CLEVELAND – Purdue began the day with five wrestlers and a pair emerged with their place in Friday’s evening session of the NCAA Championships. Luke Welch and Dylan Lydy won twice at 125 and 174 pounds, respectively, to advance to the blood round of the consolation bracket. A win in the blood round guarantees a top-eight finish and All-America honors; a loss eliminates the wrestler from the tournament.
The blood round, along with the championship semifinals, will start at 8 p.m. ET from Quicken Loans Arena. The semifinals will air on ESPN, while consolation matches can be seen through WatchESPN.
As one of the first matches contested, Welch put electricity in the Quicken Loans Arena air with his 1:06 pin of Virginia Tech’s Kyle Norstrem.
The 14th-seeded redshirt senior overpowered No. 11 Sean Russell of Edinboro with a second period ride out on his way to a 4-3 upset. The two exchanged takedowns and escapes in the opening frame to knot the match at 3-3. Welch’s escape in the third period ended as the match-winning point.
He’ll take a 32-10 record into battle with ninth-seeded Ronnie Bresser of Oregon State with All-America honors on the line.
Takedowns in the first and third periods guided Lydy to a 5-3 decision over Matt Finesilver of Duke. He followed with his second upset of the season against North Carolina’s Ethan Ramos, knocking out the 10th-seeded Tar Heel 5-3. Lydy once again tallied takedowns in the bookend periods of the match for the victory.
The two wins Friday morning pushed the redshirt sophomore’s record to 35-13, earning Lydy a spot on the season record wins list tied for 12th. Additionally, his 35 wins are the most for a Purdue wrestler since Luke Manuel won 41 matches during the 2009-10 season.
Three Boilermakers had their season come a close in the wrestlebacks of Friday’s session III. Shawn Streck’s historic first season ended one match shy of the blood round at 285 pounds. He put on a show in his first match of the day, nearly pinning Kent State’s Stephen Suglio in the opening minute of the match. He went on to major decision the Golden Flash 12-3. Fifth-seeded Sam Stoll of Iowa pinned Streck in 4:28 in the third round of wrestlebacks to eliminate Streck.
The Merrillville, Indiana, native finishes with a mark of 30-14 in his redshirt freshman campaign. His 30 wins make him the winningest true or redshirt freshman since 2007-08 when Manuel had 29 victories. Streck also snapped a 14-year absence of a Boilermaker heavyweight at the NCAA Championships.
Riding time was the difference in season-ending losses for No. 15 Nate Limmex and No. 16 Christian Brunner. Iowa’s Vince Turk used 1:33 to upset Limmex 3-2. The 141-pounder, who changed weight classes and turned his career trajectory around from a 12-15 rookie campaign, finished his redshirt sophomore season with a mark of 26-16.
Matt Williams’ 1:44 of riding time earned the No. 15-seed for CSU Bakersfield a 3-2 decision over Brunner at 197 pounds. The sophomore’s second NCAA appearance ended with a 1-2 performance, closing his season at 24-11.