Eight Purdue wrestlers qualified for the NCAA Division I Championships this weekend at the Big Ten Championships, placing Purdue fifth overall.
Two Boilers, junior Devin Schroder and redshirt freshman Kendall Coleman, were runner-ups in their weight class. Coleman is the first Purdue freshman to make the finals at the tournament since 1947.
Schroder battled Iowa junior Spencer Lee in the finals. Lee is a two-time NCAA champion and a serious contender for a spot on the U.S. Olympic team this summer. In their last meeting, Lee earned a first period technical fall. This time, Schroder was able to make it to the end of the match, giving up a major decision.
Schroder earned a tech fall and a 6-0 decision on his way to the finals.
Coleman took on Northwestern senior Ryan Deakin. Deakin is ranked No. 1 in the nation and won 14-0 against Coleman in their last meeting. This time, Coleman held the match to 7-2.
The next-highest placing Boiler was senior Dylan Lydy. Lydy dropped a tough semifinal match to Penn State senior Mark Hall, a three-time NCAA finalist and one-time champion.
In the 5-4 match, each wrestler earned a takedown. The difference came down to two stalling calls on Lydy in the first period, which each occurred within 10 seconds of each other. Hall went on to win the tournament.
Lydy battled back for third place, taking out Ohio State sophomore Kaleb Romero in overtime for the second time in the tournament. Lydy is now 10-0 in overtime this season.
Senior Christian Brunner returned to the mats after an injury took him out for over a month, surviving a scare in the first round from Wisconsin senior Taylor Watkins. Watkins started the match with a 6-point throw, but Brunner battled back to take the match 7-6.
Brunner fell in the quarters but fought through the consolation bracket to claim his ticket to the NCAA championships. He injury defaulted out of the tournament after reaching the consolation semifinals.
Other qualifiers for Purdue include sophomore Parker Filius, junior Griffin Parriott, junior Max Lyon and redshirt freshman Thomas Penola, each placing within the top eight in the tournament.
One standout performance came from Penola, who seized his first-ever opportunity to qualify for the NCAA championships. Falling 7-2 to Illinois freshman Luke Luffman in the first round, Penola held on, making it into the eighth place match with an automatic bid to NCAAs on the line. His opponent was once again Luffman.
In their second meeting of the tournament, Penola found his offense in the second period and maintained the lead for a 3-2 win.
The eight Purdue qualifiers will travel to Minneapolis, Minnesota, in two weeks to compete in the championships.