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Midlands Championship: 3 Purdue wrestlers place, 1 advances to final

EVANSTON, Ill. — The Purdue wrestling team turned in a trio of placewinning performances on Wednesday in the third session of the 47th Annual Midlands Wrestling Championships, hosted by Northwestern University at Welsh Ryan Arena. The Boilermakers sit at 57.5 points heading into the final session, good for 10th place overall in the team standings.

Purdue wrestler Juan Archuleta

Junior Juan Archuleta took home seventh place at 141 pounds for the Boilermakers.

The Boilermakers had a rocky start to the third session, losing freshman Cashé Quiroga and sophomore Akif Eren at 125 and 133 pounds, respectively from the tournament. Quiroga suffered a 16-5 major decision loss to 16th-ranked and sixth-seeded Ben Kjar of Utah Valley, while Eren lost by technical fall, 23-8, to No. 14 fifth-seed Kyle Hutter of Old Dominion.

Juniors Juan Archuleta and Colton Salazar righted the ship for the Old Gold and Black, earning spots on the championship podium at 141 and 157 pounds. Archuleta, seeded 12th at 141, edged out the No. 11 seed, 19th-ranked Trevor Melde of Rutgers, snaring a late takedown in a 3-2 decision, while Salazar, ranked 20th in the nation and seeded eighth at 157, got up early and held on for a 6-4 win over Northern Iowa’s Tyson Reiner.

Seventh-ranked and third-seeded Purdue junior Luke Manuel won a huge match at 174 pounds to advance to the placing rounds, grinding out a 5-4 win over the No. 4 seed, ninth-ranked Jordan Blanton of Illinois. Manuel struck first with an early takedown, and after trading reversals in the second period used a riding time point to break the 4-4 tie at the end of regulation and earn the victory.

Fellow junior Logan Brown was unable to become the fourth Boilermaker to place in this year’s tournament, dropping his Round of 12 match to Patrick Bond of Illinois. Ranked 12th in the country and seeded seventh at 197 pounds, Brown was unable to get his offense going and didn’t score a takedown for just the third time this season.

Manuel was the only Boilermaker to advance to tonight’s championship session , winning his consolation quarterfinal bout with 18th-ranked and ninth-seeded Robert Hamlin by decision, 5-3. He went on to face 12th-ranked and sixth-seeded Dorian Henderson of Missouri for the third time this season in the consolation semifinals, and maintained his perfect record against the Tiger, posting a 3-1 win.

Archuleta and Salazar fell to the seventh-place bouts with losses in the consolation quarterfinals as Archuleta dropped a 12-7 decision to ninth-seeded Montell Marion of Iowa, while Salazar was blanked, 9-0, by Iowa’s Derek St. John. Archuleta came back strong in the seventh-place match, displaying an outstanding performance on top and riding out 15th-ranked and fifth-seeded Seth Ciasulli of Lehigh for a 2-1 victory. Salazar was unable to follow suit, giving up a takedown and pin to Harrison to settle for eighth place at 157 pounds.

Manuel will look to pick up a final team point for the Boilermakers in tonight’s championship session, facing Colby Covington of Oregon State for the second time in the tournament and looking to avenge his second round loss. The round begins at 8 p.m. (EST) and will consist of the first, third and fifth place matches.

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