The No. 19 Purdue wrestling team is staying on the road for a doubleheader in New Jersey this weekend.
The Boilermakers (1-2) got off to a strong start at home this season with a dominant win over then-No. 21 Northwestern (1-2). That success proved short-lived.
After two road duals, the Boilers’ domination of the Wildcats remains their only win following hard losses at then-No. 10 Illinois (4-0) and then-No. 22 Wisconsin (1-2) this weekend.
“We learned what we need to do as a team, what we need to do exactly in our matches and how we need to finish duals and matches,” 157-pound junior Kendall Coleman said.
Both road duals were close matches. They each came down to the last match of the night, but Purdue was unable to pull through in either contest.
“I feel pretty confident that we’ll come out of this better than we were before,” Coleman said of the upcoming matches.
Purdue now shifts its focus to the weekend ahead as its first double header of the season awaits the team in Piscataway, New Jersey. The Boilers will face both No. 20 Rutgers (0-2) and No. 15 Minnesota (2-2) Sunday morning.
“It’s something that our guys are used to,” head coach Tony Ersland said. “Our mental approach is always the same. You know when you put your foot on the line, you’ve got to be ready to execute and to wrestle hard.”
Last season, Purdue pulled off its first-ever win against the Scarlet Knights after 141-pound junior Parker Filius sealed the match in an overtime decision.
The Boilers continued their success in their second trip to Piscataway, where they placed in the top five of overall competitors in the Big Ten championships.
“Our kids have good feelings about competing and wrestling in the building and I think they’re definitely looking forward to going back to that environment,” Ersland said.
The Scarlet Knights are 0-2 this season after losses to No. 2 Michigan and No. 11 Ohio State. The Wolverines boast some of the top wrestlers in the nation, including the No. 1 133-pound senior Stevan Micic, the No. 2 174-pound senior Logan Massa and the No. 2 heavyweight wrestler in junior Mason Parris.
Purdue is not expected to face the Wolverines in the regular season, but the Boilers are scheduled to face the Buckeyes in early February.
Of the two opponents in Sunday’s contest, Minnesota may provide more of a challenge than Rutgers, with WrestleStat.com predicting a 20-12 win for the Golden Gophers.
Minnesota is 2-2 this season, but has managed to win nine of its last 10 duals against Purdue since 1999. Last season, Minnesota earned a dominating 27-12 win over the Boilermakers.
“We train for duals and we train for tournaments, so having matches back-to-back like that isn’t too much of a difference,” Coleman said.
The Boilers will take on Minnesota at 10 a.m. and Rutgers at noon at the Rutgers Athletic Center. The duals will be broadcast on BTN+.