No. 23 Purdue wrestling posted a historic 5th place finish last weekend in the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational. With three finalists and five placers, the wrestlers earned a program-high 92.5 points.
16 of the top 25 NCAA D1 teams entered the tournament, so posting a top-5 score turned some heads. Closely following Purdue (6-1) in team scores were No. 11 Iowa State, No. 15 Minnesota, No. 6 NC State and No. 14 Northwestern.
Senior Dylan Lydy led the Boilers with a first place finish. Lydy consistently outlasted his opponents, finishing three of his five matches in overtime.
He faced Nebraska’s No. 2 seed Mike Labriola in the semifinals. Last season, Lydy lost after going to double overtime with Labriola in both the Big Ten championships and the NCAA championships. Lydy went to overtime with Labriola at the CKLV, but avenged last season’s losses with a blast double to make the finals. Another overtime win made Lydy the first Boilermaker to win the CKLV since 2005.
Junior Devin Schroder also made a finals appearance. Schroder won each of his matches by three or more points, including a pin in the round of 16. This is true to Schroder’s reputation as a high-scorer; he led the NCAA in tech falls earlier this season and consistently earns bonus points. In the finals, Schroder lost 6-2 to Virginia’s Jack Mueller despite earning a takedown in the second period. Mueller will seek qualification for the Olympic trials in the coming weeks.
Senior Christian Brunner improved from No. 7 seed to runner-up. Brunner was absent from early season competition due to injury, which contributed to his lower seeding. The strong tournament performance should add Brunner to the top ten, making him the fifth Boiler to do so this season. Brunner lost 16-6 to Ohio State’s Kollin Moore in the finals.
Other boilers on the podium included redshirt freshman Kendall Coleman and junior Griffin Parriott.
Coleman wrestled true to his seed, placing fourth. Going into the tournament, Coleman was undefeated with a 12-match winning streak. He lost 8-0 to NC State’s Hayden Hidlay in the semifinals.
Parriott also placed fourth, one below his seed. However, his bracket saw some major upsets as the No. 5 seed and No. 6 seed met in the finals. He was pinned by Ohio State’s Sammy Sasso in the quarterfinals. Parriott took out the No. 1 seed in the consolation bracket on his way to placing fourth, so the implications of the tournament on his rank are difficult to predict.
Purdue sent out a lineup that was more or less its strongest. Other schools had some notable absences; for example, Northwestern’s Sebastian Rivera did not compete in the tournament. This could have some effect on the rankings, but overall the Boilers are expected to make a huge jump in team standings.
Purdue will compete next in a dual against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville at 7 p.m. on December 19.