The No. 18 Purdue wrestling team fell to No. 1 Iowa 31-18 Sunday afternoon, then turned around and lost to No. 11 Ohio 23-12 a few hours later.
The match was closer than the score would indicate. The Boilers (2-5) managed to stay in striking distance of the Hawkeyes (5-0) but were never able to close out despite finding momentum in the middle of the match.
The match started with two of the highest ranked 125-pound wrestlers in the nation, as No. 9 Purdue senior Devin Schroder took on No. 1 Iowa senior Spencer Lee to try and swing the match in their favor.
After a scoreless first period, Schroder used several lunging attacks to score his first takedown of the match. He used the advantage to tack on 17 more points after landing several more takedowns and eventually a pin to seal the match, taking an early victory on one of the nation’s top wrestlers.
The momentum from a decisive victory would not stay in Purdue’s favor, as Iowa’s strength and aggressiveness proved to be too much for Purdue’s inexperienced wrestlers against the nation’s top program.
The 133-pound Purdue freshman Jacob Rundell could not escape several takedowns from No. 2 Iowa senior Austin DeSanto. DeSanto would take a 15-4 lead at the end of the second period, marking Rundell’s largest point margin since a 9-1 win in a match against Rutgers.
DeSanto’s aggressiveness over Rundell would allow him to hold on to his early lead, taking the match over Rundell 23-8 and tying up the match 5-5.
Three straight Iowa victories over two Purdue freshmen and 149-pound junior Parker Filius led to one of Purdue’s most important matches of the day.
When hope felt all but lost for the Boilers, they looked to 157-pound sophomore Kendall Coleman to give the Boilermakers a fighting chance and use his veteran leadership to overcome a 16-5 deficit.
Electric starts from Coleman and 165-pound freshman Gerrit Nijenhuis rejuvenated the crowd and Purdue’s chances of a victory. The pair added 10 straight points after a dominating victory from Coleman and a pinning win from Nijenhuis that added 6 extra points for the Boilermakers.
Coleman continued to run the score up against Iowa junior Zach Axmear after building upon a huge early lead in the first period. He took an 18-6 victory over the junior while adding 4 points to Purdue’s score.
After winning three of their last four matches, including a hard-fought low-scoring victory from 184-pound senior Max Lyon, it seemed like Purdue was primed to take the lead against Iowa and pull off the upset.
Iowa managed to spoil Purdue’s comeback as the deficit from a decisive pin victory from Iowa wrestler Max Murin over 149-pound freshman Trey Kruse proved too much for the Boilers to overcome.
Though 197-pound sophomore Thomas Penola put up a good fight against Iowa junior Jacob Warner, almost snatching the lead from him with some decisive takedowns in the third period, Penola could not overcome an early lead from Warner. This gave Iowa 3 extra points and ultimately decided the match. It was Penola’s first loss of the season.
The squad returned to the mat at 4 p.m. to face Ohio State (5-2) in the final leg of the tri-dual. Schroder came out to face Ohio State's No. 10 Malik Heinselman and escaped with a narrow win, a far cry from his dominating performance that morning.
His early points were Purdue's last lead of the match. Losses by Rundell and Filius gave OSU a lead it never relinquished. Coleman and Penola each earned Purdue 3-2 decisions, but the Buckeyes took the match in the end.
Purdue returns to the mat Friday to face No. 23 Michigan State, its second to last dual match of the season. Start times have yet to be announced.