WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The Purdue wrestling squad held its first team wrestle-off of the season on Saturday, deciding the starting jobs before next weekend’s first dual matches of the year. Eight of the 10 spots on the team were up for grabs and the first depth chart of the season was set when the dust settled.Sophomore Akif Eren snagged the starting 125-pound job, topping freshman Matt Fields by decision, and coming back later to edge out rookie Bill Putman 1-0. The biggest shock of the day came at 133 pounds where freshman Carson Beebe scored a late takedown to slip past reigning Big Ten Wrestler of the Week Jake Fleckenstein, 4-3. Fleckenstein scored the first takedown of the match and after a pair of escapes by Beebe took a 3-2 advantage with an escape at the start of the third. However, Beebe picked up a late two-point maneuver to earn the starting nod in next Saturday’s duals.
Junior Juan Archuleta came out on top at 141 pounds, posting a 13-7 decision over sophomore Matt Hemry, while senior Jake Patacsil was dominant at 149 pounds, pinning junior Jordan Nettuno in 1:14 and scoring an 18-2 technical fall over sophomore Dave Ingram. Ingram earned a shot at the starting job with a 10-4 decision over junior Matt Redmond, and Redmond secured the No. 3 spot on the depth chart with a one-point victory over Nettuno.
The four-man bracket at 157 pounds was trimmed to three grapplers due to an injury to junior Sam Patacsil, but still didn’t lack for action in a three-man round robin between senior Jake Murphy, junior Nick Bertucci and sophomore Colton Salazar. Salazar topped Murphy to start the action, scoring a 7-4 decision, and Bertucci made the final 157-pound match of the day a crucial one as he flipped a late reversal against Murphy to eke out a 12-8 decision. Salazar was solid in the deciding bout, leading the whole way en route to a 13-8 victory over Bertucci.
The 165-pound bracket was competitive as well, as sophomore Luke Manuel knocked off freshman John Doyle, 4-2, while junior Jason Martin slid past classmate Justin Fraga, 4-3. Manuel defended his No. 7 national ranking in the deciding match, posting a 6-0 decision over Martin in the team final.
Sophomore A.J. Kissel locked up the starting job at 184 pounds with a 6-0 win over classmate Dave Pisarcik and the top spot at 285 pounds was decided in intense fashion as junior Chris Kasten needed two sudden-victory periods and a pair of tie-breaks to edge out sophomore Roger Vukobratovich, 3-2.
“It was an incredibly competitive day all around,” said head coach Scott Hinkel. “The people who came out to watch today got a good look at our depth, and saw how hard our guys have been working from top to bottom.”
The Boilermaker fan base will get to see their team in action again next weekend at Purdue hosts the inaugural Boilermaker Challenge on Saturday, Nov. 15. Action is scheduled to kick off at 10 a.m., while the Old Gold and Black will wrestle a trio of duals starting at noon. Purdue is slotted to face Eastern Michigan at noon, Campbellsville at 2 p.m. and Northern Illinois at 4 p.m. Also in action will be 11th-ranked Big Ten foe Northwestern, Kent State and UT-Chattanooga.