trip.